Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Saturday 29 October 2011

Sunshine and shadows

was a very wet day, but we nevertheless journeyed on doing the remaining 3 locks on the Droitwich Canal onto the River Severn where we turned round and started the return trip.
J wasn't keen on being out in the wet, so busied herself inside making biscuits and baking some bread. Yummy! We moored up for the night in the Droitwich basin, lighting the fire nice and early and playing scrabble for the evening.
7 miles, 11 locks

This was how Droitwich basin looked as we untied on Friday morning
We were sure the sun would make it through the mist eventually.  
It did, and when we got to the top locks we were rewarded with this...
Here we used the side ponds, saving half a lock full of water from disappearing down the flight.

From here too you get a view of the new Marina, work in progress, due to open in the Spring.

At Hanbury junction we turned towards Birmingham and worked the 5 locks at Astwood where we met my brother who had driven up from Sussex to collect J. After lunch together we waved them off and set off again to get to the bottom of the Tardebigge flight for the night.
6 miles, 19 locks, 3 bridges

So today we tackled the 30 locks of the Tardebigge flight plus the top lock of the Stoke flight.  We got the the bottom of the Tardebigge locks at 8.30am, not so misty today, sun was shining already.
We only passed 3 boats all the way, some locks were for us and some against and we did the whole flight in exactly 3 hours. Phew. The 8th lock of the flight was our 1000th lock of our trip! Should have celebrated somehow, but the next lock was waiting...
I took these photos last evening when we walked the flight to get a proper look around.

The old pumping station on the way up the flight

Tardebigge Wharf

At the top of the locks is this memorial to the decision to form the IWA (Inland Waterways Association) made by Tom Rolt and Robert Aikman in 1948.
The susnset viewed last night from the Reservoir over the canal and flight.
Tonight we are moored at Alvechurch where we shall go to church tomorrow.
5 1/2 miles, 31 locks, 2 tunnels
Today's autumn pic.

Wednesday 26 October 2011


Unusually I only took one photo yesterday as we travelled from Worcester to Hanbury Wharf. It was another beautiful day, with some lovely scenery and 14 locks on the way.
This was the photo of the day.
9 miles, 14 locks, 1 tunnel

This morning we started out along the newly opened Droitwich Canal, going down the locks with help from the lock-keeper.  There are side ponds to help save water which is a rarity nowadays. Just below the 3rd lock is the site of the huge Droitwich marina, dug out and with mooring pontoons going in.
The next locks were a newly built staircase of two. Then the canal takes a new route and goes under the M5 in a narrow tunnel.
The canal runs through Droitwich in a linear park, Vines Park, quite attractively with three swing bridges linking the housing and church area with the main part of town.
 Droitwich is again a salt manufacturing town, like Middlewich, Nantwich etc.
Salt making statue
The canals (Barge canal and Junction canal) were therefore built to transport salt produced from the natural brine springs in the town. Droitwich barges were wide and travelled down to the River Severn where they went under sail to Bristol.
Circular weir
The canal is often lined with reeds, so looks a bit rivery. The light this evening was lovely.
Taken at 16.50pm still wonderful blue skies as the sun begins to go down.
This shot was J's idea.  Good one J.
At the last lock of the day at Porters Mill the autumn colours were fantastic.
6 miles, 13 locks, 1 tunnel

Monday 24 October 2011

Sailing the Severn

We arrived back in Stourport and on board Tacet last night, after a few days back in Sussex visiting family and to bring back  J with us for the half term holiday.
So this morning after returning the hire car and stocking up the cupboards we were ready to leave at 10.45.
Stourport has 5 basins and the one you enter from the Staffs and Worc canal is this one with the lovely clock tower on the warehouse.

There are wide locks and  narrow staircase locks leading down from the basins to the River Severn. 
Next to the basin there is a permanent fun fair, maybe this has fallen off one of the rides!
 On the other side is the grand Tontine building, now converted into flats, previously an hotel. I'm not sure if it once was a canal building.

 (Have had a bit of a search and found this from Andrew Denney "The Tontine Hotel was constructed as the Areley Inn in 1772 and gave accommodation to merchants and travellers. It was a grand place with a ballroom and several reception rooms."
How did the Tontine Hotel come to be called?  A Tontine Will is defined here- it's effectively when a group of men pool their inheritances and the last man standing gets the lot. 
Out onto the River and we first of all went up the the limit of the navigation before turning round and making our way down to Worcester.

 The locks on the Severn are all manned, at this time of year between 8am and 4pm.
A grand view of Worcester Cathedral from the river.

The River Severn from the top of the Cathedral tower.
Tonight we are moored on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal at Diglis Basin.
11 miles, 10 locks

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Straight on to Stourport

We made an early(ish) start this morning, there was a crisp autumn chill in the air although bright and sunny.
Cookley tunnel with the village over top.
At Debdale lock there was a wall of sandstone beside us,
a wall with a hole in it,
on closer inspection, its quite a big space inside,
it may have been used as stabling for the towing horses or for shelter by the navvies. Another example of the soft sandstone rock being used for living in. The air temperature inside was noticeably warmer than outside even in the sun.
The attractive view of St. Mary's Church in Kidderminster above the town lock. We stopped here for lunch and a quick look around the shops in town before moving on to Stourport. Looking out on the way for a safe spot to leave Tacet for a few days while we go visiting family for a few days. A pleasant surprise, we have the choice of 3 different spots of 5 day mooring, easliy accessible for picking up the hire car. Great.

10 miles, 7 locks, 1 tunnel

Monday 17 October 2011


Today the sun was hiding behind the clouds, we had a few glimpses, and a few showers too.
On the way down to Kinver we came through Hyde lock, the lock cottage was pretty and well kept.
Did you notice the gates to the cottage, let me show you up closer...
Aren't they good!
We stopped at Kinver and walked up to Kinver Edge a large sandstone rock ridge covered in gorse and heather. As we walked up there were some light showers of rain but as we got to the top the sun came out again giving great views in all directions.
framed by a rainbow.
At Holy Austin Rock there are these lovely rock houses. Built into the sandstone, people have lived in rock caves here since the 1600's. And these rock houses were lived in 'til the 1960's.

In its hey-day 11 families lived in a warren of whitewashed rooms on 3 levels. After they were abandoned in 1967 they fell into decay.  They have now been restored by the National Trust and are open to visitors from Thursday to Sunday, so we missed the chance to see inside.
The houses had a parlour, bedroom, and store room. Being cut into the rock meant they were cool in summer and warm in winter.

7 miles, 7 locks, 1 tunnel