Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Lock Marathon


In the last few weeks we have left for travelling on board Tacet, we have in mind to visit a few places we want to see again or canals that we have only travelled along in one direction, so whilst we are returning to the Northampton / Milton Keynes area where we started out from in March 2011, it will not be a direct route.



Leaving Birmingham yesterday afternoon we took the Worcester and Birmingham Canal out of Gas Street Basin down to King’s Norton Junction, with it’s toll house complete with the listed toll charges for travelling through laden with anything from lime to manure or flour.

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We passed Bourneville on the way, the garden village built by Mr Cadbury for his workers. Part of the factory could just be seen above the hedges and across the railway.


From here to Worcester is a section we have done just once up from the River Severn.  The long Tardebigge flight of locks is along here and we wanted to do these again, but this time downhill. 

Last night we moored at Alvechurch, arriving as it got dark at 6.30pm.


We decided against a visit to the town this morning, thinking if all went well we would try to get to Droitwich, so we could find somewhere for church tomorrow.  After negotiating two tunnels there would be quite a few locks to work………

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Tardebigge top lock and plaque to note Tom Rolt and Robert Aikman meeting here to found the Inland Waterways Association. 

The Tardebigge flight is 30 locks……….

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It was dry, the sun veiled by cloud so not too hot, just right for locking. We got into a good system, I went ahead and set the lock, while Ian worked the boat through, and I walked back to close up.  However this means I walked the flight 3 times! But it was efficient and we caught up with the boat in front of us who had been setting the locks against us. We met just 2 boats coming up, one a new Alvechurch hire boat with gleaming paintwork, but no windows or interior fit-out. The two boatyard guys were allowed 3 hours to get up from Stoke works to Alvechurch.


After Tardebigge, the Stoke flight of 6 locks………..and the Astwood flight of 6 locks………….





Astwood lock is very pretty even in the rain. We had a heavy shower down this flight.






Then the turn at Hanbury Junction onto the Droitwich canal, re-opened in 2011, here the sun came out through the rain, as we came down the first 3 locks, remembering to use the side ponds as we went.P1050464














The marina is now well occupied, it was still under construction when we came past 2 years ago.





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Under the M5 in a VeRY low tunnel.





and through the barge lock in Droitwich with the light fading fast.

then there were 3 swing bridges to turn before we moored up in the basin at 6.30.





PHeWW what a good day’s work, and an interesting journey, just 11 miles but with tunnels, bridges, autumn colours, lovely countryside and just a few locks…………..50 in all.

Friday   Birmingham – Alvechurch, 10.5 miles, 2 tunnels

Saturday   Alvechurch – Droitwich Spa, 11.5 miles, 3 tunnels, 3 bridges, 50 locks (9 hours)