Sunday, 9 September 2018

Destination Worcester - Week 6 Diglis Basin to Diglis Basin via Droitwich Spa

Sunday 2nd September - Diglis Basin to Netherwich Basin Droitwich

Today we left Diglis Basin for a short cruise to explore the Droitwich Canals and return to Diglis Basin down the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.
This is the entrance to the Droitwich Barge Canal from the River Severn, there is a hire boat in the lock.

As we came through Worcester there was a lot of activity on the river, with many rowing crews setting up their boats.

We had come through Bevere River Lock, then turned onto the Droitwich Canals and up through the two Hawford Locks.  At the top lock this information board lets you know the condition of the River Severn before you lock down onto it.  Conditions today were normal.

The canal is very pretty with sedge on both sides.  We were amazed at the height of these reeds.

In Salwarpe the canal makes a very sharp left hand turn and then immediately goes under a bridge.  Fortunately we had been warned by a passing boater about the bridge as boats often get caught out by it. 

We moored up for a couple of nights in Netherwich Basin, Droitwich.

All of the locks we had been through were wide locks, they seemed to be pretty difficult to work, the winding mechanism was difficult and the lock gates were very heavy.  This part of the canal is called Droitwich Barge Canal.  The Barge Canal is one of the oldest canals in the country, opened in 1771 and was built to enable Severn river barges (Trows) to reach the busy salt industry in Droitwich.

The Droitwich Junction Canal was opened in 1854 and linked Droitwich to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.  It was built to the 7ft narrow dimensions of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal rather than the 14ft width of the barge canal.  This allowed the salt to be transported to Birmingham and Worcester.  The Barge Canal was restored first, followed by the Junction Canal which was completed in 2001.

Monday 3rd September - Droitwich

We spent a quiet day exploring the town and surrounding countryside.

This signpost gives information about the furthest navigable place north, south, east and west of Droitwich Spa.  It may be an inspiration for further cruises!!

Excavation of Upwich (The Great Pit) in 1983/84, showed that it had been rebuilt around 1264. The previous pit had deteriorated to such an extent that the town was in grave danger of defaulting on its yearly payment of £100 to King Henry III, through loss of the brine income. The pit was surrounded by salt making houses which were known as Seals. The salt making season lasted from June to December and the salt fairs were held each year on the 1st October and 1st December.

Tuesday 4th September - Netherwich Basin to Hanbury Junction

We left Netherwich Basin bright and early in order to meet friends at Hanbury Junction for lunch.  First we had to negotiate the incredibly low tunnel under the M5.  It is a navigable culvert but the airdraught can vary depending on the flow from the Body Brook into the canal.

Having removed all the items from the roof,
the gauge at the culvert portal shows that we have room to proceed so we press on.

I think this is the smallest space we have ever put Ella through, but we managed it and came through unscathed!

We then called into Droitwich Spa Marina to fill up with water and diesel, before ascending the final three locks to join the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.

These locks are quite deep and there are side pounds to all three locks.  To reduce the amount of water being drawn off the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, the water from the side pounds is used to fill or empty some of the lock.  The water is effectively moved from side to side - from the pound to the lock to fill the lock and from the lock to the pound to empty the lock.  James the volunteer was very knowledgeable about this.

Once through the locks we left the Droitwich Junction Canal, turned the boat and moored up facing towards Worcester for our return journey.

We then met Anne and Steve and had a lovely lunch at the Eagle and Sun where we took advantage of the Pensioner's Perks prices!

Wednesday 5th September - Hanbury Junction to Tibberton

A beautiful still morning as we set off on a short cruise down towards Tibberton.

We noticed that the winged fruits of these trees had suddenly turned brown in a very short space of time.  Not sure if these are maple trees or sycamore trees, both have helicopter fruits which spiral down to the ground in the autumn.

We passed through Dunhampstead tunnel which is 216m long and has room for two narrowboats to pass each other.  Fortunately we didn't meet another boat.

I feel this is a quintessentially English picture, very pretty!

We moored for the night at Tibberton visitor moorings, after a very pleasant, gentle cruise along a picturesque canal.

Thursday 6th September - Tibberton to Diglis Basin Marina

Toby first thing in the morning, checking that all is right with the world!

The training grounds for Worcester Warriors on the other side of the canal from Sixways Stadium.  No sign of any rugby players today!

Coming down into Worcester we were assisted by a volunteer on a bicycle.  Unfortunately he was verbally abused by this lady under the bridge who seemed to be attempting to 'save' these swans and wanted them to go up in the lock.  No idea how it worked out as we continued cruising!

The Royal Worcester Porcelain buildings are now refurbished and have become very pleasant canalside apartments.

So after our mini cruise we return to Diglis Basin Marina.

This is the final episode of this blog.  We have arrived in Worcester, our destination, and over the next few weeks we shall take possession of our apartment and spend some time settling in, buying furnishings and organising ourselves for life in Worcester.  

If the weather is kind we may fit in another cruise before the winter works begin in October/November, but we shall have to wait and see.

Map Key

Week 1 - Purple                              Week 2 - Brown                      Week 3 - Dark Orange
Week 4 - Dark Yellow                      Week 5 - Yellow                      Week 6 - Olive Green

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Destination Worcester - Week 5 Diglis Basin

Sunday 20th August to Saturday 27th August - Diglis Basin

This week we have spent our time in Worcester sorting out a number of things.

Ella is now moored in her new home at Diglis Basin Marina.  This Marina is about 5 minutes walk from the apartment we are buying, so all very convenient and handy.

We have a lot of swans near us, on the canal and the river, but these cygnets are beginning to lose their grey plumage and are gradually turning white.

Ella is moored further along the pontoon on the right side of the picture.  All the pontoons here are floating pontoons because of the proximity to the river.


If the river should flood and rise up through the two locks then the boats will also rise up with the water.  The last major flood in Worcester was in 2014, when the River Severn rose to record levels.

On Tuesday we collected our 'new' second hand car and on Wednesday we tried it out with a visit to Annie and Pete in Southampton and collected our redirected post.

On Saturday Dave went to a Worcester Warriors rugby match against Wasps at Sixways Stadium.

Map Key

Week 1 - Purple                              Week 2 - Brown                      Week 3 - Dark Orange
Week 4 - Dark Yellow                      Week 5 - Yellow

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Destination Worcester - Week 4 Saul Junction to Worcester

Sunday 19th August - day near Saul Junction

Spent a lovely quiet day on the boat and went for a walk along the River Severn, quite warm and very sunny.

Monday 20th August - Saul Junction to Gloucester Docks

Today we returned along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal to Gloucester.  Once in the docks we were able to moor alongside a pontoon making it easier for everyone to get on and off the boat.

Edward Elgar was just leaving Gloucester Docks on a cruise.  It completely fills the lock, but in the distance there is a small plastic cruiser which was in the lock in front of Edward Elgar - they did look a little worried!

Edward Elgar is an Hotel boat with 11 bedrooms and offers 4, 5, or 6 day cruises for about 1500 pounds per person, amazing really!

 We explored the area around the Cathedral.

We found a lovely herb garden in the Cathedral grounds, almost all herbs were there all listed with their uses, very informative.

These figures are above a clock makers in Gloucester.  They have bells to ring on the quarter hours and hours on the clock. Old Father Time is in the middle, and the other figures represent Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

In the evening we saw the Sea Cadets from T.S. Gloucester out on the water in their pulling and power boats.  They have a wonderful space to practise their water based skills.

Tuesday 21st August - Gloucester Docks

We stayed in the docks for the day and explored the meadows between the two channels of the River Severn.  This is the Upper Parting which is not navigable.

A dredger on Reparian going down onto the River Severn, the largest traffic that uses the river these days.

These cottages were originally built for the dockers in about 1821.  They have since been renovated and are available for purchase.

The Mariners Chapel was opened in 1849 to allow for evangelism to take place among the ignorant and neglected seamen and boatmen.  The need was highlighted by a ship’s captain and a boatman who separately complained about the ‘absence of spiritual comforts’.  Today it continues to bring the Christian message to the dock community.

Wednesday 22nd August - Gloucester Docks to Upton-Upon-Severn

Today we left Gloucester with the intention of spending a night in Tewkesbury before returning to Worcester.

We were delighted to see the River a lot lower and flowing far more sedately than on our first journey.

The disused lock from the Coombe Hill Canal.  Opened in 1796 it was meant to transport goods to Cheltenham but the local geography meant that it was never completed and fell short by 5 miles.  The lock was abandoned in 1876 because the owners couldn't afford to repair flood damage to the lock.

The Canal is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is the home of a number of rare and uncommon beetle species, and of two species of fly that have not been found anywhere else in the UK. 

Good to see the sailing club in full swing, we had seen the topper sailing across the river in front of us.

We could see the tower of Tewkesbury Abbey ahead of us and were looking forward to staying for the evening there.  Fortunately, the lock was closed for lunch so we took the opportunity to check for available moorings and discovered there weren't any!  So, abandoned that idea and carried on down to Upton-upon-Severn.

We passed Reparian returning to Gloucester, wonder what its mission was?

Perch was being unloaded at the aggregates wharf and gradually rising in the water as it was being unloaded.

We moored for the evening in Upton-upon-Severn.  The moorings were pretty crowded and we ended up mooring by the stone steps.  A bit of a challenge for Toby, but he avoided landing in the river!

Thursday 23rd August - Upton-upon-Severn to Worcester Racecourse

We had a delightful cruise into Worcester, the river was very still, sun shining all very pleasant.

The Diglis Visitor Moorings were full, so we carried onto the Racecourse moorings and stayed there for a few days.

We expected to exchange and complete on our apartment purchase, but unfortunately the people we were buying from weren't ready so the whole thing has been postponed to the middle of September.

Saturday 25th August - Worcester Racecourse to Diglis Marina

Today we have moved the boat back down the river and up onto the Worcester and Birmingham Canal where we have been able to secure a mooring in Diglis Marina.

We also had a lovely visit from Lizzie and Bea and we all had great fun following the giant giraffe trail around Worcester.

Bea was very excited as she found each of the giraffes.  They have been painted by many different artists and are all over the city.  

Although this cruise has been called Destination Worcester and we are in Worcester, as the apartment isn't ready yet we shall continue cruising until the middle of September, but as yet we haven't decided where.  Next week could be a mystery.....

Map Key

Week 1 - Purple                              Week 2 - Brown                      Week 3 - Dark Orange
Week 4 - Dark Yellow