Monday, 29 September 2014

Gailey.

IMG_7640 Pedeford Rockin        IMG_7644 Deepmore Bridge 75         IMG_7646 Gailey

On leaving our mooring at Autherley we negotiated the narrows through ‘Pendeford Rockin’ easily with no oncoming boats. However we did encounter a big boat waiting for us to come through bridge 75, as we looked back he had difficulty getting through as it was a bit shallow. We went on to moor on the end of the row of boats at Gailey.

IMG_7652  IMG_7648  IMG_7651 Gailey

The day we thought it would be fine to rub down and varnish our cratch window frame we got a call from our friends Graham and Betty who were calling in for coffee on their way back home. Luckily we had almost finished it when they arrived, so we settled down for a catch-up chat over coffee and cake. It was lovely to see them again, just like old times when they had their boat. Next day we arose early, had showers and were along on the water tap by about 9am. It’s rather a long way between water taps on the S&W, the last one being back at Kinver! Gailey is one of our favourite places to moor, I especially like to buy things in the roundhouse and chat to Ilene who is in the shop. A boat came up in the lock here just as we finished filling with water, so we slid in, down and away we went.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Whitewick.

 IMG_7630 Awbridgea  IMG_7631 Castle Croft Bridge Whitewick  IMG_7595

Leaving our lovely mooring we were fortunate to see a hire boat exiting Awbridge Lock, so we went straight in. We were also lucky and did the same at Ebstree and Dimmingsdale Locks, perfick! There seem to be quite a few of these ‘fake’ trees on the hilltops now, just hope they are improving the signals for everyone.

IMG_7631 Castle Croft Bridge Whitewick  IMG_7632  IMG_7634 Whitewick Lock

Spotting a nice quiet place beyond Castle Croft Bridge we pulled in for the night. On my afternoon stroll about I snapped this beautiful house mmm. Next day we were off again up the two Whitewick Locks under blue skies. On pulling over for some diesel at Limekiln Chandlers we saw the tiny notice saying it had closed in November and was to be developed. Two old local chaps were waiting with the lock gates open for us at Compton Lock. We exchanged a bit of friendly banter with them and found that they enjoyed meeting boaters and helping them through the locks. They warned me that if  the upper ground paddle was opened too fast, water spurted up and you got a wet bum. They said they didn’t tell everyone, especially hasty hirers, all part of their amusement I suppose! Later we pulled over at Oxley Moor Stop where Mr Grumpy served us with diesel and told us he only dealt in cash. Anyway we rustled up enough for 50 litres between us at 86p.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Bratch Locks.

IMG_7590 Bratch Locks    IMG_7591    IMG_7592

Under the bridge at the entrance to the bottom lock there is a weird little stone doorway. If you are nimble enough you can nip on or off your boat through it. There is usually a lock keeper here to guide you through the three locks, rising 30’ 2” as you do so.

IMG_7596 IMG_7628 IMG_7621 IMG_7627

There were rings and a sign saying “Bratch Long Term Moorings permit holders only”. As there were no boats in sight and it was a lovely open sunspot, we tied up there.Why are these empty moorings not turned over to visitor moorings now? They are not suitable for long term moorings anyway as there are no facilities adjoining it! Next day we walked to the cafe in the old disused railway station for a brilliant brunch. It was pretty busy with passing walkers, cyclists and people arriving in cars. I just couldn’t resist taking a couple more shots of the dear little octagonal lock keepers retreat on our return.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A fine day.

IMG_7583 Swindon Lock  IMG_7585  IMG_7586

This is a simple, but ingenious design for a style, as it swivels to allow pedestrians and cyclists through. Moving on up through Botterham Staircase Locks we rose up 20’ 3”.

IMG_7587          IMG_7588          IMG_7535

The several beautifully designed spill weirs are a great feature of this canal. They don’t build them like that anymore do they? Donkeys are a bit of a rarity these days too. Another lovely day gliding along slowly enjoying the sunshine Then we passed under the amusingly named Giggety Bridge and through Bumble Hole Lock.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Bubble Bath!

 IMG_7568 IMG_7578 IMG_7564 Wordsley Junction

Mist was coming off the canal, like steam rising from a mirror, when we left our lovely mooring spot by the horses field. It had been a cold night with a heavy dew on the ground, autumn is creeping up on us. We then made our way up to Wordsley Junction to turn around.

IMG_7580        IMG_7581         IMG_7582

As you can see coming down the first of the four locks to Stourton Junction Oakfield had a bubble bath. By the time we had turned right, back onto the Staffs & Worcs Canal, it had nearly all rinsed off. We had the canal to ourselves for a while and could smell toast and bacon wafting in the air as we cruised along. Later on the mist lifted and the sun shone through. We then met several boats on the move, mainly swapping locks with them, perfick.