Sunday, September 05, 2010

A voyage of discovery

But first.  Oh dear another breach, a loss of water on the Mon and Brec in Wales.  Only a few years ago it was closed for the same reason and repaired at great cost.  So many boats and holidaymakers are disrupted in their travels.  The government have slashed support for the waterways again.  BW’s men in suits are being blamed for paying themselves loads of money.  It seems that they do not deserve so much for losing money on property which may well be sold off now.
We moved up to Kingswood Junction where the Grand Union ‘kisses’ the Stratford.  We are obliged to wait here as the footbridge is being protected by steel barriers.
The brick built bridge has suffered some severe damage by boats turning into the link.  The work men watched as a boat slowly bounced off the barrier.  “Still not enough” one said as the barrier moved!
It was worth exploring the junction with its lock cottages and a triangle of waterways.
Several locks on the Stratford bring that canal up to and above the Grand Union level as it heads northwest to Birmingham.  When we were there the Elsan facility was being unblocked.  I remember seeing it blocked seven years ago!  “Oh why can’t BW fix the cause rather than the symptom.”  The flushing water supply was just a trickle.
The local maps led us astray when we tried to find shops in Lapworth.  We found they had moved down the road past the railway.  At least the Post Office still exists in the wine shop but the other little shop did not have much more than bread n milk.  If you are coming up this way on the Grand Union there is a much better shop and Post Office above the northern end of Shrewley tunnel.
We started late to go up the 15 narrow locks of the Lapworth flight on the Stratford canal.  Mostly thickly lined with trees and having short pounds between the locks.  A few boats were coming down and at one pound on a bend it was tricky manoeuvring past the other boat.
It remained tree lined at the top and we began to wonder if we would be able to ‘see’ the sky sat.  However a gap was found albeit with the boat sitting on the mud.  Four more locks were tackled next day.