Monday, 29 September 2014


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


 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.

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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”.

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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.

Sunday, 21 September 2014


IMG_7565 Primrose Hill   IMG_7549a   IMG_7560 £795

We turned right up the four locks onto the Stourbridge Canal. The water level was rather low and we ran aground before the fourth lock. The Cabin Boy went forward to let some water through to re-float me. The canal was narrow, twisty, reedy and shallow in places, luckily there were no other boats on the move. Anyway we found a suitably deep enough mooring at Primrose Hill and were kept company by several nice horses roaming around opposite. The towpaths here are fairly good though as they are well pounded by dog walkers, joggers and cyclists. As we found we were within walking distance of the Glass Quarter we made our way up there the next day. The Red House Glass Cone is huge at nearly fifty feet high. After coffee in their cafe we toured the museum of glassmaking, housed inside the red brick cone. Then we perused the craft workshops and pieces displayed in the glass cabinets for sale. My favourite piece (shown above) was £795, but of course the Cabin Boy kept his wallet tightly closed as usual!

IMG_7555   IMG_7557   IMG_7562 Tudor Chrystal Dial Glassworksa

Afterwards we walked down the busy high street to Ruskin Glass & Webb Corbett, Visitor Centres, which were very similar but the higgledy-piggledy buildings were not as interesting. We made our way back down the Stourbridge Arm past the Tudor Crystal Centre glimpsed behind a retaining wall. It appeared to be housed in an old red brick cone which had been much reduced in height. ‘Twas a grand day out, made even nicer, with free entry to all sites. On our return we put our feet up with a cuppa and it pelted with rain for the rest of the day, perfick timing we thought!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Cruising on up.

IMG_7531 Debdale Lock IMG_7532 IMG_7534 WALa

This canal passes through some beautiful countryside, tall cool woodland and interesting sandstone cuttings. A boat was exiting Debdale Lock which enabled us to glide straight. We were helped up through by a chap who looked official, but was not a Canal and River Trust volunteer. We then went on to moor in front of nb What a Lark just below Whittington Lock.

IMG_7536 Kinver IMG_7537 IMG_7543 Hyde Lock

It was a nice quiet night here so we slept well, then we were up early next morning and away. We paused at Kinver to empty and fill tanks, then sat of the railway sleeper bench to have our elevensies. The horse tunnels and circular spill weirs are great features on the Staffs & Worcs Canal too. The cottage beside Hyde Lock, with the mini lock gates into the garden, is for sale.

Friday, 19 September 2014


IMG_7523 Kidderminster   IMG_7528   IMG_7529

Didn’t stop at the lovely Water Mill Pub, but carried on past the old carpet weaving quarter which covered both sides of the canal. The area has now been completely taken over with the usual large superstores. Once out of Kinver Lock we stopped on the popular moorings outside Sainsbury’s overnight. The Cabin Boy bought engine oil at the nearby Halfords and it came with free oil absorption matts ( usually a tenner each ) luvly jubbly! From there it is a short walk into town to peruse the shops. You can’t help thinking that all the new superstores had ruined the trade of the smaller shopkeepers, as many had closed down.

IMG_7541 cuddley Chudley   IMG_7535   IMG_7538

En-route we made friends with cuddly ‘Chuddley’, sniffed a beautiful rose, and spied a small village of little toadstools.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Stourport walkabout.

IMG_7500 IMG_7505aa

The main street was bustling with shoppers, with a continuous stream of traffic passing through as well. We ambled through it all down to the iron bridge spanning the Severn then along the more tranquil riverside path running up towards Bewdley. The path is well maintained with plenty of seats and littler bins en-route. Just past Lickhill Manor Caravan park we turned back. Families were going for river trips in the small motor boats that were for hire. We were surprised that non of them seemed to carry any safety equipment, not even a life ring!

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There was a large car park one side of the huge unused river dock and on the opposite side was Treasure Island Amusement Park. Lots of squealing and laughter attracted us in for a look around. There were pirates, big model zoo animals, dinosaurs, dragons and fish with sharp teeth. which people were posing with to take photos. Apart from the Big Wheel, Helter Skelter, Dodgems, Gallopers, there were also two more scary rides. Also the usual ‘one arm bandits’ and slot machines of course. A few smaller rides and slides were around the corner for the tiny tots to ride on. So this was the popular Danters Fairground which is open all year round.