Sunday, 21 October 2018
Mid Worcestershire Ring Week 4
Sunday 14th October - Alvechurch to Tardebigge Top Lock
We woke to a very wet and dismal day and decided to sit tight and wait for the rain to stop before moving down to the top of the Tardebigge Locks.
For our entertainment we were treated to the boatyard opposite craning one of their boats out of the water. Fascinating to watch, and skilfully done!
Once the rain had stopped we prepared the boat and began our short cruise down towards the Tardebigge Locks. We cruised through 2 short tunnels, both wide enough to take two narrowboats and with no towpath. Fortunately we could see if another boat was on its way through the tunnel.
We stopped at the services above the locks for rubbish disposal and water and then went through the top lock - first of 30 - and moored up for the night ready to make an early start the next day.
Lovely sunset from our mooring.
The top lock replaces a lift which was prone to operation problems and water wastage, and is 14 ft deep, one of the deepest narrowbeam locks on the system.
Monday 15th October - Tardebigge to Stoke Wharf
We made an early start as we wanted to get through the locks as early as possible. However the weather was not as promised and we cruised in heavy drizzle for the whole trip.
At the second lock is the former pump house which was used to pump water from the reservoir which is 50ft below the summit. It is now 4 luxury apartments - very nice indeed.
Tardebigge Reservoir supplies the flight of locks and the canal with water and is very popular with local anglers.
Now, I guess it was only a matter of time before we were bound to experience an accident whilst out on the canals. We had settled into a comfortable rhythm working the locks together, Dave setting the next lock whilst I closed the lock I was in and started to empty the lock. With only 5 locks to go to complete the flight, I stepped off the boat and slipped on the lock edge, fell off the boat and ended up with one leg in the lock, between the boat and the edge. I was able to get up, continue working the lock and even warn Dave about the slippery edges, all the way down to Stoke Wharf before I broke down and admitted to Dave that I had fallen in the water. I ended up with a bruised and battered right side, thumb, shoulder and leg and a very dented confidence in my ability to work a lock safely.
There was a notice on the lock beam saying that the lock edges were very slippery and Dave had already seen it, but I hadn't as the lock beam was open to get the boat in.
We moored up for the evening just before the Queen's Head, and after a hot shower I was able to tend to my injuries.
Despite the unfortunate accident, we were very pleased with our first attempt at this flight of locks. The 30 locks drop the canal over 200 ft, there are stunning views across the countryside to the Malvern Hills and this time it took us 4.5 hours. No idea if this a good time, but it is a lot less than the 7 hours Pearson said it would take us!
Tuesday 16th October - Stoke Wharf to Dunhampstead
Today we set off again in much better weather and worked our way steadily down the Stoke Locks and Astwood Locks.
We passed an enormous canalside housing development, water being pumped into the canal as they were working.
A very attractive lock cottage with a lovely garden on the opposite side, beautifully cared for.
We called in at Hanbury Wharf for diesel and then continued on to moor at Dunhampstead where we treated ourselves to a meal at The Fir Tree Inn. Very pleasant Inn with delicious food, but we were the only diners, so a little lacking in atmosphere.
Wednesday 17th October - Dunhampstead to Diglis Basin
On our last leg towards Worcester and our home mooring in Diglis Basin, we passed the Sixways Stadium where the Worcester Warriors play rugby.
Another lock edge, with the same stone that I slipped on. There is also a notice on the lock beam warning that they maybe slippery. Needless to say I took exceptional care getting on and off the boat.
We cruised down the locks into Worcester, all very quiet, a delightful journey in calm, warm weather. We arrived back in our basin, reversed the boat onto our pontoon and closed the boat up and returned to our apartment.
Week 1 - Brown Week 2 - Purple Week 3 - Blue
Week 4 - Light Blue