Sunday, 5 August 2018
Destination Worcester - Week 1 Overwater Marina to The Bratch
Monday 30th July - Overwater Marina to Hawkesmoor Bridge
Today we have handed in our fob for opening gates, done a circuit of the Marina and waved goodbye to our friends and acquaintances.
We have been at this Marina from the day we arrived with nbElla, that is almost 3 years ago now and we are relocating her to Droitwich Spa Marina to be near to our new home in Worcester.
We left the Marina and turned right towards Audlem. We spent the afternoon climbing up through the Audlem Locks and continued on towards the visitor moorings below the Adderley Locks.
A fine evening followed by a lovely sunset. It feels good to be back on the water again, although after 15 locks we both felt amazingly tired!
Tuesday 31st July - Hawkesmoor Bridge to Shebdon Wharf
The next morning we set off towards Adderley Locks. This is the view of our overnight mooring from inside the lock.
Dave worked us through the five locks and this is the view of the top lock through the bridge.
As you approach Market Drayton, there is a pleasant wooded cutting called Betton Cutting. Legend has it that it is haunted by a shrieking spectre and working boatmen would avoid lingering here in the old days.
The main road into Market Drayton crosses the canal here and Talbot Wharf can be seen through the bridge.
Not many boats moored up at Market Drayton...
...but we used to prefer to be moored up outside the town with open views across the fields and space for Toby to run around.
Mr TreeTrunk has obviously been supporting the football this summer whilst carrying on with his fishing.
The Tyrley Locks walk has been a favourite of Dave and Toby for as long as we were living there, it used to take about 2 hours and finished up with a well earned drink at the Red Lion in the town.
After Tyrley Locks the canal goes through Woodseaves Cutting, a deep, green, dark space with a speed limit of 2 miles per hour, because of the brittle lumps of sandstone that can dislodge from the sides and tumble into the canal.
Just before the Shebdon Embankment is Knighton Wharf, which used to transport ingredients for chocolate making to and from Bournville. Until recently there used to be several historic crafts moored at the wharf but today it is empty. Where have all the boats gone?
We moored up for the night at the end of Shebdon Embankment opposite Shebdon Wharf, with a splendid view over the surrounding fields.
Wednesday 1st August - Shebdon Wharf to Norbury Junction
We left Shebdon and headed through Grub Street Cutting, another gorgeous green space with very high bridges.
Our favourite is High Bridge with the truncated telegraph pole, no longer connected to anything.
We moored for the night at another of our favourite places Norbury Junction. We treated ourselves to tea and breakfast baps, very nice!
Thursday 2nd August - Norbury Junction to Brewood
We moved on from Norbury towards Gnosall passing through idyllic canal scenery. Looks so much different in the sunshine!
In Gnosall they certainly know how to make the canalside facilities look appealing. You can moor up here to fill up with water.
Toby and I got off the boat here to walk through Cowley Tunnel, only 81 yards, but quite dark in the middle.
We stopped at Wheaton Aston to fill up with diesel, one of the cheapest places on the system, then onto the facilities to clear rubbish and fill up with water.
We then moored up for the night just past Eskew Bridge and beside the fir tree. It has grown since the first time we moored here!
Friday 3rd August - Brewood to Dimmingsdale
We left Brewood and headed towards the end of the Shropshire Union Canal. This has been our home canal for the past three years and we shall return for visits in the future.
Lovely to see the yellow pond lily in flower, very pretty.
At the end of the Shropshire Union Canal is the stop lock as you turn onto The Staffordshire and Worcester Canal. Only 6 inches deep and once through we turned right towards Wolverhampton.
Working the Wightwick Locks as we head towards Compton where we shall stop to do a shop.
This evening we moored up, this time in the middle of nowhere, beside a large lake used by anglers and above Dimmingsdale Lock.
We spotted this turtle sunbathing on a log. Some local people told us it was a yellow bellied slider turtle, but as they are native to America, it must have been a pet set free that has bred in the canal.
Just a lovely photo of the canal.
A good shot of nbElla on our way back from our walk.
Saturday 4th August - Dimmingsdale to The Bratch Locks
A very short cruise today as far as The Bratch Locks. Dave is working Awbridge Lock. The bridge here is an unusual design and is thought to be James Brindley's first attempt to combine a lock and bridge on a public road.
The locks at the Bratch. We have never seen so many boats using the locks, and so many volunteers to help you!
A quintessential English scene - cricket being played on a hot Saturday afternoon.
So warm we had to improvise shade for myself and Toby!
As the canal traffic quietened down we were treated to a heron fishing from the lock landing. As I watched it dived into the water and came out with a fish in its beak which it put down on the towpath and then proceeded to eat in two gulps.
This is the end of our first week, the sun has shone, the winds have been light and it has been dry. What's not to like?