Thursday, 17 May 2012

Down the River to Droitwich

Ken, an old boating chum from the 'seventies hire boat trips, arrived at half-past nine. With some sea-going experience, he checked my anchor arrangements and suggested a few improvements! Then it was down the staircases - where I was able to put into practice the lessons learned from watching other boaters efforts at the offset angle of approach to the bottom pair and onto the river.
Lincomb lock
The locks on the Severn seem huge by comparison with the narrow canals, but they are 'keeper-operated and the only problem is in manoeuvring both ends of the boat close enough to the wall to allow front and back ropes to be threaded through the hawsers at the same time. 

In what seemed like no time we were at the bottom lock of the Droitwich Barge Canal, but as I

Entrance to the Barge Canal from the river

approached the junction and made ready to turn, a boat that had been moored on the pontoon suddenly untied and set off at a rate of knots. I assumed at first he was just trying to assert his "turn" at the lock, but no, he just cut straight across my path, headed up river and forced me to make a less-than-optimum approach myself!

The Droitwich restoration has taken a long time - it started in 1973  - but it's been well-worth the wait.
On the Barge Canal
It does require at least a mild sense of adventure, particularly if, like mine, your guide book shows it as "unnavigable". My copy of Nicholson's also numbered the locks but not the bridges whilst on the ground it was the other way round so that we didn't always know what to expect around the next corner. It tooks us most of the afternoon to get to Droitwich where we tied up on the pontoons in Netherwich Basin, which is overlooked by the Droitwich to Stoke Prior railway line and thus qualified for inclusion in my (notional) list of "moorings for trainspotters", although the absence of overnight trains and heavy freight relegates it to the second division!


Sarah said...

The Droitwich Canals Trust have produced a guide to the canals. Unfortunately I can't find any trace of it on their website... If we'd have thought of it you could have borrowed mine.

I hope you went to/are going to the Hollybush in Stourport!

Anonymous said...

Yes went to Hollybush - they had a beer festival on. Tried to get to the Gardeners in Droitwich but couldn't drag my mate past the Hop Pole!