It took us an exhausting 3 hours 10 minutes to complete the 29 out of 30 locks of Tardebigge flight. ( went through the top lock last night so didn't count that.) First few locks were with us but then lock after lock had to be turned round. We passed several boats going up the flight but still the locks had emptied in front of us and had to be filled. This led us into thinking there must be a boat going down. No sign of anyone on the flight so we can only put it down to lock leakage. Found out why lock 53 had to be closed due to too much water. The reservoir feeds into the canal at this point as shown in the picture.
I can imagine the pound unable to cope with the amount of water that was cascading down due to the floods.
At one of the locks was this lovely unique bird feeding station, and then below the lock a house with a seriously amount of aerials.
It must have been at this point I took over from Ian. He looked pretty shattered and as we had a great system worked out that involved me closing the top gate after me, lifting the bottom gate paddles, and then high tailing it back to the boat before it dropped down to much. In the meantime Ian walked on to get the next lock ready before coming back to let me out. It does mean that one would walk twice the amount but its so much quicker then waiting to let the boat out before setting the next. As it was my turn to do the locks, and as Ian always jumps across the open gate, I thought I would be brave and give it a go. Ian snapped this picture in the hopes, no doubt, of me falling in!!!. After a slight hesitation I jumped across without any trouble and continued to do so down the flight.
Once we reached Tardibigge bottom lock we stopped for a spot of lunch before tackling the next 6 locks at Stoke flight.We had hoped to stop before doing Astwood flight but no good mooring spots came to light so we pushed on to where we had been told of good moorings after lock 19. Just something to make a note of if you are thinking of doing Astwood flight. The lock landing before the top lock has almost disintegrated, with the majority of the concrete hidden beneath the water. Getting to the side is very difficult so it would be easier if the crew got off at bridge 41, leaving you to sit in the middle while waiting for the lock to be got ready.
We had hoped to make a trip down the Droitwich tomorrow. Ian measured our air draft at 1.8mtrs with top boxes left on. We know that the maximum height under the M5 culvert is about 1.9mtrs so we should make it through. Only problem is the river Salwarp. If that rises we may as well forget it. More rain is forecast for next week so I think we may well carry on to Worcester instead.
|Moorings between lock 19 & 18. The rings here can only accommodate 1 or 2 boats depending on size.|