Thursday 5 March 2020


Today's Canal - Worcester and Birmingham

Today was grey throughout and, unlike yesterday, there was a very chilly breeze around but apart from a very few moments it remained dry. Before setting off, Mike walked to a nearby convenience store - they had the required paper (and accepted the token) but no feta cheese.

Shortly after we cast off, a boat came the other way - we have seen about five or six boats on the move each day on this trip.

Ten minutes later we arrived at the first lock of the day.

At Tolladine, the next lock, there was a large lump of weed that had come adrift from the bank and,whilst it looks benign in the photo, became a problem when the top gate was being opened to let the boat out. It was too heavy to lift out so we just managed to push it to one side.

After another short gap we reached the bottom lock of the Offerton flight of six. Immediately we could see that the pound above was very low, perhaps half a metre below normal level. We came lout of the lock very gently but at least did not catch on the cill - being stuck at the point can be rather serious matter especially of the bottom gates leak. Christine walked ahead to make sure that the next lock was ready for the boat to come straight in and Mike drove very gently and was quite pleased that he managed to reach the end without undue incident, just a few humps and bumps along the way. Alas, he rejoiced too soon as there was a particularly shallow part just below the lock, barely a boat length away and, despite several attempts, we were stuck. Christine then went ahead and ran some water down from the second pound and it did not take too much to give us sufficient depth to nudge gently into the lock. Phew!

The pounds became gradually fuller and by the time we were at the penultimate lock all looked normal. There was a CaRT lock lengthsman who had just arrived and we were able to let him know that there was action needed below! He, Graham, was particularly chatty and very keen to tell us all about his dog, a pure bred saluki whose grandmother had been a supreme champion at Crufts!

As it was still a little early for lunch we pressed on for about half an hour and moored at Oddingley, where we planned to visit the ancient church, set on a small knoll just a field away from the canal.

After ;lunch we walked the short distance to the church - we found a gate that gave us a short cut across a small paddock.

The churchyard is still active with several burials in recent years including one highly decorated, remembering a mother who died last August, aged just 30. From the churchyard we could look down towards the canal and keep an eye on the boat.

Inside the church us comparatively small although quite typical of those that served but a tiny community.

We spotted a couple of reminders that when the nearby Hadzor Church closed in 1970, some of its belongings were transferred here when this became their parish church. The lectern bible, as well as a large print prayer book, are inscribed a presented by Richard Holmden Amphlett, one time rector at Hadzor as well as Lord of the Manor. One of his sons, Richard Paul, became a very successful barrister in London and later a Conservative MP for East Worcestershire.

Another item from Hadzor is the small organ. Hadzor Hall dates from the late 18th C and was the seat of the Galton family until the early part of the 20th C. Hadzor Hall was previously owned by the Amphletts but the above Richard ran short of funds and sold it to the Galtons, moving to the nearby much smaller Wychbold Hall.

4.1 Miles - 8 Locks

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