Monday 15th June 2015 We have departed the Trent & Mersey Canal this afternoon, after briefly passing our intended junction to acess the water taps at Great Haywood. Reversed the old girl, winding (turning) her to pass through the most elegant stone bridge. Strangley, bridge No. 109 does not appear to have a name, as all others on our ‘new’ water-wey do. Bart and her crew of t’ousands pass thru the delightful ‘entrance’ of stone and is now heading South on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. She be a very ‘wiggerley’ sort of narrowboat’s companion. After a wee mile (if even that) of ‘tick-over’ passing we come upon a lake like ‘patch’ of open water, known in these parts as Tixall Wide. Believed to be (by sum anywey) to pre-date the canal. Overlooked by the marvellous Tixall Gatehouse.
Tuesday 16th June We be cruising again, leaving that wonderful broadwater to asend just the one (Tixall) lock today. As we skirt the south west ‘corner’ of Baswich We pass a signpost for the Stafford Riverway Link. This being the location where a lock once provided transfer down onto the then dredged River Sow, where boats could make passage to Stafford. Unfortunately, now long gone, with this navigation being available from 1816 until the end of the First World War.
Finally moored in a delightful spot just past Hazelstrine Br. No. 96, in sight of Deptmore lock. Unusually, the tow path is very low, almost level with the canal. We like that. It suits Bart’s ‘Low-ness’. The only un-delightful aspect to our particular location is the large quantity of poop all over & along the towpath. Almost certainly Canada geese poop. Looks the same. Tastes the same. They is a messy breed. Unlike our lovely Swans & Herons. Ye’ olde shovel is brought into extensive use for de-pooping to make crew movements in the local, sumwot safer.
Now there is no poop to munch, Roxy takes the tennis ball off the mooring pin and promptly starts chewing & removing the outer ‘furry’ covering. Photographic evidence not currently available. No, this is also Not good for doggy tummy !!
Wednesday 17th June After an exhausting morning of relaxation we depart our mooring ‘on the cut’ making our way to a rendevous.
Five miles & Four locks in a mear(cat) three hours lead us two Penkridge. One busy ‘village’ with a great variety of shops. Drinks at The Boat (Not Bart), returning later for steak pies and chips. Tasty !
Forgot to show Fantastic progress of filling & rubbing down round rear bullseye. Repainting to follow.
Thursday 18th June Impressed with Penkridge. All them lovely shops including, amongst others (& visited by Bart’s Skippers) Sainsbury’s local, a good sized Co-op, one of two butchers (lovely pies), great little hardware store and an-Ab-Fab (& very busy) bakery. Anu and little darlings arrive after long drive from Epping (& school). Them butcher’s pies provide all with very Tasty din-dins. And, it has to be said – ‘The local Wildlife is A-Maz-Zing !! ‘
Friday 19th June What a fantastic day, enjoyed by all in Bart World. Barts ‘new’ crew assist with operating five locks as we pass through 7 miles of our wonderful green and pleasant countryside. A Fantastic cruise all the way. Even during the last hour when trying to find the most ideal mooring position we can, as we slowly trog & chug along.
Once safely moored, with all new & old (that means experienced) crew relaxed, we have a meat feast cooked on a very small barbeque. Skip manages OK. very tight squeeze with grub stacked & rotated regular-like. All cooked to perfection (Hopefully). Cannot believe it, but Somehow, all is eaten. Crew was hungry like. Or just plain greedy !! Me thinks me know which !!!
We settles down for the rest of the evening. Then a PROBLEM !!! presents itself to Bart World. The Toilet does-y-not-work. That causes concern in the ranks. BUT, it All adds to the experience of boating. We thinks.
Saturday 20th June This is what is commonly known as Toilet Day. Also quite soggy at times. Raining. Not wee-wee. Lengthy, continual (hopeful) manipulation of pipework to rear of toilet proves ‘fruitless’. Disconnection of toilet & removal from Bart is safest bet. Cut back area of undergrowth by towpath provides good work area for skip to investigate. Long day. Massiivvee lumps of hard lime scale in rubber pipes, Pan outlet ‘port’ & macerator is being the blockage-y-stuffy. Much magic spray, screwdriver gouging etc.. etc.. and some hours later the very hard areas of ‘growth’ are finally removed. This could have been building up for the last 15 years. Toilet is re-assembled & re-instated into prime location (inta bathroom) (yes we have a bath, in a ‘room’) (and a toilet again, that works). And it doesn’t leek. Another relief, with all those different pipe fittings. What an interesting day that was !!!! A good shower is required.
During Skip’s ‘Toilet Day’, the crew have been out. Taxied to Penkridge to collect the Epping Car (yes I said Epping. Don’t be rude). Then they visit cake shop (very important), Chippy (also very important) & finally, the chandlers, to add a ‘Porta Potti’ to Black Bart’s list of equipment.
as you might say.
After we is all lovely & clean & nice smelly again –
Off to the Fox & Anchor for Dinner.
Fab Food. Cheers Anu (& boys) !!!
Sunday 21st June !!! Happy Fathers Day to all those Fantastic Dads out there !!!
Recovery day, with a lovely cruise, making our way through the very cosy narrows south of Coven Heath. Tight passing points (fun with a 70′-er) with several oncoming narrowboats.
Very rude lady in her garden.
Not really acceptable behaviour.
Backing onto the Staffs & Worcs like that !!!
Very tight turn at Autherley Junction where Bart leaves the Staffs and Worcs behind. Just a brief return trip.
We descend the full 6 inches (Yes, you read write, as they say) of Autherly Stop lock, then join the water queue. One tap is needed by many.
After our wet delay Black Bart proceeds North. We are now on The Shroppie. The Shropshire Union Canal. Formally the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal. Bart propels & Swims her way beautifully, travelling 5 miles through those Shroppie waters, finally winding round after one failed attempt and mooring at Brewood for ta night.
Grooves worn into the bridge corner posts, created by ropes, when real horse power pulled boats along our wonderful canals. Great to see these historical links have not been lost. There be a strange doggy on board !!
lost her pocket
Kitty Fisher found it
Not a penny was there in it
but a ribbon round it
Monday 22nd June Our crew are deserting (or is that pudding) Bart today. After a very slow morning, and many hours searching for lost football (again) we finally clear Bart of her temporary crew. They have ‘all done very well’. But they must go. Be gone with you. Ciao Arriva’derci (submit lyk that anyway) as they say in some foreign lingo.
BUT, before they is off – The Bridge Inn Supplies fine ale, cider, g&t, juice and a strange hot watery, light brown liquid that falls short of it’s name. Cold replacement, in the name of ‘juice’ is salt. After waving our salty canal dogs off with sad faces on view, we make our escape from our deep, tree lined cutting, returning south to the Autherley, continuing on the Staffs & Worcs again.
A fine crews was had by the now cruise of twos. We are as we weres, before. Plus our wonderful poochy, of course, as always. She has been such a Fantastic hostess to our guests.
We pass on by Aldersley Junction where if you like, you can confront the 21 Wolverhampton locks. We don’t. Anywey, we continue South, to finalise in Compton, after descending 9′ deep said same name of lock (Compton that is). Weird that. Bart is 70′ long + button bow fender & 3 deep stern fender assembly. Lock was emptied very slowly, as Bart be over/past the cill markers on the lock walls. Not a good place for the stern to be. Glad our Bart is not any longer. All a wee bit cosy. All OK though. Great mooring position with our own vintage lights.
Tuesday 23rd June A Great cruise, many wonderful country sites, passing fields of poppies & descending a plethera of locks (tight in the length as they say in these parts) today.
Brindley’s talents are clear again for all to see during descent (or ascent, for others) of the Wonderful Bratch locks. Originally a staircase of 3 locks. Later modified to a flight of three locks.
After just thirteen locks during our Tuesday Travelling, we land in Swindon. Might not be the one you is thinking of.
Wednesday 24th June Black Bart has slipped her lines, cruising through this increasingly winding, bendy & woody canal. Soo many trees. Soo many woods. Mixed with all that fantastic sand stone that edges this waterway in so many places. Most impressive.
We cruise slowly, for good reason, through the afternoon, passing Stourton Junction, where the Stourbridge Canal could take us (on ‘another day’) to Stourbridge. You can also join the Dudley Canal, which ultimately feeds you to the BCNs. Black Bart is a BCN Replica. So we will definitely be floating along these historic waterways on a future cruise or two (or three +). To Be Continued………
We cruise through
the Longest ever (25 yards)
Finally Black Bart descends the ultimate lock of the day & we moor ‘in’ the wonderful village of Kinver.
Thursday 25th June A Walk through the delightful Kinver, continuing onto & up to the edge. That being Kinver Edge.
Fantastic Views. Well worth the walk. A wee bit overcast, although still quite warm. Helped, it wasn’t blazing sunshine (for those sweat glands), although then the pics & view would have been even clearer.
Then we make our way to the historic rock houses at Holy Austin. Most Impressive.
Upon return to Black Bart (via the butchers for The Best Pork Pie Ever & Even better Ribeye Steak) Old (1936) Lister (18/2) is started up. A Late afternoon jaunt along our current waterway companion flows us to just short of Kidderminster, where we find a fine lone (as mostly usual) mooring location for our Bart & her happy crew of three. Slightly soft towpath, three mooring pins, 1′ to 2′ off the bank, but hopefully we will still be in the same position in the morning.
Friday 26th June A wet start to the day, and as Bart hasn’t moved overnight we ‘hold tight’ until ’tis a likkle dryer & time is over the yard arm. Then a short propel into town for a larder restock (after reversing to a newly free mooring position).
Quick walk & then Bart swims her way through the last few miles of this
beautiful, if tight & curvy, tree-y lined watery flow.
Black Bart creeps slowly (Yes. Ticker-over Mate) (Correct. Most People do NOT understand those terms) past all the moored boats as we make the final approaches into the Waterway’s Town that be Stourport-on-Severn.
As we is making preparation for final entry as they say. Coming into moor (if you does not understand my friend), Sum lads is walking along the towpath ‘aving a chatter amungst themselves, like. Then one young lad makes a request to Skip of Black Bart. Can I jump the gap onto your boat mate ?? I say’s you might slip (I have been there myself you know) & hurt yourself. He asks again a cupola of tyms & I provide him with written permission with a disclaimer to sign. Upon completion of said legal document. He runs & leaps, not onto the gunnel as expected. No. He leaps onto the roof. I can step onto Bart’s roof (long legs you know), but not sure I’d trust myself to leap onto the roof of a moving Bart, 2 feeties away from the edge of a narrow towpath. He does. He Did. Then asks if he can walk along the roof. Permission granted, he does just that & then leaps back onto the towpath. Well Would You Believe It ?? We do. We saw it mate !!
Most Impressive. Unfortunately for you, Photographic evidence is unavailable at this current time.
Saturday 27th June Today We shall/did relax & take our wanderings & wonderings through the ‘istoric inland waterway town that is Stourport-on-Severn.
Sunday 28th June We is be leaving the Delightful Staffs & Worcs behind today. Leaving early (for us). Descending York Street Lock into Stourport Upper Basin, stopping ‘briefly’ for water. Then maneauvering Bart to & thru Clock Basin before descending the Basin Staircase Locks (x2) & HERE WE GO. The River Severn is our New Waterway Companion for a while. See you at the next Post.
Black Bart has cruised all 46 miles of the Beautiful, twisty & slightly woody Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal travelling thru 41 Narrow locks (+ the extra 2 double staircase Basin locks) including waving a passing Hello/Goodbye to a few canal junctions enroute & adding a brief ‘Barty Special’ return ticket excursion ‘up&down’ 5 miles & 1 narrow lock of The Shroppie.