Canal Holiday: Avon Ring

9-10 June 2006, Days 7 & 8: Worcester to Stoke Prior

As our canal journey around the Avon Ring begins to draw to a close, we have returned to the narrow canals which are so much more intimate and somehow more friendly than the less forgiving rivers.

Craig taking the boat through lock 5 on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal

While Lucy and Stephen work the lock

Lucy looking cheerful at the helm, as our week of good weather on the Avon Ring continues

The crew on the towpath has now grown as Stephen takes his turn at the tiller. As we climb through Offerton Locks, suddenly we become aware that the end of the Avon Ring holiday is nearing, and the number of locks to share around those wanting to drive through them is limited.

Lucy, Helen, Sheila, Alan and Merry at one of the Offerton locks

Helen and Lucy working the lock

Merry takes a turn at the tiller, and her first lock of the holiday. No problem!

Sheila, Helen, Craig and Alan prepare lock 15.

We moored at Tibberton and made the most of the tiny post office and village stores - the range was limited but very good given the size of the store, and the service very friendly. We had lunch at the Bridge Inn, where they were failing to cope with a new menu. Of our seven meals, five arrived wrong or incomplete, and all were very slow (an hour for sandwiches?).

The church and manor house at Oddingley look delightful from the canal

The verdant entrance to Dunhampstead tunnel, the fifth and last of the Avon Ring.

When Lucy and Stephen last passed Hanbury Wharf, in 1999, Elizabeth Austin was here, moored next to Lewcy, making a very close attempt at Lucy's then full name. Lewcy has gone, and Elizabeth Austin is now four years out of date!

Lucy carefully steers past the moored boats and perhaps the most inland lighthouse in Britain as she heads for Bridge 35.

Looking under the towpath bridge down the course of the Droitwich Junction Canal, now under restoration.

Helen and Alan as we start the Astwood Locks

Lucy and Sheila lock-wheeling

Lucy waits for the lock to fill at Astwood Top Lock.

Alan and Helen have swapped roles.  Last lock today, and the penultimate one of the Avon Ring.

Total today: 14 miles and 18 locks.

We moored overnight at Stoke Works, with six other Black Prince boats in what must be a weekly occurrence. We made a moderately early getaway, and only two boats were ahead of us. Here we wait under bridge 44 for lock 23 to finish emptying.

Merry, Helen, Lucy and Alan wait while Stephen brings Elsa into the lock.

Looking the other way, the moored boats at Stoke Wharf are at journey's end.

So, the end of the Avon Ring. Another excellent holiday, and once again we were very lucky with the weather (almost too lucky - it was rather hot). Plans are already being developed for next year.

Total today on the Avon Ring: 1 mile and 1 lock.
Holiday total: 115 miles and 128 locks, 3 lift bridges and 5 tunnels.


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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson