Monday, 8 September 2014

Easy trip to Shirley and on to Birmingham

Thursday 4th and Friday 5th September

As we set off on Thursday morning to continue the Lapworth flight the sun came out and three CRT volunteers appeared at the first lock!    The autumn colours are beginning to show.

1 early autumn colour lapworth flight

We were up the first 9 locks in an hour.  We love volunteers.

2 volunteers lapworth locks

We left them at the top of the flight, then met two boats coming down the last four locks, so had an easy day.  One of the drawbridges was very hard work though.  We cracked on to Hockley Heath, where we stopped for lunch and some shopping – and a gawp  at the Maserati garage (F1 is the most unnecessary waste of fossil fuels I can think of off-hand).

4 dave and maserati

I have included the second photo because I like the reflection of the pub opposite!

5 maserati and reflections

We saw a kingfisher on our journey to Shirley, where we stopped near the winding hole before the railway bridge.  Quiet and sunny but with plenty of dog walkers and runners to keep it interesting.  Dave touched up the rubbing strake now we’ve done all the locks for a few days and was complimented on his shiny boat! (he has finished the pre-winter wax now).  I made a cake, picked some blackberries for a crumble and went off for a run.  A cruiser had just passed us and was at the Shirley Drawbridge – and when I came back it was still there, the owner now with a pint on the control box as he apologised to motorists and waited for the engineer.  (For those who don’t know it, the Drawbridge is also the name of the pub by the bridge).  The bridge had failed with the barrier and bridge both down, so no good for anyone.  Lucky that cruiser came along, or that would have been us in the morning!  When Dave took Meg out later in the evening everything was back to normal again.

7 and a half miles, 13 locks, 2 manual lift bridges

On Friday we set off around 10. The drawbridge worked fine, although the key was very stiff.  We stopped for water at bridge 5 – the pressure was excellent.  There was the shell of a burnt-out cruiser shortly after Lyons Boatyard.

2 burnt out boat

Through the Brandwood Tunnel with Shakespeare watching the proceedings on the western portal;

3 shakespeare on brandwood tunnel

and under the guillotines at the stop lock.  We came through just after it had all been restored a few years ago and it was in lovely condition – look at it now, why do they do it?

4 guillotine graffiti

But we enjoyed this – Gaz was obviously not there quite long enough!  Perhaps he dropped his spraycan – or even fell in?

5 funny graffiti

We stopped at Selly Oak for lunch and a stock-up in Sainsbury’s, before coming into the city centre past Gas Street basin and the Worcester Bar.

8 worcester bar

We moored on the Main Line opposite the National Indoor Arena on the Sea Life Centre side, which has a quieter towpath than the other side.  We ate on board, and went for a stroll round to have a look at the new library, which we plan to visit tomorrow.  Everywhere was crowded with revellers out for a good time, especially round Brindleyplace. We ended up outside the bar opposite Gas St basin where we had a drink and watched the high heels teetering by.

10 and a half miles 1 electric bridge

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