24 May 2012
21 miles - 15 locks - 8 hours
An early start after a hot and sultry night, doors wide open and fly screens in. Its three years since I made the fly screens and its only now that they are proving their worth. The problem with the doors open approach is that dawn bursts in carried on the wings of the dawn chorus - 4.00am in this case.
This proved to be another day of wall to wall sunshine, the cuttings of the southern Staffs and Worcester offering dappled shade with the Stour just beside the canal. And with rivers comes Wild Garlic - at last, much to Belle's satisfaction. This bit of canal is always a pleasure and never more so than today. It was warm, balmy and verdant, trees casting their seeds to the breeze and Dragonflies aloft in their thousands.
Wolverley shepherded in the morning sun, with the village church aflame in its golden rays - all perfectly framed in the canalside trees. Everywhere people were chilling out beside the water, Kidderminster was full of them - wandering along hand in hand.
Stourport arrived in mid afternoon where we pumped out, refilled with water but were denied a new bottle of gas - Limekiln has run out. Then it was out onto the Severn, a river so recently in flood. As we travelled down there was evidence of floods everywhere - debris and mud three metres up the bank. But for us the Severn was in benign mood, sparkling beneath a clear blue sky. So often we see the Severn through a haze of rain but this was the old river at its sparkling best.
With deep water beneath our keel we sped along and soon had a decision to make. Head straight up the Droitwich barge canal or carry on down the river to Worester. With the weather so lovely we decided to carry on, mooring by the canoe club and wandering into the city in the cool of the evening.