Monday 11 April 2022


Today's Canal - Worcester and Birmingham

With the long Tardebigge flight immediately ahead of us, we set off in good time, arriving at the bottom lock by 9:23

We quickly settled into a rhythm with a satisfying efficiency. Ahead of us was the single hander we came up behind yesterday - he passed by soon after 7 this morning. After just over an hour we had caught him up and he generously pulled in to allow us to overtake.

Near Lock 39 is one of several former lock cottages, now in private hands. The occupants of this one has long had a giant array of radio masts - wonder who they find to talk to these days?

A few more locks and there is a small car park mainly used by volunteer lock keepers. They appear to have a shiny new 'welfare' cabin - perhaps it is hired in for the season. Alas, it was not in use today - the single hander will be disappointed as he had been hoping for a bit of help. After about the mid point of the flight he was rewarded by the only vollie on hand today. On this occasion this assistance made a real difference, bringing the single hander up at much the same pace as we were making.

We the reservoir is reached you know that you are nearing the top of the flight. By now the wind had picked up and blew quite strongly across the open water.

Reservoir Lock is number 53 and the right hand bottom ghate  as a standard number plate. However, the balance beam of the other gate is inscribed No 11. We wondered what has been the history of this beam. It certainly look fairly venerable.

By the time we arrived at the top of the flight we were so keen on mooring up for lunch that we forget entirely to take any pictures of the arrival. However, our GPS log indicates that we exited the lock at 3 hours and 35 minutes after entering the bottom lock and that we completed the main 29 locks (that are all close together) at an average of just under 7 minutes apiece.

After lunch we crossed over to the service point and did the usual range of tasks. We then set off into the entrance to Tardebigge Tunnel.

Just beyond is a former wharf which is now home to one of Angle Welsh hire bases. It looked as if all their boats are out apart from one that was in the midst of an initial handover.

Across an open field it is just possible to make out HMP Hewell. This prison has had the dubious distinction of a succession of damning inspection reports and part has been closed as a result.

We had a slight delate at the ABC Alvechuch Marina whilst a boat was craned out onto a hard standing.

Just before we passed under the M42 motorway is what looks as if it were once an arm, perhaps to some long forgotten works. However not so - this was once the main line but a new section was constructed to avoid too steep a gradient on the road. We looked very closely but could not make out just where it originally re-joined.

Some significant restoration work is being done to the house at the point where the Bittell Reservoir feeder joins the main canal. We assume that was originally a cottage for the company employee responsible for monitoring and maintaining the feeder weed free.

By now we were looking for a mooring for the night - we did not want to go through Wast Hill Tunnel tonight as we know that there is  little good mooring for some distance afterwards. We went through Redditch Road Bridge 67, banking on there being space at the official 2 Day Visitor Mooring in the distance beyond. We were fortunate as plenty of room and good mooring rings as well!

7.9 Miles - 30 Locks

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