Stourport to Wolverely Bridge 20
Enough is enough! Time to move on, even if it was raining. No excuses today.
We filled with water as we had breakfast, disposed of rubbish and cleaned Tillys pooh box hoping that the rain shower would be just that, a shower. Sadly it carried on and on and on. So we pushed off in full wet weather gear, Mick winding Oleanna as I walked up to the lock. No need to set this lock as it empties itself reasonably quickly, it hadn’t been used so far today anyway.
At last after nearly two weeks we rose out from the Upper Basin having given up waiting for the river to go down. A couple of volunteer Lockies had walked by earlier and said they’d seen boats go out onto the river in similar conditions, we weren’t about to do that.
Much further and we were committing ourselves to doing a few miles and getting through Kidderminster. We both agreed we were wet already so we might as well carry on and get a few more miles and locks ticked off the long way round.
The next pound seemed far too long. The next lock was not where we expected it to be. Had C&RT been very busy over the last two weeks removing one lock and making the next one deeper? It must be round the next bend…. maybe the next one….. I remember it’s just round here. Still no lock, someone must have stolen it! The rain and the surprisingly cold day had got to us already.
Eventually the lock appeared with a boat coming down in it. A new looking Bourne Boat fitted out on a Tyler Wilson shell with rivets and recessed panels. I chatted to the chap who asked if there were moorings and pump out in the basin. I explained that we’d just vacated a 24hr mooring and yes it did have electric. But a glance at his boat suggested that they wouldn’t fit, the gap we’d left would be 59ft they were far longer at 66ft. The hire boat that had been left behind us would start to get in the way of the water point if they moved it enough to get in.
On we carried and into Kidderminster. Here within a half mile stretch we saw the full hire fleet from Star Narrowboats. An ABC and a Viking Afloat hire boats which we’d seen at Stourport yesterday were moored up by the retail park. One big family on two boats who’d hoped to do the Stourport Ring. When they left Worcester they’d been told that by the time they reached Stourport the river would be down. They then kept calling the hire company to check on the river whilst they still had time to turn back and reach base, they kept being told the river would be fine. So yesterday they had filled with water winded and headed back out of town to see where they’d get to for Friday! It looks like Kidderminster will be where they finish their holiday, unless they go back to Stourport.
At Kidderminster Lock we managed okay to open the top gate without assistance from Oleanna! Cold, wet and hungry we pulled up on the moorings by Sainsburys for lunch. A rootle through the bottom drawer in the galley found us a choice of soup to help warm us up. By now the morning long shower had stopped, so we left our waterproofs to drip dry whilst we did a big shop.
This was so unfair of them! They had moved the outside to be by grass, trees, sideways trees and insisted that I stay inside whilst they had their mid day dingding and then went out shopping! I could have quite happily amused myself in this tantalising outside for the hour and a half that it was there for, but no! I made sure I told them what I thought of them!!
We risked getting wet again and pootled along the next pound to Wolverley Court Lock. On our way down there had been a helpful chap lending a hand here, today he was far too sensible to be stood waiting for boats in the cold. You could see your breath! Handrails on this lock are somewhat short. A big span with none on the bottom gates and a very large gap either side on the top gate, so I chose to walk round time and time again. The top gate has ground paddles and then two separate gate paddles which is unusual along this stretch. To operate them you have to stand on the plank across the gates or have very long arms.
Stopping short of Wolverley Lock we pulled in with trees and hedges and a large field below, the boat doors were opened up and after the rules were recited Tilly was out tail held high. A very happy cat again.
5 locks, 5.78 miles, 1 reverse, 1 wind, 1 full water tank, 1 clean pooh box, 2 pairs padded waterproof trousers, 2 hand warmers, 1 stolen lock, 1 lock requiring no ramming, 2 dripping boaters, 2 bowls soup, 4 boxes, 1 cheese twist, 5 plums, 1.5 hours wasted! 1 M mooring we think, 1 route planned, 1 day off, 4 hours a day to meet our next rendez vous! 1 blog writer having to remember about maps and thumbs.
Severn River level at 9am today 2.245m.