Saturday, 12 February 2011

Whittington to Pratts Wharf

It was another cold and frosty morning on Tuesday 8th February ...
... as I took this picture at 07:30. We'd  been moored at Whittington for 4 days and it was good to be on the move again.
We set off at about 09:15 - long way to go today .... Meg has seen us and wonders why Geoff hasn't stopped!
There's Geoff and Meg waiting for us to pass - isn't she lovely - Meg that is! (sorry Geoff)
The sandstone walls bear down on us.
Austcliffe Holiday Home Park - the train will be along at any moment now!
A few unusual boat names along this stretch - I particularly liked this one...

... and this made me smile ...
Hubby George tells me that this is Elvish for Gandalf
Although the sun is shining it's still a bit chilly - Molly hunkers down into her sheepskin on the top of the back hatch as she watches the world slide by her.
Approaching Cookley Tunnel - all 65 yards of it.  The village lies atop the tunnel.
Debdale Lock - spaces hewn into the sandstone perhaps to give room for boat crews?
and a storage room? There is also a space cut to allow the beams to swing (couldn't get that picture as I was too busy guiding RnR through - what's that you say - thank goodness for that!)
A beautifully renovated lock house here too ...
... and yet another of those pretty wiers.
The sandstone cliff still lines the canal.
There appears to have been a land slip at Wolverley Forge Bridge
St John the Baptist Church on the top of the hill at Wolverley
The Old Smithy Tea Rooms beside Wolverley Lock
By the time we arrived here we were becoming very frustrated with all the debris we were picking up around the propeller and under the stern from last nights gusting winds (60 miles per hour in some places)
We stopped and George went into the weed hatch to see feel if there was anything around the prop ...
... this was all that he found ...
... so he put the hatch back together again - the gates here are very leaky, you can see how far we have gone down into the lock chamber in just 10 minutes or so ...
... and off we set again - but clearing that small length of string had made no difference at all, there appears to be a stout stick at an angle under the stern preventing any effectual forward motion - a lot of reverse and forward thrust eventually got rid of whatever it was and we were able to get on our way.
Approaching Kidderminster there are lots of signs of its past industrial heritage.
We stopped a while to shop at Sainsbury's where their operatives were clearing the scrub along the canal wall.
NB Rock n Roll cruising past the imposing St Mary's and All Saints Church, Kidderminster - but we soon came to a halt again - BW were doing emergency repairs at the lock. Apparently a boater the night before had been unable to close one of the sluices and rather that leave it open and waste water had forced it closed and bent the sluice gate and rod, the incident wasn't reported until this morning.
A very kind BW operative took these pictures for me (I don't do heights!) Here you can see the gate sluice and the one of the side sluices...
... and the other side one - I was intrigued by the cobbled floor and what is that hatch way for in the lower right of the picture I wonder? Anyone know?
the plant holding the water back from in front of the top lock gates.
The bent sluice gate ...
... and the new one - they're waiting for the rod to be bought back from Greensforge where it's being heated up to straighten it - they think that they will take another couple of hours before we can lock through.
In the meantime I reversed Rock n Roll back to the visitor mooring below the parish church and Seyella comes in behind us.
I took a walk up to the church but unfortunately it was closed - I'm not sure which church this spire belongs to, but it is very ornate - it may be Baxter United Reform Church
Kidderminster Cenotaph 
The stained glass windows look interesting - I wish the church had been open.
above the main entrance. 
crocus' in the church yard ...
.... and pansies ...  
I remember when our daughter was a young teenager and listening to us talk with friends about the past - and she announced ' was that when men were men and pansies were flowers?' We were speechless!
all things bright and beautiful comes to mind
Looking over the wall down at the lock it looks as if the work is progressing
in less that an hour we were on our way through Kidderminster Lock - the traffic here is very busy
Geoff on the left and hubby George wave me through - very kind aren't they!
More evidence of   ...
... Kidderminster's... 
(must be Tesco here)
... industrial past.
Interesting walkway over Caldwall Lock ...
... and peering back through the lock gates as I descend I spy Seyella catching us up
Falling Sands Viaduct ...
... the lock mechanism clearly comes from the BCN ...
... and has a nice old iron fretwork bridge across it ...
... well worn strips on the lock edge ...
... and even much older ones too.
Meg - her best sit as we pass!
still lots of debris in the canal - got to keep your wits about you to miss the submerged branches
A peaceful stretch ...
... and another obstacle in the water as we approach Pratts Wharf.
We put in the pins a mile or so further on between bridges 10 and 9 Bullocks Bridge at about 5:30pm - it had been a long and eventful day - thoroughly enjoyable though! 

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