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Following on from my previous blog, this second part picks up on the Droitwich Barge Canal.
On the way up to Droitwich, it was good to see reeds had been dredged out over the winter and placed behind new nicospan (see photo) – so much cheaper than carting it away. And the towpath wall saplings which had been so over prominent last summer had been cut right down. I later gathered the stumps had been treated to prevent re-growth.
Monday morning saw the start of the return journey. This was clearly a charity walking day as we saw what seemed like 100s of walkers. Richard helped me back down the wide locks to Hawford – where I noticed the visitor moorings above the second lock (see photo below).
Problem then arose when we found the engine’s cooling water system wasn’t working properly. So I came back up the River on tickover to Stourport where my friendly engineer was able to solve the problem. Again, I got help from a watching family in working the four locks up from the River – a good way of engaging with three generations.
At Kidderminster by 9 on the Tuesday, I collected some passengers. Members of the Staffs & Worcs Canal Society Committee had been concerned about offside tree growth and had accepted my invitation to come and see for themselves the outcome of the winter’s work. I also had the Trust’s Nick Leech (the local vegetation etc contracts manager) so he could explain what had been done. This also enabled him to hear the Society’s views (including on towpath cutting); to see for himself from the viewpoint of being on a boat, not the towpath; and also to demonstrate his boat handling prowess.
It was windy, gusty day, so it wasn’t surprising when - almost at the end of our journey – a tree fell from neighbouring land onto overhead power lines. We got safely past – within the hour, Western Power had teams there to deal with it.
John Dodwell was formerly one of our 10 trustees. 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!