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The Waterways Wanderings of Narrowboat “Just Heaven”

Bridge 63 Grand Union

A day of different styles of travelling today.

We drove up to BBCC last night, moved the boat down to the bridge by the Black Buoy pub and unloaded our stuff. Then we went to the pub for our evening meal. I did quite well, they had run out of what I ordered so they let me have a more expensive meal at the original price.

This morning we drove to Cropredy to leave the car. The Fairport Convention festival is on at the moment and I thought that we might get stuck in traffic, but there was none. We found somewhere to leave the car and then made our way to the bus stop. There were lots of festival goers about, The Cropredy festival lot are quite distinctive, beards and beer bellys much in evidence!

Bus to Banbury, train to Solihull. We have been on two trains in the last week or so, the first time for many years. I was impressed. Rail travel is reasonably cheap, clean, comfortable and with free WiFi!

We arrived at Solihull station in time to catch the 11:00 bus back to the boat club, but it didn’t arrive. Surprisingly the bus driver was also waiting for it, they change drivers there. After a while he told us that the bus had broken down with a flat tyre. So we had to wait an hour for the 12:00 one.

We got back to the boat at about 12:20 and had a slow chug here. We (mostly Heddi) have been very industrious, re-painting the pole, touching up the gunnels, polishing the brasses and cleaning the algae off the roof.

Now relaxing with a glass of wine.

Trains and boats and ……

Now back home for a few days after a journey consisting of walk, bus, train, walk, bus, walk, car !
The boat is safely moored up at Black Buoy Cruising Club. We’ll pick her up next week after a trip made up of car, car, walk, bus, train, bus, walk!
@nbjustheaven

Black Buoy Cruising Club

Now moored up on the Grand Union at Black Buoy Cruising Club( www.blackbuoy.org.uk). The very friendly folk here have agreed to look after JH for us for a week. We heard this morning that our mooring at Cropredy won’t now be available until August 31st. So we have had to change our plans a little. We are leaving the boat here for a week, then making our way to Cropredy and leaving it outside the marina for a week before setting off on our main summer cruise.
The weather forecast for today was for rain from 10:00, but in fact it’s been sunny and warm until about 20mins ago ((5:00pm). We set off at about 7:30 and have done 10 miles and 19 locks in 6.5 hours.
Just like yesterday there were very few boats about, we only saw 4 moving all day until we arrived here, since then there has been a steady procession past us!
The Lapworth flight is set in very pleasant countryside, the locks are quite hard work, but closely spaced, so we were working one ahead all the time. At the junction we turned left to head north, back in the direction of Birmingham, but only for a few miles to the club’s moorings.
Tomorrow we have a complicated journey to make involving 3 buses and a train to get back to Kinver to pick up the car.

Twitter @nbjustheaven

Dickens Heath

Hot day today! though it didnt start out that way. We woke early so decided to get going and were on our way by 7:00. It was grey and overcast. A pleasant cruise round to Windmill end and then through Netherton tunnel. We chose to take the Old Main Line route into Birmingham rather than the straight and wide New Line. So up Brades locks and turn left. A full English was taken around 11:00 just past the ‘summit tunnel’. Here it’s difficult to believe that you are in the middle of a major city. It is green, quiet and peaceful. Spon End locks are another haven in a busy city.
We passed through the Gas St basin area without stopping. Surprisingly there were plenty of mooring spaces. In fact there were few boats about, up until this point we had only seen three moving boats.

Down the W&B and turn onto the Stratford at King’s Norton.
We moored up for the night at “Dickens Heath”. This seem to be an artificially created community of very expensive houses. When we stopped we thought that we were just opposite a few houses, but we went for a walk and found the whole complex of expensive shop, town houses etc. Some people obviously like living in these places, but for me they have no soul, no heart, no history.

Merry Hill shopping centre

Now moored just above the Merryhill Shopping centre. 30 locks today, mostly in the rain!
Part way up the Stourbridge 16 a guy turns up on a bike and starts to help us. He came with his own windlass and anti-vandal key. It seems that he just likes helping out boaters. He worked ahead for us preparing each lock, so we made very good time. He left us at the top and was going to help an Alvechurch hire boat crew on the way down.
Even without him we worked very efficiently up the Delph 8 and reached the top just after 4:00pm.
It rained on and off most of the day, and is now pouring down. The forecast is better for tomorrow.
Sorry no pics today – too much rain.

Stourport, on the river

A bit of shopping in Droitwich (good wool shop at www.emmshaberdashery.co.uk) then off down the barge canal in lovely sunshine.

There were more boats about today, we met three hire and two private boats coming up as we made our way down to the Severn. I enjoyed the barge canal this time more than previously. It looks like C&RT, or maybe DCT have got to grips with the reeds issue.

A pleasant but uneventful trip up the Severn to Stourport. We had been moored up for about an hour when a Portharb hire boat came storming up river. They appeared to be a bit lost, not certain of where to go. Someone of the front pointed to the narrow locks entrance saying “Is that where we go?”, but the steerer was having none of it and carried on full throttle under the bridge and heading for the head of navigation. After about 40 mins we thought perhaps we’d go for a walk to see where they were in case they had gone aground. We got up to where the boat club mooring are and saw them coming back down river at full speed. So we turned round to get back to the pontoons to see if we could help. Luckily waiting for them was one of the hire company’s staff who had come to find them to put something on board. He called out to tell them where they should moor and which locks to use. The guy at the helm them went about 200yds downstream and made a complete pig’s ear of turning (including demolishing part of a bankside bush) in a huge wide river!

We let the Portharb guy try to give them a bit of advice re narrowboat control !

Netherwich basin

An interesting day today!

We awoke to a clear blue sky so decided to head on up the canal towards Hanbury junction in case the Droitwich was now open. A check on the stoppages website later in the morning said that it was. A short stop for breakfast just north of Tibberton then up to Hanbury and turn down the Droitwich junction canal. There was a C&RT volunteer helping with the first 3 locks. He confirmed that the Barge lock was now open. We got as far as lock 6 to find the top gates padlocked together! I called the C&RT help line, told them the problem, but they couldnt get hold of the local supervisor. They said that they¬†would call me back. Heddi walked back to the volunteer to see if he could get hold of someone. He made various calls to discover that the guy with the key to the padlock had gone on holiday. They would sent someone to cut the lock off . Two C&RT operative arrived about an hour later with cutting tools. One of them looked at the padlock and said “I think I’ve got a key for that” So within a few minutes we were on our way again.
On arrival at the tunnel under the M5 we couldn’t get under the gauging board. So I had to remove the anchor and the box we keep it in off of the roof. We then just cleared through with only a couple of inches to spare!
Now moored in Netherwich basin.

Just north of Worcester

Only 2 miles and 6 locks today.

I got an email from C&RT saying that the Droitwich barge lock was closed due to excess water. So there was no point pressing on too far. We did a bit of shopping in Worcester in the morning then at about 1:30 set off up the canal to moor opposite a sports ground on the outskirts of the city. We have moored here before, it’s much more pleasant than in the built up city area.

Hopefully the levels in Droitwich will drop by the time we get there tomorrow.

Worcester

Just a few days out, to go to Droitwich and back. We enjoyed that trip last time, we thought we would do it again before we move to the new mooring at Cropredy.

Awoke to grey, overcast skies and the weather forecast predicting rain, but we set off down towards Stourport. The weather improved and all was looking good until we locked out onto the river. Then the skies darkened and it started to rain. The Severn often does that to us!

The gauge at Stourport was just in the “green”, but all those on the locks to Worcester were “amber”. There was quite a flow going and we arrived in Worcester quicker than usual.

Diglis basin and the vistor’s mooring were fairly full, but we found a space. Lots more boats were coming off the river as the level was rising, they had to go on up the canal looking for moorings

Spring is on the way

We have had several nights onboard during March and April, but we havent actually moved.
By now we should have moved to our new mooring in Cropredy Marina. It was due to open on April 1st. But, due to the bad winter weather the construction is several months behind.
We had thought to take a long cruise of 3 weeks or so between Kinver and Cropredy, but now we think we may extend our mooring here by a couple of months.

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