Thursday 10th May; Tibberton to Worcester
It rained overnight but the sun was out when we got up though there was a chilly wind. It was all very quiet with no boats passing by the time we left at 9.30, but at Offerton top lock a Viking hire boat was tied up. Not a breakfast stop on those handy bollards – they had been stopped by a CRT man an hour before, and told to wait for further instructions. Someone had raised all the paddles on Blackpole lock last night and completely drained the pound above it, between it and Tolladine. So we had a cup of tea and did some jobs while CRT got on with running water down, and after a couple of hours I thought I’d get the bike out and go down to investigate. Apart from a boat halted half way up the Offerton flight it was deserted till I got to Tolladine lock. The crew of Carpe Diem were enjoying a cup of coffee while they waited and showed me the picture they had taken of the pound below when they arrived – a little stream in the middle, the herons and gulls making merry with an easy fish breakfast. The pound was still over a foot down ….
…. as I carried on to Blackpole lock, where four boats were waiting below. So back I went to discover the first boat had just been allowed to start down, after a wait of 4 hours. They had been hoping to spend time in Worcester before handing their boat back but were philosophical about the delay. Luckily for us the boat behind had 5 crew so they gave us a hand closing up, and with the bike allowing me to whizz along and lock ahead we were down the 6 locks in an hour in spite of having to turn them all! We stopped for a late lunch at the bottom of the flight and a bit of a relax in the sun. The water level was still a little low on the pound below Tolladine lock
but deep enough for us. Here we are at Blackpole lock, where all four paddles had been raised.
The CRT man said this had happened before and they had considered fitting anti-vandal locks but eventually decided not to. Maybe they will change their minds now. They think a particular group in the local area is responsible but without proof, what can they do? Probably not a lot, even if they catch them in the act.
Meg decided she’d had enough excitement for a while …
Also taking their ease and browsing the grass were two swans at Gregory’s Mill top lock.
It was lovely and warm by now. It was chucking-out time for the local schools and streams of little ones were trotting by, chattering, riding scooters and blowing dandelion clocks. There was plenty of dandelion fluff in the air and some on the paddle gear too, or maybe that was willow fluff.
As it was nearly five we didn’t want to risk not getting a mooring down at the basin, so stopped at the Commandery where the moorings were empty. Meg insisted Dave took her to Park Royal to play ball (she knows the way now and took him there) so I went up to town for a few bits and pieces. I came back along the canal where a swan is nesting not far from our mooring.
We walked down to the Anchor for a beer in the sunshine. We could have moored down there after all – loads of space. Never mind, there shouldn’t be a wait for the water point in the morning!
6½ miles, 13 locks, 3 or more miles on a bumpy old folding bike, tired legs.