Saturday 13 June 2009

Boating with the birthday belles

Boating with the birthday belles
Staffs and Worcester Canal
13th June 2009

10 Miles
12 Locks
6 hours
Belle meets up with a group of friends from church once a week, and one of them has a significant birthday coming up and wanted the group to do something together to mark the occasion.

After much discussion it was felt that a boat trip would be a good idea - would I be willing to assist? Is the Pope Catholic! Turn down an opportunity to spend the day with five lovely ladies pottering down a canal I love - I think not. This was the best offer I have had since my erstwhile headmaster messed up my school timetable and sadly informed me that I would have to attend my history lessons in the company of the typing class. Thirty hormonal, boy mad girls and me - heaven!

In contrast to the storms of last weekend, the day was clear and dry as we made out way lazily down to Penkridge and back. The sun shone and the water sparkled almost as much as the champagne and strawberries.

For all its age, things don't stay the same on the canal. Things change from month to month and BW's bridge signing programme has clearly passed this way. I noticed a rather nice new sign (two actually) on the Littleton Colliery Railway Bridge, and also extensive repair work underway on Lynehill Bridge. I also spotted another small aqueduct in the area, but a photograph will have to wait till the vegetation dies down in the autumn.

On the way back we followed a slow but very friendly Anderson hire boat, making a relaxing two week circuit of the Four Counties Ring. I was puzzled by the extreme slowness entering Rodbaston Lock, only to discover that a member of the crew of the exiting boat had slipped and fallen in the cut, necessitating an urgent rescue. Luckily the damage was limited to bruised skin and bruised ego.

Finally, I was delighted to find a cleared inlet immediately below Boggs Lock, three down from Gailey. I tentatively pushed WB's nose into the inlet and found that there was sufficient depth to wind. This means that we now has a short three hour round trip option, which includes passage through six locks.

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