Sunday, 30 September 2018

Home again

Sunday 23rd and Monday 24th September; Vines Park to the Marina, and home.

It was a wet night, and it was wet this morning so we lazed about catching up on yesterday’s paper till about 10.30, when we realised the rain had cleared.  Dave went off for a wander round town and to get the Sunday paper, while Meg and I had a game of ball.  There are several excellent horse chestnut trees nearby and the grass was covered with spiky cases and glossy conkers.  I couldn’t resist collecting a few more to take home.

2 conkers

Dave came back to take over dog duty and I went off for a run while they strolled along to the sports pitches as Dave wanted to watch some footy.  Yesterday as we cruised by it was the junior matches – today the adults were playing and very vigorous and physical it looked too.  On my way back to the boat I dropped into the Gardener’s Arms to book a table for lunch.  This is a very convenient mooring for that! 

1 vines park mooring

Hurry up I’m hungry!

We had a lovely meal.  As we came back to the boat the wind was strong and cold but the sun was out, so we spent the afternoon doing some outside jobs.  I hauled the bike out of the well deck and gave it a good clean while Dave worked on a device to support the tonneau cover that goes over the back when we leave the boat.  The little bungees, correctly called canopy guys, hold it in place but it’s not taut enough to stop rainwater pooling on it; you have to scoop the rain off with a dog water bowl before you can get into the boat, and on occasions the weight of water has broken the guys.  We tried changing the guys but have no idea what length the originals were, or even if they worked properly in the first place.  So we ended up using buckets on the seat of a folding chair to raise the cover, but it’s rather a faff and this should be much simpler.  I meant to take a photo but forgot.

On Monday morning we planned to go to Chuffed’s winter mooring in Droitwich Spa marina.  But rather than leave straight away, we thought we’d wait a while and do some of the packing and cleaning where we were.  The morning was bright and sunny and the outlook is much nicer onto the park.  We saw the trip boat going by – they were picking up their passengers and going off up the locks in the next few minutes, so we didn’t rush.  Two other boats went by too, though once we set off we discovered one of them had stopped for breakfast on some swing bridge moorings.  The tunnel that goes under the M5 is very low so we had to put the chimney away before we left.

4 low motorway bridgeThe bridge carrying Impney Way, the A-road across the canal, is in the form of a short tunnel and it’s very close to the one under the M5, so this makes for a strange light effect in the photo.

We had a bit of a wait while two boats came down the staircase but were soon back in the marina, where we packed the car and were home before evening.

1½ miles, 3 swing bridges, 5 locks (including the staircase), M5 tunnel.

Trip stats

95 miles 5¼ furlongs with 135 locks, along the Grand Union, North Stratford, Worcester and Birmingham, Birmingham Main Line,  Staffs and Worcester and Droitwich Barge and Junction canals, and the river Severn.

60 miles 6½ furlongs narrow canals, 26 miles 3¾ furlongs broad canals, 8 miles 3 furlongs large rivers. 

81 narrow locks, 52 broad locks, 2 large (river) locks.

6 swing bridges to open (1 electric) and 11 tunnels; Shrewley, Brandwood, Edgbaston, Galton, Coseley, Wolverhampton, Dunsley, Cookley, A449 at Hawford, Impney Way and M5 in Droitwich.

I have been catching up with my blog posts in the week following our return, and the weather has been beautiful.  We should have been boating! I bet it’s not like this next time we come out.





Friday, 28 September 2018

Rain and conkers

Saturday September 22nd; Hawford Junction to Vines Park, Droitwich

We had an early start today, before 8am, for two reasons – one, rain is forecast for later, and the other, Dave is going to collect the car from Calcutt and really did not want to be wet before he even started!  It was quiet grey weather and it stayed that way.  The elegant Linacre bridge was the first point of interest.  It is one of the rare surviving examples of Brindley’s original structures. 

1 linacre bridge

There is nothing dramatic about it, just a fairly low parapet quietly curving down to the bank on each side.  The locks unfortunately are all doubles and were almost all against us, and the gates are heavy – not impossible by any means but they take a while for a smallish crew member to get moving.  I managed to get a few late blackberries at one of the locks.  To save time, as Dave has a train to catch, once the locks were closer together I left him closing up while I went ahead to empty the next lock.  The banks of the Barge canal are very reedy and there are few spots to moor, with more fishing spots than open areas for mooring.  Once the sun made a feeble, failed effort to break through the clouds.

2 reedy barge canal

But the rain held off until we reached the playing fields with their Saturday morning matches on the outskirts of Droitwich Spa, and it was really just wet air as we moored.  Luckily the towpath moorings on the park were empty.  The pontoons in Netherwich basin were all vacant, but you need the BW key to get into the park which is inconvenient if you have a dog.  Dave left for the station at about 11, and Meg and I collected a bag of conkers and played ball.  By our mooring was a signpost showing the furthest parts of the network reachable from here by water.  We have been to Llangollen but not the others (yet).

3 vines park post

4 vines park post5 vines parl post6 vines park post7 vines park post

It was raining lightly and the signpost is much higher than me, hence the odd splotch.   It was still only drizzly when I nipped over to Waitrose for a bit of shopping.  The little bakery nearby was open and I got some nice-looking rolls and fruit scones.  I also disposed of all the paper, card and glass in the car park bins, and a couple of plastic milk bottles went in the public bins in the park.

After a while the rain got a bit heavier, but Meg still needed a decent walk.  We had a quick play in the park, then went for a mooch around town.  The shopping centre is surprisingly large once you find it – I thought it was only Waitrose and the run-down High Street!  There is a Morrison’s, and many of the high street names such as Boots, WHSmith, Specsavers etc.  There are artworks too – this one on the edge of the shopping centre is ceramic.

8 droitwich artwork

At the other end is a sculpture of saltworkers; the whole family was involved in what must have been pretty unpleasant work.

9 droitwich artwork10 droitwich srtwork

Droitwich is proud of its history as a centre for salt production and we wandered around the back streets to see the Tower Hill brine pumping station, which has been restored to working order https://www.visitdroitwichspa.com/droitwich/high-street/.  It is visible but protected behind a grid, and it was too dark to see much.  The weather was such that photo opportunities were a bit limited anyway.

We wandered back towards Waitrose, near which is the Gurney’s Lane brine pump.

12 carneys lane brine pump

Then, as Meg had been such a good patient girl we went into the big pet store behind Waitrose to buy her a treat.  I much prefer small independent pet shops as you can have a chat, dogs are usually given a biscuit and the treats are cheaper!  Amazingly she didn’t immediately pick up one of the treats which were displayed at nose height though she did move towards a bucket of balls very purposefully.  After buying her a chicken’s foot, and getting a couple of tasty little samples from a bowl on the counter, we crossed over to the park for another, very wet, game of ball.

I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning through the boat, setting the fire ready for later, and adding some more conkers to my spider deterrent system.  It’s not that I mind spiders particularly, it’s their cobwebs which tend to catch dust and expose my tendency towards slovenliness.  A steady procession of boats went by, mostly hire boats from Worcester turning in the basin before starting the return journey, though we were joined later by a private boat, also with a dog, who moored up next to us.

Dave made good time in his mission and was back before 5, having walked, in pouring rain, from the marina where he had left the car.  We thoroughly enjoyed the fruit scones from the bakery.  We put the Mikuni on to warm the boat up and dry some things off, and a little later lit the fire for a cosy evening inside while the rain rained steadily for an hour or two more.

5 miles, 6 locks, and a lot of rain.






Thursday, 27 September 2018

Spiders begone!

Friday 21st September; Stourport outskirts to Hawford Junction

We got up in lovely sunshine but the clouds soon came across and it was chilly as we made our way down to Stourport.  There is a massive construction site near the town installing a new water intake and pumping station and laying a 25km pipeline to Frankley in Birmingham.  It will take water from the Severn and is part of the Birmingham Resilience Project.  Severn Trent Water says this:

‘For over 100 years Birmingham’s water has travelled 72 miles from Wales through the Elan Valley Aqueduct (EVA) and we want to make sure customers continue to enjoy this wonderful water. After decades of use the Aqueduct needs care and maintenance to keep it in service. To carry out repair work, we need to take the Aqueduct out of action for a few weeks each year so our engineers can get inside. During these times a backup supply, sourced from across our region, will be used to keep water flowing for customers.

So now you know.

1 big pipe works

There are a couple of interesting things to see on the way into town.  The Railway Basin is a short arm next to the railway bridge, and there is a turning device (I assume) for the horse-drawn boats to pull boats out of the arm and turn them as required.

2 turning device railway basin stouport

At Gilgal bridge is an aquatic centre, with what looked like koi carp in the outdoor tanks by the canal.  We like the name.

3 fishy business

While we waited for a boat to go down the lock into the basins, I nipped up to the Co-op in the town for some milk and the paper, and Dave checked out the facilities below the lock.  A boat came up, and as Dave brought Chuffed into the lock I got chatting to the crew of the boat waiting below, who warned us about the wind in the basin!  After a hasty rush back to get my waterproofs as it started to rain, we were down and doing our best to get tied up on the fuel wharf.  It took some doing in the strong crosswind.  It took a while to hunt out someone to serve us, by which time the rain was easing off again.  Then the wind changed; instead of blowing us away from the wharf it now pinned us to it.  We managed to get across to the other side to empty a cassette and for Dave to make a quick visit to the chandlery.  Then we were on our way crabbing through the basins, having left a decent interval to make sure the boat in front had cleared the first lock landing.  It had, but it was still a challenge to get Chuffed secured so that I could set the lock.  There is no way Dave would have wanted to float about while he waited!  The four locks down onto the Severn are in the form of two staircases, with a nasty change in direction between the two and no lock landings to speak of, so it’s wise to get the bottom pair ready before the boat leaves the top pair.  The fun fair looked a bit closed up this time of the morning.  The wind felt a bit strong for safe operation of some of those rides.

5 funfair from top lock stourport basin

There were no volunteers around to help with the locks, so I had a lot of walking between the two staircases.  We did meet one earlier who was litter-picking, and he told us that navigation on the river was ok.  The electronic indicator board showed amber with the levels going down (safe to navigate with care), and the reach below Lincomb, the first river lock, was green (normal conditions for navigation).

4 - 3 inches in the amber

The green was just a few inches below the water level.  While the lock emptied, we got our lifejackets on, having attached the anchor before we started our descent.  Below the bottom lock there is space to get safely back onto your boat, without using the ladder, and it’s far enough from the river not to be affected by wind or current.

6 stourport bottom lock from severn

We have never gone upstream from here – you can’t get very far, only about half a mile.

7 upstream view

For the first time we saw the wide locks in operation – a smart cruiser was going up onto the basin.

7a wide locks in use

Expecting it to be cold on the river we had full waterproofs on, but the rain stopped and the sun came out.  The river twisted around in and out of the wind, so we alternated between being too hot and then almost too cold.  The two river locks were ready for us; interestingly the electronic indicator board at Lincomb showed the next reach to be in the amber rather than green, and the green had moved further downstream.  The same happened at Holt Fleet – we were clearly moving with the flood water.  We were soon approaching Hawford Junction to join the Droitwich Barge canal.  Just before the junction the river Salwarpe, which joins the canal for a short stretch the other side of Droitwich, meets the Severn.

9 salwarpe mouth

Salwarpe confluence with the Severn

There is apparently a boatyard up the river, but it’s only accessible for boats up to a length of 30’.  We waited a short while for a boat to come out of the bottom lock at Hawford Junction; we indicated we were turning in to the lock so they went downstream to give us plenty of room.  In the event the strong wind didn’t make it difficult and as we arrived at the lock landing they completed their turn and headed off up-river.  There are no moorings until you are above the second lock, because when the Severn is in flood the bottom pound floods too.

12 moored at hawford top lock

We had made good time on the river, and were tied up by 3 o’clock, so we set to with some cleaning - inside, and the brasses - and touching up the blacking above the rubbing strake on the port side.  The place on the other side of the canal, which we thought was some kind of activity centre, turns out to be an independent day school, King’s Hawford, part of the King’s school in Worcester.  It looks a wonderful place to be educated – I hope they realise how privileged they are to be able to be there.

I have been collecting conkers when I see them, for use as spider deterrents – some in Swindon, and some from a tree between the Hawford locks this afternoon.  I should be able to get loads in Vines Park too.  Usually I just put a few on the shelves in the saloon – the spiders do seem to favour the rest of the boat, so I made a few little bags of some bits of net I had in my workbox at home so I could hang them from the curtain-rails in the rest of the boat, where there are no shelves.

11 spider deterrent

Time will tell if they are effective.

There were a couple of sharp showers this evening, and more rain is forecast for the morning.

9 miles, 7 locks (5 single, including 2 staircases, 2 river locks, 2 doubles)





Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Round the rugged rocks …..

Thursday 20th September; Austcliffe to outskirts of Stourport

the ragged rascals ran cruised.  We may be a bit ragged but I don’t think we are rascals.

It was drizzly when we woke up, but the forecast was for a dry spell this morning and although it was not actually precipitating when we left we had full wet weather gear on just in case.  The cupboards and fridge are pretty bare and supplies are needed so we need to move on!

We wound our way round the rocky bends in thankfully calm conditions.  It would not have been fun in yesterday’s wind. Last time we came this way we met another boat on this bend, where the canal is narrow and the offside cannot be brushed through!  A lot of shuffling was necessary for us both to get round.

1 sharp rocky bendaustcliffe

Cookley Tunnel was hewn out of the sandstone, with brick arches at the portals because the sandstone is easily damaged – you can rub your hand over the surface and it comes away sandy.   However, it is solid enough to have houses on top of it.

2 cookley tunnel east end

In years gone by there was a cliff overhanging the canal – Austcliff Rock – which became unstable and had to be removed.  The tunnel is short, with a towpath and wide enough so that the boat should be safe from accidental bangs and scrapes.  You emerge to a sharp bend to the left, easily traversed if no-one is coming.  The picture doesn’t really show it, but if you approach from the west your boat needs to be on the wrong side of the canal to see if anything is coming, and to get a line to go through.  This proves interesting if you are in the tunnel and the oncoming boat is a long one, as happened to us last time, as of course you can’t see them when you are in the tunnel unless they are already in position, in which case you would have seen them before you went in and would have waited.  And they don’t know you are there until they hear your horn, because you see their bow long before they can see a thing.

3 cookley tunnel west end

By the time we reached the pretty Debdale lock drizzle was just beginning to mist the air.  A boat was coming in at the bottom, so we had a bit of a wait.  It’s quite deep, and the overhanging cliff makes it feel very constricted (though it’s not at an angle, unlike the picture).

4 deep narrow debdale lock

The rain stayed light for a while as we wound our way towards Kidderminster.  The canal’s course is pretty much determined by the course of the river Stour on one side and the red cliffs on the other.  We wondered if we might see a kingfisher, as the sandstone looked soft enough for nest holes, but no luck.

By Wolverley lock the rain was steady.  If we had been stopping here we would have taken advantage of the Smithy cafĂ©.  Pasties get a bit soggy if you eat them in the rain, but I suppose we could have got some takeaway soup!

6 wolverley forge tea room

But we cracked on, the rain getting heavier all the time.  We had heard about another tree down, but it had been cleared by the time we arrived and the men were just pulling the last few bits out of the water.  They said a passing boater had cut and pushed it to get past and had made their job a lot harder.  Now it was just one more lock then we could stay put at Kidderminster till it stopped.  Wolverley Court lock is quite quick, but one of the gate paddles is difficult to reach for a short person.  Much too far from the bank to operate, and I didn’t want to stand on the footboard as I would have had to have held on with one hand and hung out over the water to reach, so I had to sit astride the lock beam to wind it up safely.

7 dodgy paddle gear wolverley court lock

A big step to the footboard.

At last, with the rain getting steadily heavier, we managed to snaffle the mooring by the entrance to Sainsbury’s.  We warmed up with toast and tea, watching the rain hammering down.  Eventually it eased off and we went over to Sainsbury’s for much needed supplies, but it started again and we just watched the boats going by, mostly hirers on a schedule poor things, hunched and dripping though one or two waved cheerily.  We had a fry-up for lunch, yum.  In a short dry spell I took Meg out and discovered excellent recycling bins in the car park, which take everything, so that has made a space in the cupboard.

Then around 3pm the rain really did stop, though the wind was strong and gusty.  Kidderminster is a very noisy place with the big road bridge close to the mooring, so we wanted to move on to the patch of country between it and Stourport.  First of course is the deep and noisy Kidderminster lock.  Look one way and the view is lovely, worthy of a full page picture in Nicholson’s. 

9 kiddeminster lock

Look the other however and it is concrete, noise, traffic and fumes.  The canal surrounds in Kidderminster have been adopted by a local group, and I have to say there is a lot less litter around than we have been used to here.

10 looking after kidd canal

Just a couple more locks now, still with the red cliff alongside though now it’s on the other side of the canal, which crossed the Stour south of the town.  There are awkward bywashes which, with the wind, made it difficult for Dave to hold steady while he waited to pick me up, so the centre rope was needed at times.  Caldwall lock has bridge and step overkill … I wonder why the little steel bridge was constructed when there was a perfectly good brick and steel one – or perhaps it was the other way round.  Anyway, the stone steps up to the brick one are redundant as it’s easier to walk a few feet away and get onto the bridge on the level.

11 caldwall lock

There was no-one on the mooring we have used before.  It’s out in the open, away from trees (essential with these winds), and factories and houses too, although there is a noisy road in the distance.  First things first – get the waterproofs dry!

13 drying waterproofs bridges 9-10

Meg was agitating for a walk, so after a cup of tea – after which it started raining again! Dave duly obliged.  Along the towpath the hedge stops and there is a steep drop to the Stour, which was in spate – so Meg’s ball was not retrieved when it rolled away down the bank.  Dave had taken the umbrella with him but the wind was too strong to use it, so once more dripping waterproofs were hung in the cratch.

We were a little concerned about the state of the Severn when we reach it tomorrow, but there is no point worrying about conditions which will have changed by the morning.  The evening continued with intermittent rain and gusty winds, but we were snug inside with the Mikuni running to dry us off.

6½ miles, 6 locks, Cookley tunnel and a lot of rain.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Crabbing along past Kinver

Wednesday 19th September; Swindon to Caunsall/Austcliffe

Though it rained last night, the brisk wind had dried off the grass by this morning.  Before we left I took some plastic and glass bottles up to the handy bins by the shop and got the paper.  We were away by 9.30, wrapped up against the wind but it wasn’t really cold.  At Hinksford lock we waited for a boat to come up.  It was the little trailboat which had been moored opposite us in Birmingham.  It is based on one of our local canals, the Tiverton (correctly known as the Grand Western Canal).

1 trailboat sloe above hinksford lock

They must have gone through the Netherton tunnel and come up from Stourton Junction.  We went on to moor at the Greensforge facilities, where the water point was running very slowly.  We topped up till we were fed up with it, and as soon as a boat came up the lock we were off again.

4 leaky water point greensforge

One of the two water points was dripping – I tried to stop it but without success.  I’ll report it.   We cruised on, still recognising very little of our surroundings, though we did remember the stunning gardens attached to a nursery.

5 lovely nursery gardens

Once we reached Stourton Junction things became familiar once more.

6 stourton junction from the north

The lock leading to the Stourbridge canal – and looking back from bridge 33.

7 stourton junction from the south

If Stewponey Lock is empty, you have to walk through the horse tunnel to see if anyone is coming up before filling the lock.  When more leaves are down, it looks as though it will get rather slippery on the brick slope when it’s wet.

8 horse tunnel stewponey lock

Considering the number of boats we met coming towards us, it was surprising that all the locks were against us.  We stopped for lunch above Hyde lock, which has a pretty cottage lockside.  At last I managed a photo of their garden gates which add to its attractiveness, I think.

10 garden gates hyde lock

We moored at Kinver, after a bit of a delay while I went to see if the boat on the lock landing was waiting to come up …..

11 kinver git mooring or sudden illness

It seems to be a case of a breakdown, sudden illness or a git.  I suppose ‘git’ is preferable, though I suppose a breakdown could be considered the best option.  It was annoying too to find that Kinver’s early closing day is on Wednesday, so no visit to the butcher, greengrocer or baker.

We could have stayed here, but the forecast isn’t very good for tomorrow so we went on for an hour or so.  We passed NB Dolcie Blue moored at Whittington;

12 dolcie blue above Whittinton

noted some interesting damp-proofing on the cottage at Whittington lock;

14 interesting damp-proofing whittingtonlock

and then we came to a tree across the cut.  We had been warned about it so after a quick recce pushed gently past.  Although it drifted back to look as though the canal was completely blocked, it was mostly ivy.  Even so I decided to call CRT.  It wasn’t an emergency in the ‘danger to life, limb or the environment’ sense, which is what the recorded message on the emergency number says, so I rang the normal one but I was still put through to the emergency number.  Here’s the tree, gently moving back to the edge after we had passed.

15 tree drifting back across cut

We found a tree-free mooring between bridge 25 and the rocky bend at Austcliffe.  We’d had a good laugh today dodging the acorns plummeting from the trees and bouncing off the roof in the high wind but didn’t want our evening punctuated by acorn impact!

8½ miles, 8 locks, Dunsley tunnel, Stourton junction, bouncing acorns.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

A staircase, and a not-staircase

Tuesday 18th September; Compton to Swindon

Compton isn’t a particularly inspiring place.  It has a Sainsbury’s Local handy for the canal, and a Spar/Post Office on the non-towpath side, but there is a busy road running through it and this morning a building (probably – covered in tarps, so could have been anything) was being shot-blasted so it was pretty noisy.  We had a third-hand recommendation for the Italian restaurant below the lock, so perhaps I am being unfair, but we’re not stopping to try it out.

Dave took Meg for a walk over on the far side of the canal while I went shopping, and  when I got back I went over there too with my camera.  This is our mooring as seen from the nature reserve.

3 chuffed from the nature reserve

There has been some planting along here for wildlife; the glowing rubies of the guelder rose could have grown here naturally

2 guelder rose jewels

but these crab apples are a cultivated variety, though I don’t imagine the birds are bothered.

4 crab apples not wild

So it was after 10 before we set off.  We are due a quieter day after our long effort yesterday after all.  The lock here is the first on the Staffs & Worcester to have been built by James Brindley, in the late 1760s, so that must include the circular weir too.  These are a feature of this canal.

1 circular weir at compton

We knew there were several boats ahead of us so we just trundled along, needing to turn every lock.  It wasn’t a problem – these locks all have some form of footbridge at the bottom gates, so there is no need for long walks round the other side, or for stepping across the gap to close the gates.  Some are wide and brick-built, even with a grassy deck to the bridge

6 handy footbridges at these lockswhile others are narrow with a handrail, though some handrails are more attractive than others!  this is at Awbridge lock.

7 handrails added at awbridgeOn the gate at Awbridge lock is a notice advising of the drop – but is it a warning or a command?

8 warning or instruction

Maybe something like this would be helpful on the Hatton, Stockton and Calcutt flights, where there is a greater drop; on a previous trip we met a man who broke his shoulder falling at Hatton, and the lady we met last week with a broken shoulder may have had a similar experience – all we know is she had only just graduated to getting off the boat and walking.

The bridge at Awbridge is very attractive too, though you can’t use it for locking as there is no access from the offside.

9 awbridge bridge

We pulled in below here for some lunch.  The stiff breeze made it a bit tricky to get off the bank again but we were soon on our way to Bratch locks.  It must be 4 or 5 years since we were on this bit of the network, and we are remembering very little of it, but you can’t forget the Bratch.  Three locks are very close together, so close that the pounds between them aren’t long enough even for a little cruiser – but it is not a staircase.  If you take things logically it is perfectly straightforward, the paddles are colour-coded to help and there are clear instructions to avoid floods and wasted water.  We had two volunteers so we were laughing.  Here Dave is in the middle lock.  The top gate is closed behind him as he descends, but because the next boat would be going up we could leave the bottom gates of the top lock open – so you can see right through the lock to the top gates.  The pound extends just under the bridge.

12 middle showing open bottom gates and teeny pound

As we were able to leave the bottom gates open, once we were in the bottom lock you could see right up the flight.  The octagonal toll house (buy your postcards here!) is above the middle lock.14 view up flight

It was all so quick and easy that we forgot to time ourselves and were on our way.  By checking the time stamps of the first and last photos I took we know it was probably less than 15 minutes!

15 leaving bottom lock

16 entering the bottom of bratch

All continued smoothly till Botterham Staircase.  A boat was going down and I wandered along for a chat.  It was strange, they had been in the bottom of the lock for a while but the water levels weren’t equalizing ….  I walked down – past the bush sticking out over the bridge across the locks – to see the previous boat had left the offside paddle up.  So we had to fill the top lock all over again, then everything worked.  Eventually we were down too.  You can see that the offside paddle would be completely invisible from the top lock (above that bridge) unless you walk to the end of the bridge.

17 botterham staircase

We carried on to moor below Swindon lock and went to the Green Man to eat.  It was only OK, but did have excellent Yorkshire puds!  There is a horse chestnut tree nearby so I could get a few conkers to discourage the spiders from colonising the boat.

6½ miles, 14 locks













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