The original plan was to come down the River Severn, join the Droitwich Canals, go through the first two locks and then find a mooring spot.
Leaving Stouport on Severn was relatively straight forward. We filled up with water, diesel and made sure our anchor was ready to deploy.
The only slight thing we had to deal with was a rather shouty female boater. She wanted BOTH staircases (all 4 locks in total) completely empty of other boats so she could proceed up…. The bottom staircase had someone going down so we entered the top staircase (there was a pound you could easily pass other boats in between the two). I think it is fair to say she wasn’t a happy bunny. There was no boat waiting to come up, no people waiting at the locks so as far as we were concerned it was all clear for us to proceed…. Anyway we did, then waited for them to come up the bottom staircase… I also re-filled the top lock so it was all set up ready for them. Hopefully she now understands that a pound in the middle does mean it’s ok for two boats to pass each other..
Continuing our journey…
It seemed strange (and a bit scary to start with) being on the river with its HUGE locks. We had our newly acquired anchor, lifting at the ready and lifejackets on…
It was, however, very relaxing and quiet. We passed some kayak’s who were kayak camping and I think only 2 other boats on the whole river section.
We were travelling the same direction as the water flow so this was (for us) quite a fast 8 miles. Phill kept the engine revs at our normal 1,200 and we took the time to take in some of the views.
We past a couple of pubs that did have moorings but decided to carry on, a decision I was really pleased about a few hours later !
After leaving the River Severn we joined the Droitwich Canals and were immediately in to double locks.
These locks are hard work. The gates are heavy and the paddles just seemed to take all my weight and effort to shift them.
The Canal is lovely, very scenic and quiet. Along the whole length of the canal I think we only had 3 boats pass us. What they don’t tell you in the book is that it is very difficult to find anywhere to moor. If you don’t moor immediately above Hawford Top Lock when you leave the river you will have quite a way to go before you can moor. In the whole length of the canal (excluding lock landings) there were only about 3 places we could have moored.
As you go through Droitwich itself there are swing bridges as well as locks. This includes a swing bridge over a lock that you need to open before you enter the lock.
The Droitwich Canal has only relatively recently been restored, one thing they forgot about was boaters. There is one water point just as you come in to Droitwich and that is it. I think if there were moorings actually in Droitwich (not just a space outside a pub) then more boaters would come this way. They may even spend their money in the town rather than see it as a stretch that you just need to carry on through.
Most of the canal is lined on both sides by reeds with spaces cut for fishermen.
The lack of mooring spaces meant that in the one day we ended up covering 16 miles (and 16 locks) rather than the 8-10 we had hoped for. This also meant it was getting dark by the time we moored. (I was glad we hadn’t stopped at the pub for a late lunch !)
The M5 Bridge..
The canal also goes under the M5 and this is a VERY low bridge. So low that the front edge of our cratch cover kept catching on the joins between the concrete slabs that make up the roof. Luckily we had very little damage but I do understand why the CRT have padlocked off some of the gate paddles on the locks above it; boats could easily get stuck if the water level rose by a centimetre or so !!!
Although it was quite a pretty canal I wasn’t sorry to leave it and turn on to the Worcester and Birmingham Canal. 😊