Slow boat to Banbury Cross

Where have I been?

WM bridge 12
Whiskey Mac at rest

My last post about travels along the cut was from Wombourne, Staffordshire, where my ancestral boatmen seemed to have been based.  I continued south along the Staffs & Worcs Canal, as it were, in their wake.

My first mishap was at Limekiln Bridge, Kidderminster.

Too late I realised that the engine ventilator stack (only seventeen inches tall) would not go through the low part of the bridge, which is on a sharp bend.  Had I been live to the danger, I would have been able to remove it from its socket, but now it is once again almost straight and repainted in the sort of bright colours expected on a narrowboat.  As it turns out the water level was especially high – the towpath was inundated; when I returned a week later six inches were dry!

Kidderminster Lock
Kidderminster Lock.  Going down.  From the stern, while some helpful folk worked the lock.
stourport locks deutsche
Scheisse! A German crew “navigating” from Severn to Staffs & Worcs, Stourport.  Schadenfreude, perhaps:  actually it’s a bit tricky.

I turned round at Stourport-on-Severn.  A possible wintering ground had been somewhere near Gloucester, but I would have been there too early.  So I headed north.

Cookley art deco factory
I’ll bet few boaters see this, but it’s a classic Art Deco piece of history. Cookley, Worcestershire.
Botterham Top Lock
Botterham Top Lock.  The child in the life jacket was with her younger brother and father.  They had to wait for these two supply boats (a third was already in the lock), single-handers all.  I went back to help Dad with the next locks.
penkridge cross keys
Cross Keys, Penkridge
walled garden 3
In the walled garden, Shugborough
Junction Lock Fradley
Junction Lock, Fradley
Blacksmith butty
Motor and butty boat near Stretton under Fosse, floating blacksmith.
Hillmorton Locks 8
Hillmorton Locks. Boating is a spectator sport!  When the Grand Union Canal opened the Oxford Canal Company had to compete. The canal was straightened in places (though there are still some testing switchbacks) and the locks paralleled to speed boats through.
Brinklow MB outer bailey
Brinklow Motte & Bailey.  Foreground is outer bailey.  Fortified by the Romans, then the Normans, but probably home to much earlier people.
Braunston Spire 180923
Braunston spire. Visible for a long time.
Battle of Cropredy Bridge
As it says …
Banbury Cross (2)
Banbury Cross. One of the famed Eleanor Crosses:  King Edward’s memorial to his beloved Queen Eleanor.




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