Kidderminster to Worcester

Today’s journey heading off the canal system and onto the river:

After 2 days of waiting for the levels of the river to fall we got the nod. It’s not quite there but it’s good enough to get going and she should continue to fall behind us. I was inextricably nervous this morning, I am much better when face to face with what I’m dealing with rather than the unknown brain noise before it. I said good bye to one of my favourite window views as we pulled away from the mooring:

To bring a bit of control to my anxiety I decided to control the bit I could and went for being at the helm. I think being a back seat driver when you’re nervous is even worse than putting yourself in the driving seat. The first part of the journey was just stunning and the beauty of it, with all the falling leaves was a great way to stay grounded before reaching the river lock. Added bonus that although the boat has taken many hits as acorns descend at speed from the trees, my head does appear to have survived unscathed, win!

Last narrow lock of the trip. York Road lock heading back into Stourport
A quick pause in the basin to take on some water.

I’m not sure where it came from but I was determined to be at the helm for the locks for today. I haven’t been the one to steer into the river locks before so here goes!

Textbook approach steering through the basin and into the lock, woohoo! So many volunteers on but we were a bit confused when one started to open the bottom paddle when the top gate and top paddle were still open!! They eventually got everything behind us closed, took a line for us as we went down. There is a small gap between these two broad locks and annoyingly I would have been fine getting into the second one if it wasn’t for the fact they didn’t open both gates on either lock so I didn’t have enough space to turn. I got in but not without a little tap to the front. We didn’t understand why, when there were 6 of them, that they didn’t open both gates, sheer laziness really.

The open gate showed the rivers flow for the first time and she was definitely going. I went for power and hooned it out of the gates to join the wash of the river coming at us from the right. There was a definite moment of the boat going sideways, being pushed by the current before I could turn her enough to be pointing in the right direction.

The next stop was Lincombe lock and I had heard a few folks mention the weir was pulling strong so I gave it a wide berth to pull off into the arm towards the lock. Again there was a definite sideways pull with the river wanting to take her towards the weir but a few revs and she came over. A short hover for the lockie to open the lock and then my first slow approach to sidle up to one side so Richard could get a line on at the bow and then me at the stern. It was always something I was building up to doing so I was glad to have managed it smoothly and calmly. I think all these months of taking her round some of the system has vastly improved my boat handling.

Treated to this lovely river view!

Through Holt lock without issue and again super smooth. The river was getting a little bit easier with each lock. I took my eye off the ball a little going into Bevere Lock as there is a sneaky little weir to the left before the lock gates. I had seen the big weir on the approach but was so focused on the locks I hadn’t seen the smaller one. It all went a bit messy but I managed to bring her back in and along the lock wall after all. I suppose half of learning to steer the boat is learning how to correct when it goes a bit pear shaped!

There is a footbridge being fixed in Worcester so you aren’t allowed to go under it at certain times so we pulled over to wait for the 4 o’clock curfew. After that we went under and found a spot on a flood safe mooring for the night. We’re not taking any chances on these 3 days on the river as you don’t want to end up like this poor guy.

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