Sunday 18 April 2021

Back to the Marina

 Today's Navigations - Worcester and Birmingham, River Severn, Droitwich

The day was another sunny day.

Today's sort-of plan had been to join a streamed service from our new parish (Bishops Cannings), on down to Worcester, hopefully our onto the river and upstream to Hawford Junction to join the Droitwich at its southern end. With luck we would find a mooring soon after and have a lazy afternoon. But this is a shakedown cruise to discover problems. Se had hoped by last night that we had covered all of the bases - the heating started OK this morning although there was something wrong with the controller settings so it did not come on early. 

The service was at 9.30 and one of the consequences of this aspect of the pandemic is that we can attend from wherever there is a phone signal! We id not stay for the remote coffee morning as we wanted to get underway. It was another splendid day although at first somewhat cooler than the forecast had suggested.

As we were having breakfast, we spotted nb Harnser pass by going upstream but by the time we had seen them it was too late to pop out and wave. So: Hi!

There are two locks before the basin at the River Severn junction. At the first, Blockhouse, the back pumps were in full flow.

At the service point in the basin filled with water and made the usual disposals. Christine went ahead to check that the river levels was safe which indeed it was, conformed also by a friendly CaRT lock keeper who also helped us through the two large locks. A boat was waiting on the river below the locks wanting to come up so they also helped by doing the lower lock bottom gate which was very helpful as a turn upstream is complicated by there being only a lock landing downstream.

There are many interesting buildings alongside the river in Worcester- both old and new.

We had a good run upstream in sunshine as the day gradually warmed up. Alongside what has previously seemed to be an abandoned small basin through a towpath bridge, two new bungalows are being constructed  - "with great waterside views". Inside the basin seems to a floating structure - also very modern.

Not noticed this house at Hallow before. Such splendid chimneys!

The lock keeper at Bevere set the lock and opened the gates as we arrived and smoothly raised up to the next higher level.

It was only a few minutes further to Hawford Junction. We rather cheekily opted to stay on the lock waiting pontoon (not the lock landing however) to have lunch. At this point Christine discovered that the leisure batteries did not seem to be charging. Mike checked the fan belt (the most obvious cause) but that appeared fine so we were rather non-plussed, especially as the engine control panel was not showing a warning. Clearly time for lunch!

We came to the conclusion that a swift return to the marina was the safest option as we could easily have a flat battery by morning. We estimated that if we pushed on as efficiently as we could then we might be on our mooring by 7.30, with still half an hour of daylight to spare.

We were helped that a CaRT person (volunteer?) walked ahead of us up the Ladywood flight and set the locks for us. This save at  least five minutes for each of four or five locks!

We reached Netherwich Basin at 5.30, exactly as out schedule indicated, with another 90 minutes to go. For most of today it was very noticeable that people were interacting much less than normal -especially those with children. So it was a special delight that a father an son were especially keen to help with the lock and swing bridge at Vines Park. They also seemed very pleased with the experience so let's hope that much more of that will return sooner rather than later but we guess that it might take some time for social interactions to return to what they were a couple of years ago.

We made swift progress through the last four locks - now narrow ones - so that we turned into the marina almost on the expected 7pm! With no wind this evening our turn onto our mooring pontoon was easier than it can be. It was with relief that when we connected up to the mains everything else, apart from the charging, seemed gto be working well. At least we could watch television tonight! (Priorities, my dear, priorities!)

12.0 Miles - 19 Locks

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