Sunday, 4 February 2018

Overwinter Cruise Week 14

Sunday 28th January - Penkridge to Brick Kiln Lock

Today we move on through Filance Lock after it was opened having completed the work on it.

A pleasant cruise, a little breezy but dry and we arrived above Brick Kiln Lock. a stones throw from Gailey Wharf.  We moored up here as it is quieter and with open views.

We walked up to Gailey Wharf where there is a round tower which was the original toll clerk's office.  It now houses a canalside shop which was closed!  The bridge carries the A5 - Watling Street.

I found this an amusing photograph, looks like the windmill is on our boat - what a good idea!

As I was making the night time tea, the gas bottle ran out.  Fortunately we were in the right place as we can get a replacement at Gailey Wharf.  

Monday 29th January - Brick Kiln Lock to Slade Winding Hole

The morning was wet, so we waited until the weather improved and then set out for the village of Coven.  

This is a White Park cow, an old breed of beef cattle which is also classed as a rare breed.  In 1973 there were only 60 cattle left in the breed but there are now 950 adult breeding cows.

I do find some of the boat names and signs quite amusing!

We have followed the canal from the left of the picture.  To the right is the disused Hatherton Branch Canal which is subject to restoration.  It would join up with the Wyrley and Essington Canal and provide a route into Birmingham at a cost of £44 million.


We moored up on a bend in the canal just past Slade Winding Hole with a footpath giving easy access to the village of Coven.  Sue and Dave on nbBeefur passed us heading towards Penkridge, hopefully we shall cross paths again!

We walked into the village and had a look round the church as it was looking resplendent in the early evening sunshine.

A super photo showing the almost full moon behind the winter skeletons of the trees.

Tuesday 30th January - Slade Winding Hole to Compton Lock

This stretch of the canal is known as Pendeford Rockin' or The Narrows. Here, just before the junction with the Shropshire Union Canal, the early navvies met an outcrop of Keuper Sandstone which was enough of a problem to their primitive technology to force them to dig a shallow, narrow cutting.  Stretching for about 600 yards, it is only about ten feet deep but is only wide enough for one boat.  Three passing places were dug out, one by the towpath side and two on the off side.  

We cruised past the junction with the Shropshire Union...

...and the junction of the Birmingham Main Line and continued on towards Compton where we moored up for the night.

Our mooring above Compton Lock, another peaceful mooring, but this time the towpath was incredibly muddy and hard work to walk on!

I'm afraid Toby was left on the boat whilst we went shopping!

Wednesday 31st January - Compton Lock to Bratch Locks

As we prepared to move on this morning, a beautiful morning, I was heartened to see these hazel catkins heralding the arrival of spring!

On our journey we passed a fishing match with over 20 fishermen at intervals along the canal.  As they weren't having much luck they urged us to speed up and churn up the water for them!

We moored up for the evening above the Bratch Locks and we enjoyed a walk along the disused railway line and the canal.

We found The Railway Cafe, off Bratch Lane, and housed in the disused Wombourne Station.  Unfortunately it looked pretty closed up!

We returned to the canal over the bridge at Awbridge Lock.  The unusual balustrade bridge and lock are reputed to be haunted.

This curious carving in the shape of a French man o' war is said to date from the time when French prisoners were used on the canal following the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Tonight sees the first of this year's blue moons, so called when 2 full moons fall within a calendar month.  The next will be in March.  We were blessed with perfectly clear skies and the moonlight shone through the window all night long!

Thursday 1st February - The Bratch Locks to Hinksford Lock

We set off about midday, down through the Bratch Locks.  These locks are three in a row, very close together, but not a staircase.  The pounds between the locks are incredibly short so opening the gates in the right order is very important!

The octagonal lock keepers office looks enormous from the lock below.

We cruised on until Wombourne Bridge and moored up so we could go across the road to the Sainsbury's.  Poor Toby had to stay on the boat!

We decided to stop above Hinksford Lock as it was cold, windy and quite late.

Friday 2nd February - Hinksford Lock to Hyde Lock, Kinver

Loved these beautiful boats Temeraire and the butty Tenacious, they looked immaculate!

We stopped at Greensforge to empty rubbish and take on water, a very pleasant place to stop except that there is only room for about 1.5 narrowboats on the visitors moorings!

This is the remains of Gothersley Roundhouse, rebuilt as a picnic area.  The building was originally three storeys high and built in 1805 for the keeper of the wharf.  The adjacent ironworks closed down in 1895 and the Roundhouse blew down in a storm in 1991.

The red sandstone cliff known as Devil's Den has a cave cut into the cliff, and can only be reached from the canal, but the water is too shallow for large boats to get close to it. 

This is the junction with the Stourbridge Canal.  Today we are carrying on towards Stourport, but on our way back we shall take a detour and go and visit Stourbridge.

We cruised through the 25 yard long Dunsley Tunnel, it is believed to be the shortest tunnel on the canal system and the oldest navigable tunnel built around 1769.

We moored up above Hyde Lock about 0.5 miles out of Kinver.  Again an open and quiet mooring.

Saturday 3rd February Hyde Lock, Kinver

A thoroughly wet day with non-stop rain all day.  We walked into Kinver to do some shopping, but returned to the boat as it wasn't fit to go anywhere else!

This is the end of Week 14 - we shall get to Stourport next week, turn around and begin our journey back again.

Map Key   Week 1 - Brown   Week 2 -  Purple   Week 3 - Dark Blue   Week 4 - Light Blue
                   Week 5 - Green    Week 6 Olive Green   Week 7 - Yellow  Week 8 - Orange  

                   Week 9 - Pink      Week 10 - Dark Pink     Week 11 - Dark Brown  Week 12 - Light Purple         
                        Week 13 - Indigo  Week 14 - Blue/Green

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