Monthly Archive: June 2013

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Bells, brides and buskers

Moored in Bancroft Basin, Stratford-upon-Avon           First to the brides referred to yesterday. Above the cacophony yesterday afternoon of laughter and applause coming from the large crowd surrounding the fire-torch juggling unicyclist, church bells could be heard. The delicate spire of Holy Trinity Church, where Shakespeare is buried, soars upwards above the riverside scenery. This prominent graceful landmark draws thousands of visitors each year, being “probably England’s most visited Parish Church,” according to its website.  Its bells were ringing on Saturday afternoon...

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Trains and boats and locks – and brides

‘Canalorak’ readers – skip to paragraph 2*.          Boatwif’s childcare mission was accomplished just after midday on Friday when she was the sole passenger to leave the train at Wootton Wawen’s request stop. On Wednesday a kindly Walsall–bound couple had guided her (via Debenhams second floor perfume department in the Bullring) from Moor Street Station to Birmingham New Street Station.  On Friday a kindly gent offered help in finding the way out of the New Street maze:  when it was...

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Downhill on the Stratford Canal

TUESDAY: Hockley Heath to Preston Bagot, 7 miles, 33 locks            “Yes please!” was the reply to two separate canal volunteers today when help was offered. There were two draw bridges in the first mile and then after the next mile the locks started. Down through the first Lapworth lock and a gentleman in tweed jacket appeared.  He wore a C&RT Volunteer badge but “lived locally”. In fact he lives in the cottage below the first lock where his wife,...

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Four-tunnel day

Tardebigge to Hockley Heath, 18.27 miles, 4 tunnels, 1 open stop lock        First Mate delivered the Cleddau crew back from Bromsgrove to the boat at Tardebigge New Wharf this morning. Unloading of weekend gear and the top up food shop was quickly completed, a top up of water followed – and then it was off – off along the summit level of the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. Within 10 yards there was tunnel number 1, Tardebigge Tunnel, a 580 yard*...

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Boatdog on board – the cruise resumed

          Phase 2 of Cleddau’s summer cruise began on Thursday. This is the Droitwich Spa to Stratford-upon-Avon leg. (Is “leg” the right word?)         The six nights at home? Well, if really interested, see below.          Relief Captain and First Mate live close by to Droitwich. They are very nearly the proud new owners of nb Tentatrice. They also work as volunteers for Canal and River Trust (C&RT) on the stretch of canal between Stoke Prior and Tardebigge.          “We...

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Geometry

Netherwich Basin, Droitwich to Droitwich Spa Marina: 1.4 miles, 5 locks             A lesson in geometry was needed this morning to work out how to leave the short pontoon and to bear left towards Droitwich: all simple except for a gusting 18mph wind and a long hire boat whose stern was a couple of feet from Cleddau’s bow..           The stern was let go and it began its planned drift to the right. Slowly it began to pivot around its...

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Exploring new waters

Stourport-on-Severn to Droitwich: 14.2 miles, 14 locks         The stats say it all: 28 lock miles is a lot and the crew is fatigued!          Stourport was distinctly damp this morning so waterproofs and life jackets were donned before the trip downstream got under way. Just finding your way out of the Stourport Basins can be a challenge: there’s the ‘Birmingham Navy’ moored in front of the Clockhouse, craft of all shapes tied to the wharves and finger pontoons for...

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Babe on board

Wolverley to Stourport-on-Severn :  6.2 miles,  6 locks        Young Aisha was on board today – she’s less than forty days old and in her entourage were mum (the A&E doctor), dad and three grandparents. So Aisha is now the current holder of the youngest crew member badge!         From Wolverley to the liaison point right alongside Sainsbury’s in Kidderminster involved 2 locks and less than 2 miles.  Gone were last night’s revellers at The Lock pub in Wolverley. At 8.30am the...

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Shadowing the Stour

Kinver to Wolverley: 4.3 miles, 2 locks          When you walk from the canal into Kinver village you cross a little river. Ah – yes, you realise, there has been a river running below the canal level on the towpath side. Now at Wolverley, four odd miles further on, it’s a bit more obvious, a bit wider – and nearer its eventual end at Stourport where it flows into the River Severn. It’s about 25 miles (40km) in length and rises...

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The rock houses of Holy Austin

Gothersley Lock to Kinver: 3.5 miles, 4 locks         Did an Augustine hermit ever live in a cave on Kinver Edge? Might that be why now the rock houses above Kinver are located in a place called Holy Austin? The answer in unknown but a visit to the rock houses is strongly advised for visitors to Kinver.       It wasn’t a long cruise this morning and it was only just after 10 when Cleddaucleared Gothersley Lock. There was a small plume of...

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