Today has been exhausting! Not because of the locks, but the sheer amount of people out there on a Bank Holiday that you have to smile and wave at! We are quite looking forward to everyone going back to work tomorrow. Sorry!
Boats were moving quite early in Wolverley and after breakfast we joined them. We passed a boat coming towards us before we reached Debdale Lock, this was just as the canal narrows. We had time to stop and reverse a little to let them through. At the hairpin bend luckily nothing was coming. All the boats that we’d seen leaving Stourport on Saturday and Sunday were heading back home, so at most locks we arrived just as a boat was coming out. This made the day easy going.
The bluebells today in the woodland along the canal were amazing. None of my photographs do them justice, but Wow! There were people who had walked to see the haze of blue and I’m not in the slightest bit surprised.
The lock cottage at Whittington is built over the top of the bywash. I couldn’t help wonder if they could hear running water all the time in their living room or not.
As we got closer to Kinver the canal got busier with walkers and cyclists on the towpath. Plenty of boats were moored up having lunch. A boat had just left the lock and signalled to us to pull over to the towpath, the gates had closed behind them and someone was starting to refill it. Some of the bridges on this stretch mean that you cannot see below the locks, this one was particularly bad so no wonder the lock had been stolen from us. I went up and had a chat with the lady there and helped them down.
At Stewponey Lock we were following a boat up that had a chap enjoying a cruise on the stern deck sat in a wheelchair. He is a friend they take out once a year, getting him on and off the boat takes time. They need to be in Kinver Lock at the top, where he can move himself onto their gas locker and then into his wheelchair. This is the only place that is the right height for this. Their cruise then consists of a two and a half mile stretch before they can wind and head back. The boat went up to Stourton Junction to wind whilst Lillian was in the lock and returned just as we were leaving.
Onto The Stourbridge Canal and up the four locks. We are back on familiar water for a while as we did this stretch April/May 2010 on Winding Down. The third lock up I had the offer of some assistance with the lock gates from a young lad and his mum (his teenage sister couldn’t have given a monkeys). He was so very keen to help they waited for Lillian to arrive at the fourth lock. Just on the bend in 2010 there was a garden with the best Aubrieta we’ve ever seen, we were glad that it was still there.
Our mooring tonight has fields to either side. This will be the last of such moorings for a while as we head into and through Birmingham. Roast chicken tonight because it feels like a Sunday.
9 locks, 6.57 miles, 14 boats coming the other way, 863,749,146,271,996 bluebells, 1 load of washing, 742 gongoozlers 4 who helped, 1 very keen lad wanting to help us up the Stourbridge 16 tomorrow.
Since leaving Crick on the 9th June 2014 our statistics so far are
Total distance 1188 miles, and 1056 locks. 101 moveable bridges of which 12 were left open; 270 small aqueducts or underbridges; 47 tunnels and 2 major aqueducts.
This is made up of 457 miles, 1/2 furlong of narrow canals; 517 miles, 7 furlongs of broad canals; 51 miles, 5¼ furlongs of commercial waterways; 17 miles, 1½ furlongs of large rivers, 117 miles, 1¼ furlongs of small rivers; 27 miles, ¼ furlongs of tidal rivers; 459 narrow locks; 565 broad locks (4 of which were done backwards); 31 large locks; 1 lock on major waterways.
Engine hours to date 1,396.7