Saturday 17 April 2021


 Today's Canal - Worcester and Birmingham

We awoke to a very bright day with almost clear blue skies. Although the heating had not been working overnight we remained sufficiently comfortable and not overly cold  - apart from bare feet on the floor!

At this stage we were uncertain about what to do to sort the Webasto heater but continued on down towards Worcester. After about half an hour we arrived at the top of the Oddingley flight of locks.

The 'top' lock keeper's cottage is, unusually, alongside the second lock.

Just below the bottom lock is a footbridge. At first sight it looks as if it might carry a right of way footpath but a closer examination shows that the off side has a lockable gate which is only open when the practice rugby pitches are in use. We spotted a lady walking back down the towpath, having said hello when she walked up. She explained that she had dropped her daughter off at the main rugby ground and normally would have stayed to watch, sitting in the stands. However, COVID regulations mean that she could not go inside so she opted for a walk. She had not previously known about the canal but was really taken with it as a place to walk. She said that she probably will not watch her daughter anymore!

We saw two swans' nests today - this one looks really settled. Hope she knows what it will be like when the little ones arrive!

After a lunch break below Blackpole Lock we set off - with Christine making attempts to get through to the boatyard at Lowesmoor Basin. Eventually she was able to speak to an engineer who suggested resetting the Webasto by removing the fuses. This sparked a memory for Mike as we had been shown what to do when we visited the same engineer last year! He remembered the visit. Alas, this strategy did not succeed so we decided to call in at the boatyard, even though it is their changeover day. So we continued down through the two Gregory's Mill Locks.

Fortunately, Richard was able to take a look and proceeded to do much the same as before. Initially he lacked success as much as we had but eventually the system made an attempt to start up. We knew that if the heater stops through lack of fuel it does take some time to pull enough diesel through to start up and to eliminate any airlocks. Gradually, the noises became more encouraging even though it was clear that the internals were suffering from lack of use! Finally, Richard was able to feel some heat coming from the exhaust and after another couple of cycles it ran properly and hot water could be felt in the radiators! At least we know that the heater can run but it does not explain why the problem arises in the first place. After all, even when ostensibly switched off, something consumed almost a tankful of diesel.The marina were lucky that they did not run out completely when they were taking the boat back to its mooring!

It was now five o'clock so we did not feel like completing the remaining two locks down to the main basin so pulled in for the night at a mooring we have used a couple of times before, close to a supermarket. All we have to do now is to find a plan for the next three days!

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