Sunday, 29 October 2017

Reed cutting in Worcester

Friday 27th October; Blackpole to Diglis Basin

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky but no sun for us until we got away from the shade of the trees.  Even at ten o’clock it was pretty chilly in spite of the sun and we needed woolly hats for a while.  As we got nearer to the city centre we were cruising directly into the sun and it was difficult to see what was up ahead.  Bridge 12 has artwork commemorating Worcester City FC’s famous victory over Liverpool, two goals to one, in the third round of the FA Cup – in 1959.  As they have spent most of their history playing non-league football, this appears to be the pinnacle of their achievement (so far anyway).  They moved from the St George's Lane ground in 2013.

1 fa cup win

Half-obscured in the vegetation was this strange figure.  Waving, or signalling his intention to leap into the water?

2 taking a dip maybe

As we approached the high railway bridge we espied the first of the reed-cutters in the dazzle ahead.  It was difficult to see what was happening as the low sun was reflecting off his little boat as it moved in and out of the reeds on the offside.  it was impossible to get a picture until we had passed him, because of the sun, and of course he didn’t start working again until we were well past.

3 reed cutter

He didn’t seem to have anywhere to put the cut reeds, and neither did the second boat.  This one was bigger and was driven by paddles on either side.  Judging by his grin he gets photographed a lot.

5 reed cutter

The paddles seem to be involved with steering too.

6 reed cutter

If they have been merrily chopping reeds up but not collecting them, that would explain the floating debris we have been picking up.  At Blockhouse Lock we met a chap who had been reading up on the history of the canal.  When the Act of Parliament was passed to enable the building of the canal, the whole of the first year after that was spent sourcing the pick-axes, barrows, shovels, horses and carts before any digging could start.

The Commandery moorings were empty so we stopped for lunch before moving down to stop for water just before the basin.  Dave got a gas bottle at the little shop next to the Elsan point and discovered we were allowed to moor just in the basin against the towpath.  So we did, right in the sun and it was lovely.

Dave had to go up into town for some shopping so I took Meg for her walk along beside the river as far as the racecourse.  According to the electronic indicator board at Hanbury Junction the day before yesterday, the Severn was on amber but the level was decreasing.  The racecourse moorings weren’t flooded but the river seemed to be flowing quite fast.

We had a good meal in the Anchor this evening.  The sky is clear and it is getting very cold so we were glad it was only a short walk back!

6 locks 4 miles

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