Wednesday 14 September 2022

Curdworth to Hawkesbury Junction

 Tuesday 13 September Kingsbury Water Park, Curdworth, to Atherstone (12 miles, 8 locks)

After a look over the lakeside view, we set off the few miles to Tamworth. The day improved steadily. This stretch of canal is rural and quite pretty. We passed the Drayton Manor theme park on the way.

 Creeping out at Fazeley Junction, we turned South under the tight little bridge and soon arrived at the two Glascote locks, passing over the River Tame on the way. We passed up these by ourselves.

Liana left Annie to retrieve the car from Stourport-on-Severn. John took Annie along the long pound through Glascote, where he attacked a weeping willow which threatened to sweep our flowers off the roof. He continued on past Alvecote Marina and Polesworth to moor for lunch in a peaceful and pretty oak lined glade half a mile before the M42 underpass.

Past Pooley Hall, hiding above in the trees, we spotted a ruined swing bridge in the brambles. A farmer was doing a good job, hedge trimming.

Annie passed Grendon boatyard, which has a good dry dock, although the yard, house and an ancient narrowboat have seen better days.

Once he reached the bottom Atherstone locks. John took Annie up by himself, with some help from oncoming boat crews passing down the locks. Thank you!

Reaching Baddesley Basin, Liana appeared to help us up lock 6 to moor just above, near the Kings Head pub. Despite nearby trains, we slept well.

Wednesday 14 September South from Atherstone to Nuneaton (6 miles, 5 locks)

After a dry night, we did the online word game Wordle, a recent interest, and proceeded up the locks to the services at the top, crossing over with a couple of boats, making life easier. A Volunteer helped at lock 2, where the top gate had been left open by the boat ahead of us. As Annie moved into lock 1, which had its bottom gates open, There were no Volunteers until Liana rousted them out of their bothy  - we had sneaked up on them, they said!

After using the services for Elsan and water, we moored nearby, opposite the vandalised old factory, and walked into town for a coffee and sandwiches with chips. Atherstone is a pleasant enough little town, once the home of hatters and snobs (cobblers). There is still one there!

The Coventry Canal heads SE on a terrace above the Anker valley, past the Alpaca farm and moorings. We passed plenty of boats moored with good views. The newish Mancetter Marina looks to be full, but there is still half a mile of boats moored on line before it.

We moored in the sun at 1630, opposite the recreation ground  after bridge 22.

Thursday 15 September Nuneaton to Hawkesbury Junction (6 miles, 1 lock)

Today Liana travelled all the way back to Stourport- on - Severn by bus and train, then brought the car back to Sutton Stop (aka Hawkesbury Junction). Quite a trip! 

Meanwhile, John took Annie past gardens and under many bridges out of Nuneaton, past the site of the old Griff Arm. 

This is now being redeveloped, with a huge warehouse, so it may not survive to be restored one day.Nuneaton and Bedworth are growing closer, eating up countryside. There were lots of boats moored before Marston Junction. Charity Dock was colourful! Along a long overgrown cutting, Newdigate Colliery Arm junction was still there, overgrown. 

Reaching a quiet Sutton Stop, John opted to make the turn, mooring outside the Greyhound Inn while a boat came out of the shallow stop lock. There was a CRT Volunteer assisting. The little office nearby had a CRT publicity display outside. John moored around the corner once through, on 14 day moorings, with six pins, two at bow and stern, plus one each from front side cleat and centre T stud, as we were leaving her there while we travelled to Wales to babysit our lovely grandchild Hope. Au Revoir!

Saturday 10 September 2022

Stourport to Stourbridge and Birmingham HEADINGS SOME TEXT

 Sunday 4 September back to Annie

Monday 5 September Stourport to Whittington Lock near Kinver

Sunday night was torrential rain and thunder. Liana finished offloading the car in the morning, while John readied Annie. We stopped outside Aldi for one or two bits before leaving the town and enjoy the countryside for over two miles before Falling Sands lock.

Tuesday 6 September Whittington Lock through Kinver to Stourton and Stourbridge

After a rainy and thundery night, the flowers looked windblown. This pretty canal looks damp but very green, compared to a few weeks ago. Whittington, Kinver and Hyde locks are all picturesque. We were lucky to arrive as oncoming boats were leaving, twice. The offside is rather overgrown in places, with red sandstone outcrops looming overhead, notably near the short 25 yard long Dunsley Tunnel.

Once through Stewponey lock, with its adjacent octagonal toll house, we reached Stourton Junction in the sun, turning right to drop Liana off at the newish lock landing before moving into the bottom lock. The four Stourton Locks are close, in a “thick”, so John could “finish off” the top gates and paddles while Liana went ahead to set the next lock for Annie.

The two miles to Wordsley Junction were very quiet, rather overgrown but lovely, quite autumnal. We met no moving boats, which was maybe a good thing! Once past moorings at Newtown, the River Stour is close by, and the canal crosses it just before the junction.

Approaching Stourbridge, John winded Annie at the 70' winding hole, backed around the corner and moored a couple of hundred yards before the basin. When we walked into town, we saw there was room to wind in the basin, which is now fenced off with coded gate locks at the bonded warehouse. You need to contact the Stourbridge Navigation Trust to book moorings and get access. You use an underpass to cross the ring road and reach the town centre up the hill. We visited charity shops and had a Costa coffee. Later, we had a tasty, spicy sausage and lentil casserole which Liana cooked up – definitely one to have again.

Wednesday 7 September Stourbridge to Merryhill (4 miles, 24 locks)

Thursday 8 September Merryhill to the Black Country Museum (9 miles, 4 locks)

After a modest two slices of bacon and an egg with no toast, John felt equipped to brave the Merryhill Shopping Centre here in Brierley Hill. Down many steps from the embankment, we enjoyed the comfort of shopping indoors. We bought baby clothes, books, a hot glue gun for Liana, coffee and an iphone hdmi lead to link it to the tv.

Setting off after lunch, we passed through the eyecatching Waterfront area, before passing the services into darkest Dudley, along the No 2 canal, contouring around the hill, with many twists and turns. The channel was reedy and overgrown by trees in places. Thankfully, we only met one oncoming boat. The weather worsened, and rain teemed down. John got wet despite his coat and umbrella. Reaching the deep Blowers Green lock, with ex-stables and services nearby, we turned left for Netherton. Ahead lay three locks and the western end of the Dudley Tunnel, out of bounds to us. Past numerous Dudley back gardens, we reached the Bumblehole before Netherton Tunnel. Twenty or more boats were moored ready for the event this coming weekend there.

We had forgotten how very long Netherton Tunnel is, about 3000 yards, like Blisworth Tunnel. It has towpaths both sides but no light, We passed two oncoming boats slowly and carefully. The sun met us as we emerged, thankfully.

At Dudley Port Junction we turned left, passed Caggy's Boatyard to find boats at the three Factory Locks. We followed one up and crossed over with another in the second pound. Busy! We passed through Tipton and arrived at the Black Country Museum before 6pm, too late to see our nephew Ted Adams, who works on the tunnel trip boat.

The nation was told that The Queen has passed away peacefully at Balmoral. May She Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory.

Friday 9 September Black Country Museum to Old Turn Junction, Birmingham

The Black Country Museum is closed today as a mark of respect to the late Queen. Back home, my fellow bell ringers are ringing around noon today, with bells half muffled. God Bless Her. God Save our new King Charles III.

We decided to head towards Birmingham along Brindley's old main line. Two boats had left before us, but we never met a moving boat all day on the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN). The water all the way to Dudley Port is crystal clear, although John saw few fish, surprisingly. This green corridor takes you to the M5, where the canal is often below the teeming road traffic, surrounded by a forest of massive concrete columns.

Reaching Smethwick Locks, we found them closed due to a gate failure yesterday. Ho hum, we should have checked. CRT advised using Spon Lane locks to Bromford Junction with Telford's Main Line lower down. to reach Birmingham.  

Retracing our steps, we descended Spon Lane locks, which need a grass and towpath maintenance team badly. The towpath is overgrown, with a large bush/tree toppled over it on this very overgrown unmaintained section including the bottom and middle locks. Get a grip, CRT!

We saw the waterbus as we were mooring by the Oozells Loop, near the Old Turn to the Farmers Bridge flight of locks. After a rest and a walk, our old friend Michael came to take us out for a meal at 

Saturday 10 September in Birmingham (0 miles)

At 11am we watched King Charles III proclaimed as King at St James' Palace. Later, we walked around the city centre, recently modernised for the Commonwealth Games. It was very striking, with large public spaces and pedestrianised streets, plus the new tram system.

Up the Severn to Worcester and the Droitwich canals JUST HEADINGS

 Saturday 20 August Tewkesbury to Worcester

Sunday 21 August Worcester to the Eagle & Sun, Hanley

Monday 22 August The Eagle & Sun to Vines Park moorings, Droitwich

Tuesday 23 August Vines Park , the Barge Canal and up the Severn to Stourport

Wednesday 24 August at Stourport

Up the River Avon and down again with Min and Angela JUST HEADINGS


Monday 8 August Tewkesbury to Pershore (12 miles, 3 locks)

Tuesday 9 August Pershore to Evesham (11 miles, 3 locks)

We moored opposite Abbey Park, before Workman Bridge.

Wednesday 10 August Evesham to Bidford-on-Avon (7 miles, 4 locks)

We moored on The Frog Inn mooring, as the recreation ground moorings opposite were full. This mooring was fine!

Thursday 11 August Bidford-on-Avon to Stratford-on-Avon (10 miles, 6 locks)

We spotted a shady mooring under trees opposite the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and next to the hand-winched passenger chain ferry, ideal in this very hot weather.

Friday 12 - Monday 15 August at Stratford, sheltering from the sun

Tuesday 16 August Stratford-on-Avon to Bidford-on-Avon (10 miles, 6 locks)

Wednesday 17 August Bidford-on-Avon to Evesham (7 miles, 4 locks)

Thursday 18 August Evesham to Pershore (11 miles, 3 locks)

Friday 19 August Pershore to Tewkesbury (12 miles, 3 locks)