On Wednesday I travelled down Lapworth 18 in about three hours. I passed about a dozen boats coming up and had the help of four Trust staff.
The staff who helped me were Adam Comerford, who lives by the Grand Union Canal in Warwick and works at Hatton as head of hydrology - that's water supply and control to you and I. Also Leeds-based Jenny Whitehill, national own moorings manager. Both experienced boaters. Also newly joined Lindsay Milner and Pearl Smith from the Brum-based fundraising team - now they know a bit of what boating is about.
We stopped at the bottom of the flight for tea - we'd had sandwiches on the go down the flight. Admired the Lapworth yard buildings and a nearby barrel vaulted cottage. Then north up the Grand Union Canal and Knowle Locks where they all left. Goodness, some of those Knowle paddles were stiff!
Thursday: I was single-handed today. Left about noon, stopping on the way at Katie Barnes to shop - and pick blackberries. Towpath nicely cut all the way. I could see where the spot dredger had been active. Went down Camp Hill locks following a single handed guy delivering a boat from Crick to central Brum - he wasn't used to the area so I showed him to way to Ashted Locks. Four boys helped me down Garrison Locks by opening/shutting gates and I let them raise paddles. I think it's a good idea to engage with the local youth - no point in their thinking the canal is not for them.
John Dodwell is one of our 10 volunteer trustees, who carry responsibility for the charity’s policies and strategies. He owns Helen, a 51ft old BCN tug/icebreaker which draws 3ft and is based near Stourbridge, West Midlands. His waterways interest goes back to the early 1960s.
John’s been involved in the waterways since the early 1960s and he enjoys all aspects of the waterways. To pick out one oddity, he was pleased and surprised to see about a dozen herons this June around the BCN Main Line, including two under the M6 motorway!See more blogs from John Dodwell