This morning we were up and away by quarter past nine, and we had an easy hours cruise to Falling Sands Lock. As we headed towards Kidderminster we were so busy looking at the new Hoobrook Link Bridge that we almost missed seeing the Severn Valley Railway steam loco hauling a train over Falling Sands Viaduct, in fact, as you see, I missed the loco, but the timetable suggests it was No. 7802 Bradley Manor
Ex-Great Western Railway.
We had been following a hire boat at a distance and thus had to empty the locks before we could go through and on reaching Caldwell Lock I did the same but one of the bottom gates wouldn’t open fully so I fetched our long handled rake (or keb) to try to move the obstruction, unfortunately our rake’s handle is not as long as it was and was no where near long enough to reach so I poked around with our boat pole also to no avail.
At this point we were joined by another boater who produced a grappling hook, which he had made but never used before, and with that and the the rake tied to a rope a sunken log was finally retrieved from behind the gate. By this time there was quite a crowd around the lock as other boats had arrived. All the while we had been ringing the Canal & River Trust to report the problem in case we were unsuccessful, but they still hadn’t picked up the phone after 20minutes… How do you alert them of a real emergency?
From there on our journey was less eventful and we stopped outside Sainsburys in Kidderminster to do a top-up shop.
Wolverley Court Lock was in our favour and a kind lady boater opened the gates for us but the next four locks had to be turned as it transpired that we were following another hire boat.
At Wolverley Lock Joy brought the boat in through the road bridge and was surprised to see a crowd of people as she rose up in the lock as it is right next to ‘The Lock’ pub and there were tables either side of us, plus some kids having a canoeing lesson.
Then it was through Cookley Tunnel, this next section of canal is cut through sandstone outcrops in places and makes for some interesting boating.
We made steady progress reaching Kinver by 4:20, where we were again fortunate to take the mooring of a hire boat which was just leaving. Jade was pleased as she was able to go exploring here.
We were in front of a canal trader who makes fenders and sells rope and other boaty essentials and I persuaded Joy to buy me a present, but more of that later in the week.