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Summer Cruise 2019

In Uncategorized on November 22, 2019 by netmanianick

DSCF6882I know, I know! But the great thing about writing this cruise up now, is that it is cold, dark and damp outside, and it is great to escape the winter (at least in my mind) by looking back over our adventures during the summer!

Plans for our summer cruise went through many different versions. Originally we intended to complete the Leicester Ring, which we failed to do last year as we enjoyed the Ashby Canal so much. Then we toyed with the idea of going to Llangollen and back – doable, but this would require quite a few very long days. Then Rob and Lindsay said that they wouldn’t be able to come along anyway, so it was back to the drawing board.

In the last few days before we set off, we settled on the trip down to Stourport on Severn as being very pleasant and relaxing.

On the night before departure Rob and Lindsay found that they could join us after all, and we arranged to meet at the marina the following afternoon. As usual our loading took much longer than planned, with water, diesel and pump-out needing to be attended to, as well as the repeated trips between car and boat to load our provisions. The service wharf at the marina was busy, so I decided to chance getting the pump out and diesel at the Anglo Welsh boatyard instead. I sent Rob a text to say that we would meet them at Tixall Wide, and we set off.

With the servicing now completed we made our way to the Wide, and found a good mooring spot for the night. Lindsay had been held up at work, so they wouldn’t begin their trip until the morning.

The next morning we were up and ready to go, so we set off through the picturesque Tixall Lock, and wound our way through Milford. Soon we were passing the Stafford Boat Club, and then climbing Deptmore Lock, to head through Acton Trussell.

img_0876-1At the next lock it started to drizzle a bit, but we pressed on through Park Gate Lock and carried on towards Penkridge. Filance Lock delayed us a long time. There was a boat ahead of us in the lock, and they seemed to be taking an age. The problem was that the bottom gates were leaking so badly, that if you closed one of the top paddles before opening the gate the level dropped so quickly that it became impossible. Even with both top paddles open the gate needed a couple of nudges to get the last half inch to fill. Eventually it was our turn, and just as we drove into the lock the heavens opened. By the time we reached the top we were both completely drenched, so we tied up at the first available spot and went inside to dry out. As soon as we went inside the sun came out, and stayed out for the rest of the day.

Rob and Lindsay caught us up in Lakeland Belle, and we enjoyed a nice meal together that evening.

The sun was shining for day 3 and we deliberately planned some short days. Today we were aiming for Coven Heath, and we completed the climb up to Gailey without incident. With the water topped up and the rubbish disposed of we had a pleasant day’s cruise across the 10 mile summit pound. We found a shady spot to moor for the night, and all agreed that it had been a very relaxing day.

DSCF6875The next day we wanted to get to Compton, where we hoped to stop at the superb Italian Restaurant by the canal. This looked to be an easy plan to achieve, and it would have been if we hadn’t picked up a whole duvet around our propellor just outside the Wildside Activity Centre in Wolverhampton. It took me nearly two hours to cut it free using just about every sharp object I could lay my hands on!

Arriving at Compton Lock there was something of a queue, and so we were delayed again by a further hour, and then the visitor moorings were completely full, so we scrapped the dinner plans and continued on to Whitwick, where we found a couple of spaces out in the countryside.

In keeping with the plan for gentle days we headed for the Bratch for our next overnight stop. There were plenty of boats on the move, so we found that we didn’t have to wait long at any one lock, there was usually someone coming up through it so that we could drive straight in. We could then leave the bottom gates open ready for the next boat to come up.

We tied up opposite the cricket pitch, which is a lovely place to be, although there is a small risk of stray cricket balls coming to visit!

The following day was drizzly, and we needed to go a bit further as we needed water and waste disposal. The next facilities were at Greensforge, so we set off early to descend the Bratch, conveniently disposing of the waterlogged duvet from the prop in the bins by the bottom lock.

A pause at Wombourne enabled the cupboards to be restocked, and we arrived at Greensforge a little damp, but certainly not dispirited. We moored below the lock in a cutting so it seemed quite dark and gloomy.

DSCF6879The following day we stopped for lunch at Stourton Junction, and then carried on down to Kinver where we were able to visit the excellent butcher’s shop for some delicious steaks for tea. Kinver is a delightful place to visit, and one day I aim to stop a while longer to explore the rock houses.

We decided to complete the run to Stourport in one day, with a pause at the supermarket in Kidderminster, and moored for the night outside the Bird In Hand pub. On previous visits they have served some excellent meals, but on this occasion it was disappointing to say the least.

DSCF6902The following morning we pulled down on to the moorings near Lidl, and Rob and I went for an explore in the basins, stopping for a much needed pint! I do enjoy Stourport as there is so much going on!

With a day mostly devoted to lounging around, we started to consider the return trip, and realised that we would need to put in some longer days if we were to make it back to Great Haywood by the end of the holiday.

DSCF6889With this in mind we serviced the boats in the basin at Stourport and began the climb back up towards Kinver. Clearly City of Durham didn’t want to leave, as the engine cut out as I entered the lock. The overheating warning light was on. We roped the boat through the lock and onto the mooring outside, and I took the deck boards up for a look. All the hoses seemed intact, so I topped up the coolant and crossed my fingers. The boat started, and then ran fine for the rest of the trip.

We made it to Kinver for our first stop on the return trip, and again visited the town for supplies. I also managed to pick up a pump out token which I planned to use in the service block the next morning. When we arrived at the service block, I found that there was still credit on the machine, so didn’t need to use my token.

58265506526__6B7D2FD6-DA13-4DBC-A002-AD8B919DD683Day two was a harder day with 12 locks to get us to the bottom of the Bratch, but the payoff was that the following day we were able to stop in Compton for our delayed Italian meal – and very good it was too!

Day 4 saw us crossing the 10 mile summit pound from Compton to Gailey, the only delay being a long wait at the narrows at Pendeford Rockin’ for a convoy of boats to come through from the other side. We watered up at Gailey, and then descended the top lock for the night.

The following morning we headed back to Great Haywood, stopping only at Acton Trussell for some lunch. With the light fading we pulled onto our berth and then began the unpleasant task of packing and setting off for home.

Miles: 94

Locks: 82

Hours: 55

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