Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Red Paddle, Blue Paddle

No, we didn’t go up the Wolverhampton Flight - we are still on the Staffs & Worcester Canal making our way to Stourport.   We are now moored at Swinton having passed through  Compton, Wightwick and Wombourne.   Last Monday was like the “olden days”!   We only did about 2.5 miles but went through 8 locks!!   Including the 3 at The Bratch and the 2-lock staircase at Botterham.   

Stopped for a supplies replenish at the Sainsburys in Wombourne which is right by the canal so very handy.    There was a lock-keeper at The Bratch to help boaters as it could be quite daunting for first timers as you have to be careful about opening paddles although there is plenty of info how to work them with blue and red paintings on each set as there are side pounds in use here.  According to Nicholsons ---- with their octagonal toll office, attractive situation and unusual layout, these three locks are well known among students of canal engineering and architecture.   At first sight they appear curiously illogical, with an impossibly short pound between the bottom of one lock and the top gate of the next; but the secret of their operation is the side ponds hidden behind the towpath hedge, and the culverts that connect these to the intermediate pounds.”

Hurray - first ducklings sighted --- we must be the last boaters to find them as they were a good 3 weeks later than our first 2 years on Jandai !

It’s quite a nice mooring here - 3 pubs, little supermarket, bakery and a chippie.   We’ve been spoilt for this delicacy lately as we had a fish ‘n’ chip supper when moored at Compton last Thursday night.   Good width of towpath with a proper path although not had much opportunity to take advantage as, like everywhere else, we have had lots of April showers and a huge amount of the wet stuff today.

Since last blog we have done … 10 miles and  15 locks
Total since Setting Off ….. 1722 miles and  1339 locks  

unusual bridge at Awbridge Lock 

Awbridge Lock where BW have erected
temporary scaffolding as a safety barrier.
Noticed this on most locks coming down
Staff and Worcs from Autherley Junction.
Last year a youngster rode his bike over the
admittedly very very narrow bridge and fell into the canal.
BW were not blamed by the subsequent inquest but
have obviously felt it morally right to put up
the barriers.   We understand they will be putting up more
permanent barriers but they have to be
"in keeping" with the rest of the lock

Warning notice near The Bratch top lock moorings

The Bratch Top Lock ----
look at the sky!!   Moments before a hail storm!

Blue paddle

Red paddles

What a wonderful step structure at The Bratch Locks

Side pounds at The Bratch

The octagonal toll office at The Bratch Locks


  1. Have BW mended the middle gates at Botterham staircase? We came down there 2 years ago and nearly had a flooded boat due to leaking gates. I couldn't get our 69ft hire boat far enough forward to avoid the torrent from between the gates and had to use an umbrella to deflect the water away from our back deck. Very funny looking back now, but a bit scary at the time!

    Keep up the blogging


  2. hiya Alistair
    They must have cos we didn't have any problems at all and there's loads of water about at the moment!

  3. Yes, plenty of water here, too. The weir on the Thames at Abingdon is 90% open and the river is fast and high, just over the banks above the bridge. And I'm not allowed to use a hose-pipe!!!