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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Onwards to Tardebigge.

The decision was made yesterday to leave Brum and head for Worcester. We hadn't heard anything to say whether Tardebigge flight was open or still shut, but decided to go towards Worcester anyway. Leaving Brum yesterday afternoon, we made it as far as Norton Junction. By now it had gone 5pm when we eventually stopped and the moorings seemed very pleasant until Ian took Jade for a walk along the towpath and discovered a council estate and huge park. Both of us wondered, 'should we stay or should we go'?, especially as we were the only boat around. In the end we went. No point going to bed that night worrying if something was going to happen. So pulled pins and headed off to Wast Hill tunnel.

The beauty of traveling later in the day is that we were pretty sure no other boats would be coming through in the opposite direction. Within 40 minutes we had found a great rural mooring and managed to tie up before the heavens opened again. After the rain came the sun and a lovely evening it turned out to be.

After a very peaceful and trouble free night we again pulled pins late morning and headed for Tardebigge

Our mooring last night just before Hopwood

The Worcester and Birmingham canal had a lovely rural feel, so much so that the towpath disappeared completely and was replaced by the trees and undergrowth. Good job we didn't meet another boat because no doubt our paintwork would have had some impressive scratches along it.

Another tunnel came into view, this time Shortwood tunnel. The rain had again made an appearance and as we were just before the entrance,  Ian opened up the throttle a bit so he could get inside where it was dry. Unfortunately like most tunnels, it had some formidable waterfalls so while I stayed nice and dry Ian got soaked!

Shortwood Tunnel and the distance Ian had to dash to.the entrance.
Thankfully the sun was shining when we came out the other end, and still no boat came towards us. In fact only 3 boats passed us all day! Maybe the stoppage had put them off from traveling. Talking of which, this morning Ian had a quick look at his emails and sure enough one was there from Waterscape to say water levels had returned to normal and the locks were open again. Good O. Only one more tunnel to go before our destination. Tardebigge Tunnel. The walls are unlike any tunnel I have been through before.. Starts off with brick but soon turns to rock giving the walls a primitive appearance. How difficult it must have been for those of long ago to chisel out this tunnel!!

Tardebigge Tunnel

We moored up at Tardibigge Top lock but  having to hammer in pins in soft earth right by the lock was a bit worrying so I walked down past the first lock to find a great mooring with rings after bridge 56. So pulled pins again, came down the lock which, incidentally,  is extremely deep and moored in another lovely quite spot.. Got the rod out but with no live bait, fished on bread instead.  This gave me an impressive bag of bream so might use it more often. While siting quietly fishing, along came two adult swallows collecting insects for their young. I managed to get some great photos.

I also heard a rustling in the undergrowth opposite. Can you guess what it is?

 A couple of signs seen on route that might make you sit up and say WHAT!!!!!

Most pedestrians would find it difficult to walk at  5 mph! I'm sure children couldn't walk at that speed.

Not sure I have ever seen power lines inside a bridge ole.

The railway bridge with the sign.

And finally our overnight mooring today.


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