Sunday, 19 June 2016

Summer Cruise Week 2


Wombourne to Stourport and back to Wolverley

Monday 13th June - Wombourne to Greensforge.   Today it was raining quite heavily so we decided to wait and see what the weather did.  We went as far as Wombourne Bridge and moored up to do a shop at Sainsbury's and by the time we got back it had virtually stopped raining.  

This stretch of the canal is incredibly beautiful with the trees and bushes now in full leaf.  









We went through Botterham Staircase Lock, just two locks and very straight forward. 

















 The view from the bottom lock was quite stunning.  
















The meadow flowers around Hinksford Lock were gorgeous and I do love the wooden name boards!!






Once we got to Greensforge we went to the service area and emptied rubbish and put on water, and then decided to moor up on the visitor moorings there.  Another lovely spot.  
The weather had improved enormously, so we took Toby for a walk along the Smestow brook back to Hinksford Bridge and then back along the canal.

Tuesday 14th June - Today we cruised from Greensforge to Kinver.   







At Greensforge Lock there is another example of a circular weir and in front was moored a beautiful working boat, Bellatrix.





















We passed Astwood Marina in Ashwood Basin, very pretty mooring spot for many narrowboats.  











We then saw a beautiful garden and bungalow attached to Ashford Nurseries, the gardens were stunning to look at,  must take a full time gardener to keep them so pristine!!  











The canal winds around the contours of the land and in this picture you can see the canal marked by the line of trees in the background, a real 's' bend.




The canal is shaped by the steep sided sandstone rock and the canal is very narrow.











We passed the junction with the Stourbridge Canal which heads up to Dudley and the Birmingham Navigation.      













It heads straight up through four locks!!















The wharf at Stewponey Lock has a restored octagonal toll office and the Kinver Valley Light Railway used to run close to here between Kinver and Stourbridge.












The 25yds long Dunsley Tunnel is carved out of the sandstone and unusually has a towpath going through beside the canal. 










Holy Austin Rock House - June 2011


We arrived in Kinver, went through the lock and moored up just below the lock.   We spent the rest of the day walking up to the rock houses at Holy Austin Rock.  There are rooms, windows, cupboards, doorways and chimneys carved out of the rock.  The first recorded dwellings were as early as 1777. 







Wednesday 15th June - today we are travelling as far as Wolverley as we don't want to moor in Kidderminster overnight.  






  

Whittington Lock has a very pretty Lock Cottage.  So many of the lock cottages have disappeared, it is a real joy to see one so well looked after.















The canal passes beneath Austcliff Rock which used to overhang the canal but was removed when it became unstable.


















This heron was so intent on the fish in the canal it let us get very close and take a clear photo.







We moored up at Wolverley and walked Toby up the hill to the village.  The River Stour flows close to the canal and with all the rain, it had burst its banks all over the adjoining meadow. 






The impressive dark stone church stands on a sandstone rock so steep that it has to be reached by a zigzag path cut through the constantly eroding sandstone.








Thursday 16th June - we have decided to stay in Wolverley as the rain has been persistently heavy.  We watched the River Stour fall and rise with all the rainfall.  


Friday 17th June - a much drier day, so decided to cruise on to Stourport.  Everyone we talk to tells us that the River Severn is in flood and the locks are in the red.  



A view of the flooded River Stour - if you look through the trees on the left of the photo you can just make out Ella behind the trees on the canal!! 













As we approached Kidderminster, we saw carvings made out of tree trunks lovely work.














The lock in the middle of Kidderminster with Ella and the handsome church in the background.




As we approached Stourport we passed the winding hole that we used to turn the boat on our Helmsman course almost exactly a year ago.  We had a day with Rod and his boat from Stourport to the winding hole and down onto the River Severn as far as the first lock.  A wonderful day!





We moored up above the final lock before the canal basins and spent the rest of the day exploring the town and the canal basins.


 



The delightful clock tower in the canal basins where river cruisers sit alongside narrowboats.












The River Stour spilling out in to the River Severn, both flowing extremely fast.  

















The river boards say that the river is in the red, dangerous to cruise on.











Saturday 18th June - spent the day in Stourport and did a long walk on the Stourport Circular Trail taking in the canal and the River Severn.  The river is still in flood and we have decided to change our plans and give up waiting to get on the River Severn.  Our proposed visit to Stratford-Upon-Avon will be done at another time.

Sunday 19th June - cruised down into the Canal Basins and filled up with water before winding the boat and returning back up the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal.  






A brand new bridge - no number, doesn't actually connect to any roads at the moment, but obviously going to connect something to something at sometime!!











In contrast there is Falling Sands Bridge 11 in front of the steam trains of the Severn Valley Railway on the viaduct behind it.









Arrived back at Wolverley and moored up in the same place, but facing the other way.  Just in time as the rain soon set in and we watched the River Stour rise again!

The end of our second week, a complete contrast to the first, but full of surprises.  We will need to look at our canal books and decide where we shall go from here.  Whatever happens it won't be done in a hurry!!


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