Thursday, 15 August 2013

Still no clear idea of where we are going

(Boat Chalice - posted by Cath)

We set off from Calf Heath, carrying on through Wolverhampton on the Staffs and Worcs - which I always think is a particularly attractive canal.

We were waiting for a lock at Compton when we were hailed from an Anglo Welsh hire boat, "You must be Alan, and you are Cath". It turns out that AJ reads our blog, nice to be told that, thanks AJ.

There is a small Sainsbury's here, so I topped up on basics while Alan went into Limekiln Chandlery.

David plays a new game with Odin
Odin loves games, but while I was cooking lunch I became aware that Odin was careening through from front to back of the boat then back again. I eventually discovered that David had developed a new 'Odin game'.
David was on the towpath, and would run to the front of the boat, which made Odin run there too, to see what David was up to. David would then stand still, Chalice would carry on past him, which made Odin rush to the back of the boat to see what David was doing there.

Staffs and Worcs leaving the lock

Coal boats loading

The Bratch is a series of three locks, each separated what appears to be a pound only about 6 feet long, but is actually connected in each case to a large side pound that functions much as if it was a length of canal containing a similar amount of water.  This was a modification to the original design of a pure 3 lock staircase, which was presumably too wasteful of water, but they do not appear to have realised you can achieve exactly the same with only one gate necessary between each lock, rather than two, as for example exists at Foxton.

The Bratch
I love The Bratch - it seems like it ought to be medieval, with its octagonal tower, and the tunnels between the locks, as well as the very narrow and worn steps down to where you can climb back on to the boat at the bottom. The huge lock-gates help to support this illusion.


Leaving The Bratch

Happy Cath


Botterham Staircase
Botterham which is a couple of miles further south is a proper staircase, with one chamber empting straight into the other, with no short section between them.
"Find a stick, Odin"

Odin was asked to find a stick, so that we can play 'Odin stick games', while walking the towpath. He rushed off into the undergrowth and I found him trying to uproot a small tree.

Butterfly rests briefly on Chalice

We carried on to Greensforge, where we got a choice of substantial veggie meals, and a decent cider (dunno about the beer!) at the Navigation. They even welcomed the dog into the pub.

Calf Heath to Greensforge
Miles: 17.5 (Chalice), Locks: 15

Total Miles: 240.0, Locks: 100

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