Canal Holiday: Avon Ring
9-10 June 2006, Days 7 & 8: Worcester to Stoke Prior
As our canal journey around the Avon Ring begins to draw to a close, we have
returned to the narrow canals which are so much more intimate and somehow more
friendly than the less forgiving rivers.
Craig taking the boat through lock 5 on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal
While Lucy and Stephen work the lock
Lucy looking cheerful at the helm, as our week of good weather on the Avon Ring continues
The crew on the towpath has now grown as Stephen takes his turn at the tiller.
As we climb through Offerton Locks, suddenly we become aware that the end of the
Avon Ring holiday is nearing, and the number of locks to share around those wanting to
drive through them is limited.
Lucy, Helen, Sheila, Alan and Merry at one of the Offerton locks
Helen and Lucy working the lock
Merry takes a turn at the tiller, and her first lock of the holiday. No problem!
Sheila, Helen, Craig and Alan prepare lock 15.
We moored at Tibberton and made the most of the tiny post office and village
stores - the range was limited but very good given the size of the store, and
the service very friendly. We had lunch at the Bridge Inn, where they were
failing to cope with a new menu. Of our seven meals, five arrived wrong or
incomplete, and all were very slow (an hour for sandwiches?).
The church and manor house at Oddingley look delightful from the canal
The verdant entrance to Dunhampstead tunnel, the fifth and last of the Avon
When Lucy and Stephen last passed Hanbury Wharf, in 1999, Elizabeth Austin
was here, moored next to Lewcy, making a very close attempt at Lucy's
then full name. Lewcy has gone, and Elizabeth Austin is now four
years out of date!
Lucy carefully steers past the moored boats and perhaps the most inland
lighthouse in Britain as she heads for Bridge 35.
Looking under the towpath bridge down the course of the Droitwich Junction
Canal, now under restoration.
Helen and Alan as we start the Astwood Locks
Lucy and Sheila lock-wheeling
Lucy waits for the lock to fill at Astwood Top Lock.
Alan and Helen have swapped roles. Last lock today, and the penultimate
one of the Avon Ring.
Total today: 14½ miles and 18 locks.
We moored overnight at Stoke Works, with six other Black Prince boats in what
must be a weekly occurrence. We made a moderately early getaway, and only two
boats were ahead of us. Here we wait under bridge 44 for lock 23 to finish
Merry, Helen, Lucy and Alan wait while Stephen brings Elsa into the lock.
Looking the other way, the moored boats at Stoke Wharf are at journey's end.
So, the end of the Avon Ring.
Another excellent holiday, and once again we were very lucky with the weather
(almost too lucky - it was rather hot). Plans are already being developed for
Total today on the Avon Ring: 1 mile and 1 lock.
Holiday total: 115½ miles and 128 locks, 3 lift bridges and 5 tunnels.