Friday, 31 August 2012

Back to the not so peaceful Severn.

Our stay over in Droitwich was delightful and if we had not wanted to get Emma back to Worcester we would have stayed over a day.  The surroundings of the moorings in the basin are good, plenty of park area for Barney once out of the security gates.  There is rubbish disposal and water available but sadly no Elsan point.  The town itself is lovely, a mixture of old and modern and all very clean and with two supermarkets, Morrisons and Waitrose.  The whole air of the place is of a pleasant place to live (unlike Kidderminster a few days ago).  The people of the town must have been so excited when the canal finally opened last year.  What a fantastic job achieved by the restoration Trust.  However would we do it again........the answer has to be `No`.   Both the junction Canal from the Birmingham & Worcester to Droitwich and the Barge Canal from Droitwich back to the Severn have their banks lined with reeds for 90% of the length.  Nothing to see and difficult when you meet another boat.  Apart from the basin at Droitwich (48 hours) there is nowhere else to moor.   The locks are generally in good condition although a lot of the paddles are very stiff.  The fact that we would not repeat the experience should not be taken negatively, it should definitely be done once.
Reversing out of our mooring (plenty of space available)
carefully avoiding the concrete obstruction
Today dawned bright but we had had a lot of rain since leaving the Severn so decided a phone call to the Bevere Lock was prudent.  At 8.30 they were still assessing the conditions so we decided to do our shopping and have a leisurely morning.  at 11.30 we were told it was in the amber but the lock was open so OK with caution so off we set.
 After about 3 miles there are 5 locks close together which the crew walked.   
At the first of these locks there was a delightful gentlemen leaning out of his cottage overlooking the lock who was drinking his mid-day aperitif!!!  He told us that he used to have a narrowboat and in the days when the canal was in disuse he kept it in the lock and used to use it to go up to Droitwich to shop.....obviously some parts were in water....or the whisky was talking.....
Emma found a shy friend hiding behind the hedge
Last but one lock before the Severn
Good job the crew were walking to the last lock as the waiting pontoons were flooded
Between the last two locks we met the green algae for the first time, was that the lack of reeds??
and so back to the Severn

We could immediately see a difference in the flow from when we left on Tuesday so in no time at all we were at Bevere Lock.  We had phoned ahead and been told that one boat was in the lock coming upstream but he should be clear and the lock open for us.  No problems here and then a very speedy run down to Gloucester with the flow.   We decided against the moorings at the race course as the water looked higher and we didn't want to be there if there was more rain and the level rose even more....chicken we are!
We decided to go for the safety of Diglis Basin.    This meant two  more big locks (manual), an exciting turn across the stream to the lock waiting pontoon (lots of wellie) and then even more wellie and adrenelin to make the turn into the lock.........but all achieved without a bump....well not much of one anyway...I did come into the pontoon quite quickly.   Once up and moored I was taken to the pub for a medicinal drink.   
In the evening we tried the American Diner, Detroits, which we found very acceptable.   The food and service were good, it was a little different and the music, which I initially quailed at when we went in, was very good...our sort of era....50's/60's Rock & Roll.
10.27 miles, 11 locks, 5 hours 13 min

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