Monday, 14 May 2018

Heading north

Droitwich to Ashwood Junction
May 2018

We have finally set off on our northern journey which will see us arrive in Liverpool at the end of the month.

Max Sinclar's old cottage

The plan was to travel to Autherley Junction and then turn north up the Shroppie, but the breach at Middlewich means a few more locks and miles as we will go via Stoke. The downside is the climb to Harecastle and then down Wheelock Edge so lots of locking to look forward to.

Reed fringed Barge Canal

For now we started off bright and early, slipping out of Netherwich Basin before the other boaters were awake. The Droitwich Barge Canal was a delight, with deep water and the locks all set in our favour. Not that there were any other boats around, so we locked down alone. 

We breasted the boats up in the bottom lock ready for the passage upstream. This isn't the fastest way to travel but it is by far the safest and one where both boats are under control at all times. The downside is the speed. The Severn is comfortably in the green but it still has a strong flow on it, which slowed our progress to 2.5mph on most reaches but just below the locks where the river is at its shallowest progress slowed to an agonising 1.5mph!

Holte Bridge and Lock - River Severn

Holt and Bevere Locks passed in slow succession but all this time we had the river pretty much to ourselves. Locking up was a tad interesting because in both locks the keepers wanted us on the operators side. Unfortunately, this is the butty side which, with its minute 2m of straight plate, means we tend to swing round like a top. So, Instead of locking up with ropes attached we elected to bob about in the chamber and have the paddles raised very slowly.

We came into Stourport Basin in mid afternoon and after a pause on the service mooring we left the main basin and found a secluded spot on the visitor moorings.

Caldwell Lock

Thursday saw us slide upstream along a deserted Staffs and Worcester Canal, miles and locks passing us by is a steady sequence. Kidderminster offers good shopping opportunities including a visit to Sainsburys. One of the nice things about travelling with the butty is the reaction it elicits from passers by. As we rose up Wolverley Lock a German boating party were having a few beers in the sunshine and asked about the butty. Before we left the lock we had sold 6 jars which paid or a couple of pints of bitter and left a profit on top.

As the weather was lovely we pressed on and ended up mooring in the secluded environs of Ashwood Junction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Andy

The lock cottage at Ladywood never belonged to Max (my dad)it was the canal managers cottage and it did fall down in the late 70's and had to be rebuilt, slowed up restoration.

The Sloe gin marmalade I bought at the festival tastes good need to stop others eating it.

Ian Sinclair