Kinver to The Bratch

Tuesday 17th September, 2019

We slept in a bit today and didn’t leave Kinver until 10:30 ish. So it was up Kinver Lock past The Vine Inn which has reopened but with no food, pending an allegedly much needed kitchen refurbishment.

After the services and long stretch of linear moorings we were at Hyde Lock followed by the diminutive Dunsley Tunnel, just 25 yards long.

Then it was onward to Greenforge Lock, resisting the attraction of The Navigation Inn, and avoiding the C&RT team who were cutting back the trees on the offside. We stopped at the services to top up with water & dispose of rubbish, and recycling bins were available too! We were going to have lunch here but someone else beat us to the single mooring place so we went on a bit further and found  spot near a ‘Mobile Home Park’

Ashwood Nurseries soon appeared on our right with the owner’s magnificent gardens to admire, see header photo too.

Just another hour and we were moored at Swindon (No, not the Wiltshire one where I spent much of my youth and met Maz & Marie whom I mentioned last week)

Wednesday 18th September, 2019

We departed from Swindon just on 10:00 am and found the lock set for us although a boat had gone up before us and logically it should have been against us??

At Marsh Lock we met a boat coming down as we did at Botterham Staircase Locks which is always a help.

We pottered along for a bit and found ourselves outside The Round Oak just before noon so we moored up and prepared ourselves some lunch on board which we washed down with some very pleasant Friel’s Cider  once the pub was open.

Almost immediately we were at the curiously named Bumblehole Lock and another half hour we were at The Bratch Locks (which look like a staircase, but aren’t!)

According to Wikipedia: The Bratch Locks are a noted feature of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, planned by James Brindley, and opened in 1772 as a three lock staircase. They were later re-engineered as three separate locks. They are served by two bridges, a toll house, and a keeper’s cottage. The whole forms a well-preserved example of vernacular Georgian architecture and design, built of mellow local brick.

There were three volunteer lock-keepers on duty and once one boat had descended the lockies assisted us up in short order.

Although it was only 2:00 pm we decided to call it a day and found ourselves a sunny spot opposite fields.

We have spent the afternoon chilling out, Joy finishing a jigsaw puzzle of Venice and I have been practising my new (old) accordion after taking it apart to free a duff note!

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