Thursday, 1 June 2017

Dunhampstead (don’t think we’ll be stopping long)

My objectives for Wednesday were to get back out into the countryside and to work out possible mooring locations for the next few weeks.  I was successful at the first objective but failed disappointingly at the second.

Cruising through a place called Oddingley – to me this is being in the countryside - well, I pretend I'm in a jungle

First, I had eight locks to negotiate to take us out of the final suburbs of Worcester.  As with yesterday every lock was set against me but at the final lock there was a volunteer lock keeper who did the work for me.  I didn’t’ even get off the boat, although Buddy did.  As soon as we go through the bottom gates, he leaps off and climbs the old lock steps and waits patiently at the top of the lock.

Buddy waiting for me to bring the boat in

I stopped at the final lock for a while and had a chat with the lock keeper who had some interesting stories to tell.  Mainly about his younger days when he used to live on a boat and tour the country like we’re doing.  Soon after leaving him we went under the M5 motorway bridge.

M5 motorway bridge…

…shortly followed by open countryside

We were then in peace and solitude for the rest of the cruise; no boats, no walkers and no cyclists.  We stopped for lunch at Tibberton and ended up staying a while as it was so quiet and pleasant.

Stopped for lunch

I then cruised onto Dunhampstead where I knew we could moor and, if there was nowhere for Karen to park easily, she could always leave the car in the pub car park overnight.  It could always give us an excuse to have a cheeky Wednesday drink.

Water irises out in full bloom now

Moored at Dunhampstead

I walked over to the pub to see if dogs are allowed and, surprisingly, especially for a country pub, they were only allowed in the garden.  I must admit that that usually puts us off and we don’t bother visiting, but by the time Karen gets back between eight and nine Buddy will be fast asleep anyway.

A bit later I got talking to a boat mechanic who has a residential mooring near us and he told me that the pub is quite strange as they don’t allow dogs and are not really boater friendly.   Considering there is only the pub and about four houses you would think they would make more of an effort to get the passing boat trade.  Mind you, at about seven o’clock a hire boat pulled up and eight people got off to go for a meal at the pub.

Buddy and I went for a six mile walk in the afternoon – our longest for nearly a week.  We carried on walking up the canal to check out other mooring spots.  I was particularly keen that we got to Hanbury Junction where the Droitwich canal goes off to the west through Droitwich to the River Severn.

Poppies on the canal bank

The church and a house at Hadzor – the only buildings I could see

Karen and I last went through Hanbury Junction in March 2015 and we both recalled that it was nice and quiet and would be ideal to stop for a week or two especially as my sister is visiting this coming weekend.  We both also seemed to remember that there would be lots of places to park a car.  We were so wrong; the main road was busy and had yellow lines on it; I presume because of the two pubs there.  The only places we could moor for more than a day would be right next to the road.  I walked around the area but could find nowhere suitable for parking cars.

As Judith and Nigel are coming to visit this weekend it looks like I’ll have to carry on cruising on Thursday to find somewhere else.  Looking at Google Earth it seems that if I go up the five locks at Astwood that there could be good parking on a country road.  Failing that it’s carrying on to Stoke Prior where I know mooring and parking is fine.  The trouble with that is that it’s at the bottom of the 35 locks on the Tardebigge flight and we didn’t want to go up those for a few weeks.  

Oh well, it looks like I’ll be cruising up and down this stretch of canal for a while.  It doesn’t really bother me as there are plenty of good walks and the boat mechanic I met earlier in the afternoon pointed some out to me too.  The main thing is, I hope that the journey to work is not too long for Karen as we are still a fair way from Leam.

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