Canal Holiday: Avon Ring
3 June 2006, Day 1: Stoke Prior to Tardebigge
The Avon Ring was the choice for this year's annual bellringers' fourth canal holiday (fifth
if you count the day trip) - and Stephen's 22nd. With a boat from Black Prince at Stoke Prior,
eight of us set off, taking the Worcester &
Birmingham Canal north then the Stratford-upon-Avon canal south-east to
Stratford, then the River Avon to Tewkesbury, the River Severn north to
Worcester, and then the W&B back to Stoke Prior.
After a generously proportioned and good quality but slow meal at the Navigation
at Stoke Prior, we took over possession of Elsa for our week on the Avon
Lucy at the helm of Elsa as we begin our way up through the 34 locks that
face us this afternoon.
Sheila, Alan, Merry and Jane working one of the locks.
Lucy steers the boat on towards the next lock as the crew walks between locks.
Unfortunately the two other Black Prince boats that had set off immediately
before us were much slower than us at working the locks. While canal boating
isn't a race, it is frustrating to be held up for hour after hour after hour. On
a country road most slower drivers would pull over after a few hours to let
those behind pass, but this doesn't seem to be the done thing on the canals. Not
with the boats we catch up, anyway!
Alan at the tiller as we continue our progress on this beautiful June evening.
Sheila and Lucy empty the lock ready for Elsa
Looking up to the next lock
From the banks of the reservoir towards the top of the Tardebigge locks. At this
point Stephen has gone ahead to prepare the locks ahead of the remaining slow
boat, which suddenly doubled our rate of progress.
Looking the other way up the locks and across the reservoir.
Someone else at work.
We eventually moored up just after nine o'clock, by which time we were ready for
our shepherd's pie! Six hours for the 34 locks isn't that bad, but is two hours
more than Stephen and Lucy previously did it (with every lock against them) in
Total today on the Avon Ring: 4 miles, 34 locks.