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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.

Monday, 2 July 2012

More decisions then we knew what to do with!

Having moored between 2 locks last night, I suppose we should have realised that the pound may drop. This morning we awoke to the boat listing and the sound of a paddle being raised. Looking out of the window expecting a boat to appear, we saw instead the lady from the lock cottage filling the lock. Then as soon as it was full she emptied it again. This meant we had to refill the lock for us to descend. What a waste of water!!! We never did find out the reason. Water levels below the lock were normal so maybe it's her morning ritual! Mind you she does look after the cottage and garden. It is a sight to behold and she must have worked hard to keep it that way.

It took us all of 1 hour to get to Hanbury Junction. We needed to find a shop to stock up on a few of the essentials, so made the decision to moor and walk to Droitwich 1.5 mile away. Just about to leave the boat when the heavens opened, so another decision made, wait till it stops. Only trouble, it didn't stop. By the time we said 'sod it we may as well go anyway', we gets a phone call from Ian's brother Alan and sister in law Angela who just happened to be in the area. So..... yet another decision made, lets all meet at the pub for lunch. I must say the  welcome we got at the Eagle & Sun was second to none. All the tables were laid to a high standard and the proprietor escorted us to our table, sorted out drinks and recommended which food, in her opinion, we should try. Started to worry that this may cost us a fortune but the total bill, including drinks, came to £36. Three of us feasted on delicious home made lasagne, proper chips and salad and Ian chose their own home made Droitwich Pork & Ale sausage, mash and veg. The beer is not up to much, not to Ian's liking,  but, as it has now became a free house, they will soon be serving a selection of real ale. One to return to in the future.

Once Alan and Angela had left we made the decision again to walk to Droitwich. It was still raining but armed with brolly, raincoat, boots and Jade and with shopping list tucked in my pocket set of for the walk down the towpath. Last year we attended the official opening of the Droitwich Canal but came to Vines park up the Barge canal from the river Severn. This part was all new to us and we were very impressed with the locks, built to a very high standard . Not so impressive was the narrow channel formed by all the water reeds. Reminded me of Aylesbury Arm and The Ditch on Savick Brook, off from the Ribble

Looking from Hanbury Junction onto the Droitwich Junction Canal

The reeds are beginning to take over. In the far right hand corner and to the right of the bridge 'ole is the entrance to the new Droitwich Spa Marina.
Droitwich Spa Marina. So far only a few boats have taken up berths.

Staircase locks

The gauge on the River Stalwart shows the river to be at normal levels.

Wondering whether to go down by boat to Vines Park was dependent on the water levels. It was the M5 culvert that was the problem but looking at the gauge on the lockside we made a yet a fifth decision  and that was to attempt to go down today.

Then there was another decision to be made, should we go back to the boat now or carry on to see if there were any moorings available on Vine Park pontoons. We tossed a coin and carried on. At this point we had to leave the towpath and join the road, eventually rejoining the path about 300yds further on. Then we came across mud. Loads of it. Thankfully with our boots on we could get through but not before growing a few inches with the clay stuck to our soles.

We know!!!!!
Vine park had several vacant moorings so we set off walking back along the road to bypass the mud,  past a huge Waitrose store which we should have stopped at to get our groceries and ( yes you've guessed it, ) 'decided' to shop once we arrived at the park by boat to save carrying the groceries a mile and a half back. It must have been gone 4 pm by the time we arrived at the boat. Then the thought of doing all those locks in the rain, which was still coming down in torrents, made us think again and we have now absolutely and finally decided to go to Droitwich tomorrow. Just one teensy weeny problem. We now have nothing for tea tonight because we didn't stop to get our shopping at Waitrose!!!!

To the left, Worcester. To the right, Droitwich. Decisions, Decisions!!!

Tonight's mooring.


Anonymous said...

Hi heading into Birmingham tomorrow we are on the Fazeley and Birmingham any advice on moorings in Birmingham would be appreciated


NB Shell Bell

Jo (Boatwoman) said...

Ohhh those photographs bring back wonderful memories of the reopening of the Droitwich last year, we all had such a fantastic time. Have a great time whilst your there. xx

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Norwyn'

We have found that the moorings around Sherbourne Wharf are generally quite safe. On the Ozell's Loop there are 48hr moorings that are patrolled by a local security guy. Alternatively on the Main Line by Old Turn there are 48hr moorings opposite the NIA and beyond Sheepcotes Bridge there are 14 day moorings. Those by the apartments are covered by security cameras. Hope this helps, and have a good stay.

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