Tuesday and Wednesday 18th and 19th July; Kings Norton to Alvechurch Marina
I don’t know what it’s like at the weekend, but for a Monday night this mooring turned out to be delightful. Early dog walkers started passing before 7, but from 11 last night there was not a sound apart from birds as it grew light. This must be Meg’s mooring of the year. Acres to play in.
The spire of King’s Norton church rises behind the trees in the distance. Meg had a good walk before we left, and a play with one of her many balls, as we will be in the marina this afternoon which is not so much fun for her.
We usually seem to move off at about 9 and today was no exception. The information board at the Wast Hill tunnel portal suggests a transit time of 50 minutes, but as the tunnel is double width it’s normally much quicker than that unless there are a lot of boats coming the other way. We made it through in 33 minutes, passing just one boat.
Hopwood was almost deserted, so we could have come through the tunnel last night, but Meg reckons we made the right decision to stay where we did. The only sign of life was this CRT chap who appeared to have made a specific trip to check on an unattended boat moored way up closer to the tunnel.
Apart from a wait near the Bittel reservoir for a boat to extract itself from the trees by the bridge on the bend, we had an uneventful trip to Alvechurch. There are some lovely properties along here. Idyllic apart from the M42 across the fields.
A new marina to be known as Withybed is being built not far from Alvechurch. As at the one being constructed on the North Stratford there is a lot of red earth and some equipment but we saw no activity at either site.
After a stop for a cup of tea on the visitor moorings we moved through the bridge to the marina wharf. Dave went in to the office to sort out our temporary mooring and was able to get a good deal on fuel. The wind had got up of course, so it was a bit awkward reversing into our berth. As the marina is online, and the pontoons are at 90° to the canal, they have to be quite short otherwise longer boats would not be able to get in or out. There are stout metal poles to tie your centre rope to.
After lunch Dave strolled over the bridge to the station to travel to Droitwich Spa and fetch the car, which didn’t take too long. The weather turned very hot and humid while we got on with the various end-of-trip tasks. Dave checked the weed hatch and removed a quantity of string and rope along with the inevitable torn plastic we must have picked up yesterday. For tea we had fish and chips from the chippy in the village.
There was a torrential shower overnight, with the hail hammering on the hatch and pinging off the mushrooms. Luckily the morning was dry and we had an easy run home.
We should be back again in early August – destination unknown as yet.
6 miles, Wast Hill tunnel.
Trip stats; Droitwich Spa marina to Alvechurch marina
17 cruising days, 102 miles 2¾ furlongs, 92 locks.
This was made up of 41½ miles of narrow canal, 1¼ furlongs broad canal, 44 miles 5½ furlongs small rivers, 16 miles large rivers, 72 narrow locks, 19 broad locks, 1 large lock (Diglis). 3 tunnels (Dunhampstead, Brandwood and Wast Hill), 1 major aqueduct (Edstone) and 4 smaller ones including Wootton Wawen and Yarningale. 3 lift/draw bridges.
The rivers are the Severn and the Avon, and the narrow canals are the Droitwich Junction canal, the North and South Stratford canals and the Worcester and Birmingham. The little bit of broad canal is the Worcester end of the W&B.