Saturday, 30 September 2017

Back on the canals

Monday and Tuesday 26th and 27th September; Worcester to Blackpole

There was a little group of fishermen nearby overnight, but they assured Dave they would be quiet and they were.  They had gone by the time we got up.  We let Meg out first thing, just before It started to drizzle.  The forecast was horrible so we had another cuppa as the rain set in, then Dave decided to bite the bullet and take Meg out – full wet weathers and golfing umbrella too.  Luckily he is over the worst of his cold or that would have been me!  I enjoyed my coffee, read and watched the rain teeming down.

The rain eased off over lunchtime but it was cloudy and humid.  NB Cockney Sparra, which we had seen in Birmingham, moored up behind us and we had a quick chat before setting off to return to the canal.

1 moored with cockney sparra near sabrina footbridge

There is a large number of swans round here – mooring and fishing are forbidden beyond the end of the moorings for the sake of the swans.  We did a rough count and estimated there were about 200, far too spread out for a single photo.

3 swans

The cathedral is visible all the way to the canal entrance.

4 cathedral tower

We stopped at the sanitary station before mooring.  We had decided to stop between the basin and Sidbury lock, as we thought it would be quieter than at the Commandery.  Last time we were in Worcester, Dave discovered Fort Royal park, not far from the Commandery, so we went there to give Meg another run.  During the Civil War, it was a strongly fortified Royalist position overlooking the city.  The young Charles Stuart – a mere 21 – had been watching the battle from the tower of the cathedral before leading an attack on the Parliamentary forces.  But his forces were beaten back and Cromwell gave the order to attack Fort Royal.  The surviving Royalists fled into the city and Cromwell took no prisoners.  It was the decisive battle at the end of the Civil War.

Now, apart from the interpretation boards and a replica cannon, there is little to see – apart from a lovely and well patronised park.  It is easy to appreciate the defensive position it must have been.  The slopes are steep and the views far-reaching across the Severn floodplain.

9 fort royal park

We had thought that our mooring, below the busy roads, would have been quiet.  We are at the end furthest from the basin.  Look ok, doesn’t it?  The building site was quiet by 5.30 and the factories above us had closed down by early evening.

10 mooring at diglis

Except that they didn’t fall silent.  An extractor fan kept cutting in overnight.  We will not moor here again if we can avoid it; the spots closer to the basin are much better, and they are nearer to the Anchor, where we enjoyed an excellent Thai green curry on Monday night.

We needed to be up early on Tuesday but that was not a problem!  Dave left at 7.15 to walk up to Shrub Hill station to travel to Nuneaton and Springwood Haven marina, to fetch the car and take it to Droitwich Spa marina where we have a winter mooring.  Meg and I had an early walk down to the Severn towards DIglis lock in the mist.

1 misty morning on the severn

Looking upstream towards the cathedral, with the signpost at the start of the canal in the foreground.

I went shopping to try and find a butcher (pre-packs only, too large for us), a greengrocer (ok) and a baker (bread not that wonderful).  Edward Elgar has turned his back on the city centre and is contemplating the cathedral, where his music was performed at the Three Choirs festival which this year took place in Worcester Cathedral.

3 elgar looking towards cathedral

Dave was back in time for lunch, then we got ourselves off that noisy mooring.  It took ages to get through Sidbury lock as only one top paddle is working.  This notice annoyed me with its poor grammar and proofreading.  It was tied over a flimsy bin bag with a bit of cord, with another length of cord on the ground, plenty large enough to cause problems if it got round your prop.  That went into the well deck for later disposal.

2 notice on broken paddle sidbury lock

There is a stoppage notice for repair on the morning of Friday 6th.  The Commandery mooring is plagued by road noise so we didn’t stop there, and moored briefly at bridge 5 for a quick Asda visit.  The water level was rather low and the rocks below the water made mooring awkward.  This seemed odd when the hire boat we met next, which had come down Tardebigge this morning, said that levels there were very high with water flooding over the bottom gates on the flight.

The sun was out and we had a pleasant cruise up through Gregory’s Mill and Bilford locks before mooring just before bridge 17 in the Blackpole area. Dave and Meg discovered excellent walks over the bridge in Perdiswell Park.

3½ miles and 8 locks over two days.

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