Thursday, 20 April 2017

Arriving in Droitwich

Today's weather was indeed rather better than forecast, though still not very special. It was cool, cloudy and damp and drizzled from time to time, but never enough to spoil the boating. This was indeed special along this very pleasant bit of canal. We have to differ from the Pearson's evaluation of the locks as "not too onerous", though. Sheila, whose turn it was to lockwheel, found them hard work. The gates are heavy to swing and the paddles hard to draw. Some of this is about the preservation of the original style of fittings, but some of it must be about the balance of the gates and the maintenance of the paddle racks and slides.

It will be interesting to see how the Junction Canal, which is largely new works, compares. The fly in the ointment of our pleasure was concern about finding a mooring here in Droitwich when we got here. In the event, there was no problem at all. There must be about a dozen visitor pontoon slots in the Netherwich basin and half of them were vacant at just after eleven o'clock after nearly three and a half hours cruising. They are very short pontoons, though, so Sanity Again's stern is sticking well out. We've tied with the bow and centrelines and seem secure enough.

The moorings are themselves behind a locked gate which requires a BWB key to open. It's about ten minutes walk to the town centre and a bit less to the prominent Waitrose. Droitwich is a town of contrasts. The outskirts which you pass in the final half hour's cruising look deadly dull, a conglomeration of uninspired modern housing, "and they're all made out of ticky-tacky and they all look just the same". The centre is a striking preservation of the old salt town, with many of the buildings at strange angles where they've subsided as a result of brine pumping, very reminiscent of the area around Middlewich.

We've had an explore and a shop. The moorings are 48 hours, so we may well stay here tomorrow to have a bit of a potter and relax after the exertions of the last couple of days. We've still got over two weeks in hand on the basis of our cruising plan to Crick. We'll take the opportunity to walk up the Junction and suss out its navigational challenges, especially Bridge 5 under the M42.

Final note: it's now half four and the moorings are starting to fill up.



Jennie said...

Bruce we moor in Droitwich Spa Marina, so know the area very well. You cannot see much of the M5 culvert walking from Droitwich towards Hanbury, but if you follow the path onto the road, turn left, cross a road, walk under the M5 there is another gate that leads to a path through a bit of woodland and that takes you to the other side of the culvert. Whether you have trouble will depend on how high your boat is - we ride high at the front and frequently have to take the cratch down. If you have flowers etc on the roof, they will almost certainly have to be taken down. The locks are tough - I have seen them greasing them recently, but they are still quite hard to get going, but I manage them okay. The hardest thing to work is the swing bridge opposite Waitrose - it can take two people to get the lock back on and I have been known to stop passing walkers and ask for help!

Enjoy Droitwich. We like the town. We also like the Gardener's Arms (turn right out of gate at the basin and follow the path at the end of some white cottages, turn left. At the end of the ginnel you will see the pub. I know one boater and wife who had a bad Sunday lunch there, but we have eaten there many times and have never had a bad experience. They are the home of the Droitwich sausage.

I suspect we will just miss you as we are moving down from the marina to Netherwich next Tuesday. Jennie nb Tentatrice

Adam said...

The Droitwich is interesting, isn't it? The new locks on the next part of your journey have been built in a very utilitarian fashion. You'll need to take your chimney off for the motorway bridge, and almost certainly any pots or troughs. Another vote for the Gardener's Arms too!

Bruce in Sanity said...

Thanks both, useful advice all round.

The wrgies liked the Gardeners Arms too!

All the best


Sarah Levick said...

We'll be following in your boatsteps soon, Bruce, so will be interested to see how you go under the M5. And how lovely to have you out and about again. With all these bloggers selling up or going to France, I was getting worried!