It was another rather chilly but sunny morning and once again mist rolled across the canal as we set off to continue our journey down towards Stourport and the River Severn.
At Whittington Lock No 10 filling the lock caused a new fog bank to be created and it was rather odd to watch it rising into the sky from inside the lock, but by then the sun was starting to burn off all the mist and by the time we reached Austcliffe Bridge No 24 most of the mist had gone. The Austcliffe is still quite impressive but nowhere near as impressive as it used to be when it really overhung the canal. It’s a pity they had to chop so much of the rock off but you can understand why they did it.
Cowley Tunnel takes, according to the notice at its end, 3 minutes to navigate, which considering its only 65 yards long means that they think you are only doing 1300 yard per hour…which comes out at 0.73 miles per hour! Some mistake surely?
By the time you reach Wolverley Lock No 8 you are on the outskirts of Kidderminster but it’s not until well after Wolverley Court Lock No 7 that the town makes it’s presence felt and the houses along side the canal might be a bit derivative but they’re a lot better than the industrial wasteland that used to be there.
Kidderminster Lock No 6always feels a bit odd – above the lock is the church on the hill
and below the lock is the grimness of Kidderminster:
Although I will admit that it has improved an awful lot since one of our earlier trips through the town and they’ve managed to keep some of the industrial heritage as well:
But like your entrance to the town the exit is as equally abrupt and even though you are still in the town (and the antivandal keys on the locks are obviously there for a good reason) by the time you reach Caldwell Lock No 5 you feel that you’re actually back in the countryside.
At Falling Sands Lock No 4 we met someone who was walking from John O’Groats to Land’s End just for fun – her route was going to be about 1000 miles and she had already been out for 5 weeks. She was carry a tent with her so we assumed she was camping over night. We asked her why she was doing it and she said it was something that had been in her mind for a while so she just decided to do it.
Stourport has a nick name “The Blackpool of the Midlands”. Well it’s not quite tacky for that but they were certainly giving it a good go. Working through the narrow locks down to the Severn was not the most pleasant experience due to our encounter with someone who could only be described as a stereotype, and it’s the first time any of us have been threatened by another boater. He moors his boat there so I guess he’s part of what makes the place live up to its reputation.
There seemed to be quite a flow on the river and we made extremely good time down to Lincomb Lock which we shared with a boat out from Starline. Coming past Lenchford Ferry one of the various buzzards we’d seen flying about decided to settle on top of a building and posed for photos.
We stopped for the night at the pub which has lots of moorings but boats with low gunwhales might need to pick their spot carefully to stop any possibility of getting trapped if the water levels rise.