Thursday 26th October; Dunhampstead to Blackpole
We weren’t intending to go very far so didn’t slip our moorings till nearly 10. The morning was very dull and overcast with damp in the air, though for a little while the sun almost managed to get through the cloud. Some of the bridges along here have netting covering some kind of rough-cast over the brickwork, we assume to stop bits dropping on boats and walkers. The white spots are the attachment points.
We stopped in Tibberton to get the paper from the little shop. It takes me about 15 minutes there and back, so Dave started cleaning the brasses. But the cloud had thickened and it started to drizzle so that didn’t last long! but by the time the tea was made it was dry once more, so we carried on towards Offerton locks.
At the top lock a boat was just leaving but the elderly gentleman we assumed was waiting to come up was just there to help! I think he must live in the cottage by the second lock. He said when the volunteers aren’t there he liked to help with the top two locks and had seen four or five boats already this morning. We met a hire boat near the bottom of the flight who confirmed there are lots of boats about - they had arrived in Worcester from the river after 5 o’clock yesterday and been unable to moor until they got to Asda at bridge 5.
We stopped for lunch below Offerton bottom lock. There are some bits of cut reed floating around, not apparently very much but every time we stopped there was a clump of the stuff on the bow. Yesterday Dave had to pull a load off the prop when we stopped for the day. The chap at Offerton locks said a gang had been clearing reeds and were currently down nearer to Worcester. But we didn’t see many places that showed signs of work.
We moored for the night a couple of locks further on at Blackpole (bridge 17) at about 2.30. We went through Blackpole lock, which is being prepared for work; the stoppage isn’t till 6th November but they have already removed most of the coping stones on the towpath side.
It seems a bit premature as the earth is exposed; wouldn’t lock operation cause erosion? There is bound to be some turbulence when the lock fills, and then some earth would doubtless be carried away as the level falls when it is emptied.
They are also repairing the bits where your feet go when you are opening or closing gates. I’m sure there is a proper name for this bit of a lock but I don’t know it. The bricks are laid, and cut to shape where necessary, but not yet mortared into place.
We are moored by the access point to the lovely Perdiswell Park. By the time we had got onto the bridge Meg was waiting in the park entrance for us to catch up. She remembers all the good walking places even though she’s only been there once or twice. It’s a beautiful park especially with the autumn colours.
Then it was back to the boat to finish the brasses and have a cosy evening in.
Just over 4 miles, 8 locks.