We left at about 8:30. It’s usually around 3 hours from Kinver to our home mooring and we wanted to be away home soon after twelve. However things didnt work out quite the way we had planned. When we got to the first lock, Whittington lock, we were third in a queue to go down. On arrival at Debdale lock we were greeted by a scene of chaos. There were four Black Prince hire boats in front of us (though one of them was simply moored having their breakfast and not waiting for the lock). The waiting space is fairly restricted here, so with four Black Prince, ourselves and then, a little while later, a Countrywide Cruisers boat all waiting to go down it made manourvering difficult. I breasted up to one of the Black Prince boats which I think unnerved them a bit, but there was nowhere else to go.
Some of the hire boats, though they had plenty of crew, seemed to be taking things fairly slowly. In particular they were letting young children wind the paddles. Now I’m all in favour of introducing youngsters to the cut, but if you have four boats queued up behind you then you need to work the lock as quickly as possible.
The queues continued at Wolverley lock and Wolverley Court lock, but they all stopped at Sainsbury’s in Kidderminster so we went straight into Kidderminster lock without a queue. We winded by Tesco and then reversed back to the mooring, tidied up the boat and left for home at about 2:30.