Saturday, 26 September 2015

To Droitwich

Late yesterday Jan managed to convert all those scrumped plums and apples into a delicious plum and apple sponge dessert.  She doesn’t particularly like plum and apple sponge dessert so I guess it will be me who has to force all of it down.


It was an interesting night sky.


“Red sky at night, shepherds delight.  Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning!”

This morning we departed at 8.30 and gently moved down five locks to reach the Black Prince base at Stoke Prior. 


There appears to be another boatyard below Stoke Bottom Lock. 


Is this Pinder & Sons?  The yard is selling diesel (65ppl) and gas. 

It wasn’t until I noticed one of the lock capping stones beside a lock that I realised how big they are.  I assume the weight is required to keep the lock in the ground?


We made a right turn onto the Droitwich Canal at Hanbury Junction and descended the first three locks with the assistance of two CRT volunteer lock keepers.  Where were they when we came down the Tardebigge flight?

IMG_8189There was a plaque on the lower wing wall of the top lock.


Shortly thereafter we passed the entrance to Droitwich Spa Marina where Waiouru appeared to be caught by a strong current coming out of the marina entrance.  A little further on is a staircase lock where we met both a hire boat and CRT working boat coming up.  The CRT crew were able to tell Jan they only had a one foot clearance between the top of their cabin and the roof of the tunnel around the corner.  It was suggested we remove the satellite dome on Waiouru’s roof.  I’ve been meaning to remove the dome as small spots of rust have appeared where the feet on the dome meet the frame on the cabin roof.  So we stayed in the top lock whilst the dome was removed and placed in the cratch.

The middle staircase gates look huge from the bottom chamber.  These lock chambers are made from concrete and appear to be quite modern.


The tunnel is actually a large concrete box culvert under the M5 motorway.


My assumption is the culvert had been constructed prior to the restoration of the Droitwich Canal and the concrete locks have been designed to complement the culvert.  Headroom was in rather short supply and I don’t think the satellite dome would have made it if we’d left it on the roof.

From this point onwards the locks are doubles rather than narrow.  Despite being doubles the gates wouldn’t fully open.  Not that this prevents a narrowboat from using them.  After the two locks there are four locked pedestrian swing bridges to open and close.  Jan was relieved to find one permanently locked in the open position.


The swing bridges are all in Vines Park.  Just beyond them is Netherwich Basin where secure 48 hour floating ‘finger pontoon’ moorings can be found.


There was enough daylight left for me to sand down the satellite dome mounts and give them a first coat of primer.


A first undercoat tomorrow and then some time to explore Droitwich.


Clive said...

Bringing back some ancient memories there, Tom. I was garaged at a boarding school in Droitwich after the war's end and we used to walk down to the then derelict and overgrown canal at the weekends. Much much later my teacher cousin spent a whole summer holiday rebuilding the banks and locks as a volunteer; all credit to him and his colleagues.

Tom and Jan said...

Clive we would agree. Your cousin and his companions have done something they can rightly be proud about!

Ade said...

All very interesting Tom, I spent many an hour looking through this site at all the work that went on credit t the folk as you say.


Peter Lee said...

Glad you got through to Droitwich OK. Yes, there's quite a story about that culvert under the M5. You can read about it in my website about the restoration of the Droitwich canal - the relevant page is here: