Monday 20 July 2020

So where are all these boats?

We had been alone moored here at Wightwick I don't know what it is about these moorings,  (Its pronounced Whittick, remember we are in The Black Country here and they speak different), but close to the moorings is a shortish stretch with several bends and motorbikes must come from miles around to drive as fast as they can and as noisily as they can.  I hope they all carry Organ Donation Cards......

I had wanted to visit the gardens here, but they were sold out for the online tickets that is all they have due to Covid19.  We will try to go another time.

But after a wet night we set off about mid morning.  This below is the second lock you come to after the first one. 


This is Ebstree Lock.

One great feature of this Canal, is that on virtually all locks there is a wee bridge to make locking so much quicker and to preserve energy in middle aged Lock wheelers (me).
But this one has a trick up its sleeve in that you have to be a waif to get past the lock gate arms.  Were canal folk so underfed back in the 1760's one asks oneself? 

Its a gorgeous run through here and along to the Bratch Locks.  Though this gap in the hedge you get an idea of the rolling hills and dense woodland that makes the West Midlands so very very very attractive.  But please don't tell anyone, let the masses hike off to the South of France.

Bratch Locks, today the Lock Keeper said they had been busy but we hadn't seen a single boat moving.

Soon after Bratch Locks is the Botterham Staircase flight.  These were a bit tough to open so David and I swapped over and he did some work.  Obviously I had to supervise him.

Three pretty deep locks in a row, this is the first one.

With a Staircase Flight, its a wee bit different to operate, first thing you do is read the instruction board, the second thing is to read it again because you think they have made a 
mistake.....  But you need to fill the top lock to go into, then empty the second, so the first lockful of water goes down with you and you don't flood the surrounding areas...  It was muddy in places so someone had done exactly that. 

My view as I exited the first chamber.  He's doing alright so far.

So this was David, being checked by me as he emptied the second chamber, anyway, he emptied it and that was correct.  He is not keen on being supervised.

Todays Pretties

Pretty fluffy white stuff with bee.

I do prefer the pink flowers on brambles.

As a child I think this was what my grandmother called Tansey.

Comfrey thank you Debby, purple, anyone know?

It was a bit longer day than I would have chosen and we finally stopped at Swindon.  The only boat on the often full visitor moorings.  A sunny end to the day but chilly.

Supper was wild salmon with broccoli and peas.


  1. They probably were underfed in the 1760s — but also they wouldn’t have had the safety rail there. These were installed just a few years ago after a boy was killed falling off one of the bridges at Stourport.

    And there are only two locks in the Botterham staircase, so if you saw a third chamber you must have started drinking quite early!

  2. Hi Lisa, nice to see you the other day if only briefly! Your pink and purple pretty is comfrey, the bees love it
    Debby x

    1. Thank you Debby for naming the unknown.

      I'm always sorry when we pass by people at inconvenient places and times etc.
      Next time though we will make sure we can stop and gas.

  3. Dear Adam,e
    We candcan from that David can read and I can't count. The truth is that I hadn't been drinking, but now after editing I have had to have a big one.
    Thank you as always for fact checking, I suppose that's journalists for you,


  4. I think the white stuff is meadow sweet which smells lovely. So good to see you helming too!! xx

  5. I think the white stuff is Meadow Sweet. Smells lovely. So pleased to see you are helming. Ax