Monday, 31 August 2009

Bank Holiday Weekend

Back to the boat for the weekend - not cruising anywhere this time, just doing some spring cleaning and painting and using the boat as a base to travel to the IWA festival at Radcliffe on Soar on Saturday.

We moored overnight at this spot at the foot of the power station in the middle of our trip in June, just before we joined the River Trent. Looks completely different this weekend.

Friday 14th and Saturday 15th August: The end of the Holiday

We shared the Hatton locks on Friday morning with a nice couple who, like us, decided a slap-up lunch at the Cape of Good Hope Pub was well deserved. Said goodbye to our new friends who stayed at the moorings above Cape Locks to spend the afternoon with a brisk bout of indigestion, and went on down through Leamington. There's a new Lidl right by the towpath on the spot that used to be a garden centre (used to be handy for gas cylinders, now handy for cheap but yummy wine - no contest) and I stocked up on all sorts of stuff I didn't know I needed.

Saturday was a leisurely tootle through Bascote and Stockton locks back to the marina.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Lapworth and Lunch

Carried on through the Lapworth flight and stopped once again at the excellent Boot Inn for lunch.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Gas Street Basin

Woke up in the centre of Birmingham this morning on busy but very peaceful moorings at Gas Street. Bit of a wet start to the day but still a wonderfully atmospheric mix of very new and very old. Stopped for a leisurely lunch at Warstock then started the first 3 locks of the Lapworth flight before tying up for the evening.

Black Country Museum and on to Birmingham

Spent a terrific morning at the Black Country Museum. Low-carb diet or not, there was no way I was missing out on the traditional fish & chips fried in proper beef dripping, cooked in the reconstructed 1930s chippie, and judging by the queues neither was anybody else. Travelled through the old, winding route into Birmingham and really enjoyed the contrast between the old and new architecture; the motorway takes its cue from the old canal route and follows the contours of the canal for a long way. It's eerie and surprisingly peaceful in the tangle of canals and roads and the columns that support the motorway above.

Monday 10th August: Compton to Tipton

Through the Wolverhampton 21 flight this morning and on to moor at the Black Country museum; arrived at closing time so tied up for the night to wait for opening time tomorrow.

Sunday 9th August: Bratch Locks

...very, very pretty and lovely weather.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Saturday 8th August: Kinver Rock Houses

Took an excursion away from the canal to visit the very pretty village of Kinver and the refurbished Rock Houses - carved into the sandstone at Kinver Edge a short walk uphill.

Friday 7th August: Worcester to Stourport on the River Severn

Gorgeous 12-mile stretch of river with huge, huge locks, then into the delightful basin at Stourport. Then on through Kidderminster to rural moorings at Wolverley.

Thursday 6 August: Arrived at Worcester

Moored up for the day at lunchtime in Diglis Basin then explored Worcester on foot. Huge amounts of regeneration going on here - it looks pretty good but I wonder what will be left of the history of the basin next time we're here.

Tuesday 4 August: Taaaarghdebigge Flight

Finished the Lapworth locks on Monday and turned left at King's Norton junction to moor at Alvechurch. Tuesday morning in heavy rain saw us working through the Tardebigge flight of 30-odd locks ...

One of the things I love most about the canal is the sense of history. These puddles are the result of about 180-odd years' worth of boat people standing with both feet in exactly the same spots to wind up the paddle gear. Most of them were probably swearing under their breath, same as I was.

The rain eased off and we rewarded ourselves with a gorgeous dinner at the Queen's Head in Stoke Prior.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Hatton Flight and Lapworth Locks

Early start on Sunday morning up the - very busy - Hatton locks. It's a jolly good workout and a cracking bit of canal landscape - the recent bit of canal art is pretty cool, too.

We could quite creditably have tied up for the night at the top of the locks (23 of them - all double - I'm feeling tweaks in muscles I haven't used for a bit) but we carried on through Kingswood Junction and the first of the Lapworth Locks to the very excellent Boot Inn.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Stourport Ring

Caracol has just had her bottom blacked and is looking very smart. We set off on Saturday morning for our trip on the Stourport Ring canals.

First of all we need to get to Birmingham so we worked down Stockton locks in on-off rain to the outskirts of Leamington Spa for the evening. Hatton Locks and Warwick tomorrow! The important thing, travelling through all of these locks, will be to keep as much of the blacking stuck to the hull as possible.