Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Otherton to Great Haywood

Really nice day for boating. Tied up for lunch in the shade after Bridge 98, and then home. Iain did most of the steering, except that he also did most of the locks with Glenys and Margaret! He brought Erin Mae impeccably round the GH junction, into the marina and round the moorings to our berth. I took her into and out of the locks, and then negotiated with a boat coming the other way through the narrow sections just short of GH.

11 miles, 7 locks, 6 hours engine

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Baswich to Otherton

Thunder storm in the night, lots of rain. Wet when we started, but dried up by late coffee time, and was a bit fresher. Walked into Penkridge to visit Jaspers, and also paid a visit to Mr Simm's Sweet Shoppe. Went down to Gailey, winded, watered and lunched, and then came back to tie up (nearly 8 p.m.) opposite Otherton marina. Long, fun day.

10 miles, 16 locks, 8 hours engine.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Great Haywood to Baswich

Picked up Iain and Glenys White from Stafford station. Headed out in the afternoon – very hot and muggy. Tied up just short of Bridge 98 on the Staffs and Worcs. Got covered in aspen seeds.

4.7 miles, 1 lock, 2.5 hours engine

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Housekeeping at Great Haywood

Thursday to Sunday were days for shopping, cleaning, washing and listening to the 2nd Ashes Test. Friday we went to the IWA Festival at Cleobury Park.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Gailey to Great Haywood

Hottest day of the year so far. Set out early so as to get to GH in one day. Alarm at Gailey Lock when, still rather sleepy, we left the top paddles open when we opened the bottom ones. The boat was thrown backwards in the turbulence, with a real danger of being caught on the cill. We dropped the front paddles just in time, with some help from a passing stranger, and apparently no damage to the stern tackle.

Long day, but largely uneventful apart from this. Tied up on our home mooring. A bit strange to be home.

Car battery was flat, in spite of the solar charger having been on all the time we've been away (11 weeks, 2 days). Called the AA, who came and got it going. Battery seems to be OK after charging. AA man had little comfort or a solution, and clearly didn't expect the solar panel to be effective over this period of time. Will need to look for an alternative solution.

13.6 miles, 12 locks, 7.5 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Shroppie Bridge 7 to Gailey

Another hot day once the thin cloud burnt off. Queued at Autherley Junction to get through the lock, and had a most unpleasant encounter with a boat coming in who didn't want to have to leave me enough room to turn left. Apart from that, all plain sailing. Tied up at Gailey with the bows just encroaching on the permanent moorings, so will probably need to ask the boat behind to move back a bit when they return.

10.9 miles, 1 lock, 4.5 hours engine time.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Shroppie Bridge 7 to Wheaton Aston and back

Up to Turner's for diesel at 76.9p for domestic. 153 litres. Also changed a gas cylinder. Reversed back through the bridge to wind, and tied up back at the same mooring as last night.

10.2 miles, 2 locks, 5.5 hours engine.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Pendeford to Shroppie Bridge 7

As agreed with Oxley Marine, took Erin Mae to them in the morning. Got there about 9.30. Philip replaced the tiller bearing, and then came down to Aldersley junction and back to give the drive train a health check. Saw a little wobble (about 1 mm) in the drive shaft, but thought that would probably not get any worse. We talked about quality of propellers and he showed me a variety of bent ones. Cleared a load of plastic bags and some rope pieces from the weed hatch. They also did a pump-out (£13 with blue).

Came up the Shroppie and tied up on the moorings between bridges 7 and 8. Beautiful spot, beautiful evening.

5.2 miles, 1 lock, 3 hours engine time.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Gailey Wharf to Pendeford

Great day with Kit and Angie. Filled up with water and winded at Gailey Lock first thing and came back on to the same mooring where we had been overnight, running the engine for a couple of hours. Came back to Pendeford after they had gone to be ready to get to Oxley Marine in the morning.

7.5 miles, 0 locks, 4.5 hours engine.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Pendeford to Gailey Wharf

Another beautiful day, not quite as hot as yesterday. Passed Dave on Anon, who put another few holes in Margaret's windlass holster belt. Thereafter very slow following NB Astra and another to Gailey. Tied up on the 48 hour moorings at Gailey wharf.

7.2 miles, 0 locks, 3.5 hours engine time.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Bratch to Pendeford

Hot day from the start. Stopped at Compton to visit the small Sainsbury's, and had lunch. Called in with Oxley Marine to arrange for fixing the tiller bearing. All very satisfactory.

Tied up in the shallow stretch at Pendeford before Bridge 67. Found a good-sized Morrisons in Pendeford, alongside a school, community centre and modern church.

7.5 miles, 6 locks, 5 hours engine.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Stourton Junction to The Bratch

Warm but rather cloudy day. A bit more traffic than of late. Tied up on the visitor moorings just above The Bratch.

7 miles,  11 locks, 5.8 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

BCN: Fens Branch to Stourton Junction

Extremely hot – thermometer in the cabin reads 31ºC after we tied up at 5.45 in the shade. Came down the Stourbridge flight, with most of them set against us, even after passing a boat coming up – not quite sure what happened there.

Before folding down the pram hood cover, took off the side pieces and the front window cover, and stowed them on the roof. Together with undoing the front side poppers that made it possible to fold the rest of it in such a way as to leave room for getting up onto the roof for working the locks. Putting up the cover at the end of the day, without replacing any of the parts I'd removed, took just a few minutes.

The last two days were, in prospect, the worst of the journey – a lot of locks through bandit country. Apart from being so hot, they've actually been OK. The mooring last night on the Fens Branch was uneventful.

Tied up on the 5 day moorings on the Staffs and Worcs at Stourton Junction, heading north.

5 miles, 20 locks, 6 hours engine time.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Netherton Park to the Fens Branch

Mark did the pram cover today, so we set out after lunch. Round the Dudley Nº 2 Canal to Park Head junction, then down past the excellent Waterfront development and down the Delph flight. Passed two boats coming up. Day very sunny, most of the landscape pretty depressing urban industrial, with lots of graffiti and signs of disaffection.

CanalPlan had suggested stopping at the top lock of the Stourbridge flight, and we have done so, retreating slightly up the Fens Branch. It feels a bit insecure, though it will probably be OK.

7 miles, 9 locks, 6 hours engine time (4.5 hours travelling plus 1.5 in the morning for electrons).

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Bournville to Netherton Park

Came through Birmingham centre on a very hot day, with people out enjoying the sun and the cafés. The BCN main line was much greener than we'd imagined, and the Netherton tunnel very straightforward. Decided to tie up at Netherton park shortly after the tunnel exit – opposite the CaRT 48 moorings and water station.

14.3 miles, 0 licks, 5 hours engine time.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Bournville to Shirley to Bournville

Met John and Becky, Martha and Lydia at Bournville moorings, and went down the Stratford to the winding hole just past bridge 9A. Came back to the same moorings at Bournville. Brilliant sunny day, and very good fun with them.

12.5 miles, 0 locks, 2 lift bridges, 6 hours engine time.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Hopwood to Bournville

Down to Alvechurch first to get a new pole. Put in 50 litres of diesel for safety's sake.

Very sunny day for cruising. Back through the Wast Hill tunnel, and then up to the winding hole at Selly Oak to visit Sainsbury's. Winded and tied up on the Bournville visitor moorings, opposite side to the railway station.

11.7 miles, 0 locks, 5.5 hours engine time.

Thursday, 4 July 2013


Stayed put in Hopwood to do cleaning and baking. Very nice sunny day. Only moved Erin Mae to go to the water point and back.

Went to Hopwood House Inn for evening food – two rump steaks for a tenner sounded very good value. But mine was appallingly fatty and stringy. The sympathetic Australian waitress gave us complimentary desserts, which were very good.

0 miles, 2 hours engine time.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hopwood to Alvechurch to Hopwood

Cruised down to Alvechurch to see the sights, but it's a long way to the centre of the village. Co-op has no fruit and veg because there's a fruit and veg shop next door. St Laurence church closed. Tied up for lunch opposite the marina / boatyard, but decided not to ask them to change the tiller bearing.

Returned to the overnight mooring at Hopwood. Ran the engine for an extra hour in the evening.

5 miles, 0 locks, 3.5 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Warstock to Hopwood

Dave at Lyons Boatyard fixed the swan neck with the help of a blow-torch and upward pressure from MPI. Diagnosed the upper tiller bearing as definitely past it. Thought about getting them to fix it, but there were just too many uncertainties in relation to how long it would take and when it could be done.

At Kings Norton Junction turned right to explore the section where we'll pick up Becky et al on Saturday. Then winded and came back through Wast Hills Tunnel. Tied up at the 48 hour moorings just short of Bridge 67 on the Worcester and Birmingham.

11 miles, 0 locks (except for 1 open stop lock), 3.5 hours engine time.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Hockley Heath to Warstock

Late start under cloudy skies. Main problem was the shallowness of the canal, especially at the towpath when passing oncoming boats on a bend. Sun came out later. Stopped for lunch in the Earlswood area, and encountered NB Scorpio going to the Stratford festival.

Tied up opposite Lyons Boatyard. Should be safe because of all the company, though the general advice has been not to moor beyond Shirley.

8 miles, 1 lift bridge (electric), 4 hours engine