Last night we ate at the King's Head, right by the canal. We went early enough for the two courses for £11 offer, and the food was very good. Afterwards we had a walk round the marina, and tried to ascertain how many more flats had been built since we visited by car a couple of years ago. We also noted with some dismay that an ex-OwnerShips boat was moored on the pump out point, right in front of at least two signs saying 30 mins only, and no overnight mooring.
This morning we had a rather disjoined and unsatisfactory start to the day. I reversed past the boat behind us to the next gap, opened the pump out point and established that the pipe wouldn't reach. We really needed a pump out, because although the descaler we used has worked wonders on the loo, it hasn't agreed at all with our tank! So, at 8.15 on a Sunday morning, I was knocking on the roof of the ex-OwnerShips, asking if they wouldn't mind moving. I think they were almost expecting it; they moved round the corner onto the disabled mooring!
Having moved back so we could connect the pump out pipe, we discovered that we couldn't get the machine to work. Whether it was a power problem or whether the card bought yesterday was duff we don't know. They guys at the chandlery round the corner, who sell the cards, said it a new pump had been installed last week as the last one was unreliable, but they weren't responsible. Of course there's no lock keeper around these days, so we gave up. Instead, we rang Viking at Worcester Marina to see if they were open, which they were.
So we set off up the locks. The first is Sidbury Lock, next to the Commandery, complete with bridge art of pikes and helmets. The canal was full of rubbish: lots of plastic bottles here, and further up we fished out a cushion and then a big piece of wood, which looked like a fishing platform.
To get into Worcester Marina you have to wind, as the entrance is angled backwards. The staff were very friendly and helpful, even though there were turning around several hire boats, and we took the opportunity of filling up with diesel and replacing a gas bottle too. There's a great sign on the exit from the basin; we particularly liked the use of the word 'yet'.
Continuing up the locks, we hit a problem above Lock 7, with a very low pound. I had to run some water down so we could get out of the lock, then a bit more so Adrian could get Briar Rose over some obstruction in the water. Adrian phoned the mobile number given for the lock keeper and left a message. He phoned back a few minutes later, and said they'd send someone to sort it out.
At the six Offerton Locks, most were in our favour; we had to turn just two. We did all six in fifty minutes. We had help from a grandmother with her grandson and granddaughter, who followed our progress and got quite excited when they were allowed to help open and close gates. At the top, we stopped for lunch at the moorings at Tibberton.
This afternoon, we had no locks at all, just a short tunnel at Dunhampstead. There are some great houses by the canal, including this one near Bridge 31.
We're a bit disappointed that the Droitwich Canals aren't quite open yet. If they had been, we'd have gone down. Instead, we had to go past the junction, although we noticed that the chain which had been slung across the Droitwich Junction Canal was no longer there.
We stopped for the night just short of Astwood Bottom Lock. I'd thought all afternoon that the steering was a bit off, so we went down the weedhatch once we'd stopped, and pulled out a couple of plastic bags and a load of foliage. This mooring appears to be out in the country, but there's a background roar from the M5, the railway like isn't far away, and the trees are full of squawking birds; in short, this one one of the noisiest moorings of the trip!
10 miles, 14 locks. (115 miles, 118 locks)