Boatwif Blog

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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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Fish Friday

Bratch Locks to Rocky Lock: 5.1 miles, 11 locks       Off down the Bratch (three locks) this morning – its octagonal toll house at the top is very distinctive. By the middle lock the volunteer lockkeeper was tugging her sweatshirt off to get down to T-shirt level in the sunshine. She confirmed that this end of the canal is quiet at present; her home area of Penkridge, however, is seeing six boat queues and confusion.         At the bottom of the locks...

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Knights and damsels on the Staffs and Worcs

Brewood (SU Canal) to Bratch Locks (Staffs & Worcs): 10.23 miles, 7 locks          Cleddau arrived at Autherley Junction just after midday. A lady materialised and insisted on working the (3”) stop lock while her husband turned their boat round at the Junction, so as to return back down the Shroppie. A mile or so later at Compton Lock, the first Staffs and Worcs lock after the Junction, a local walker materialised, put his red rucksack down on the ground,...

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‘Ever forward, but slowly’

High Offley to Brewood: 14.2 miles, 1 lock           “Investigate the pub,” the Captain had suggested yesterday afternoon. “See if it does food.” The Anchor Inn had looked closed, seriously closed, though map books declared it a boaters’ pub. At about 6.30 a potter along the towpath confirmed its CLOSED status.        “Opens at 7,” called a lad from the front deck of a boat. “We know, we’re local.”          Intrigued, there was a repeat potter along the towpath...

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Straight lines on the Shroppie

Market Drayton to High Offley:  9 miles, 5 locks         For the last two nights Cleddau and crew had enjoyed a luxury berth: there had been easy pedestrian and vehicle access, with plug in electricity and a tap right by the stern. It was farewell to Tom’s Moorings this morning. The canal rather skirts Market Drayton but it was interesting to see how via frequent information maps and footpath signs the canal does its best to entice visitors into the...

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Jolly useful day

Moored in Market Drayton         “Can I give you a lift into Market Drayton this morning?” called the boater from the next pontoon. “Save you a long walk on a warm day.”  So a first trip by car today – driver comments and advice came thick and fast: “Town’s a bit run down, mostly charity shops, great breakfasts at Morrisons…”         First stop was the library, where jolly and efficient staff plied the Cleddaucrew with leaflets, explained the county boundaries...

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A whimsical wander

Adderley to Market Drayton: 4 miles, 5 locks        A short cruise brought Cleddau to today’s destination, Tom’s Moorings in Market Drayton. There have been few bridges, houses and roads; the canal route alternates between wide expanses of fields, often grazed by cattle and pretty tree-lined stretches. It seemed the (admittedly delightful) middle of nowhere – but where exactly where were we and where are we now ?  Close examination of the Geo Projects canal map reveals that last night’s...

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Hot Spot Audlem

Coole Pilate Moorings to near Adderley, 4.04 miles, 15 locks         Audlem Bottom Lock was a mile or so beyond last night’s mooring. Fairly frequently alongside the towpath other boats were moored. Then on the right appeared a whole array of boats, neatly parked beside pontoons in the recently opened Overwater Marina. It was breezy: a boat was struggling to exit the marina, poles were deployed and other hands recruited. Waterside was a large marquee, set up for a function...