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Monday 1 April 2024

April Fool, not!

 We got underway at 09:30. The weather was completely overcast but was still dry. The two hire boats travelling together that had moored up astern of us late yesterday were off about 30 mins before us.

As we approached Rowington the bell ringers at St. Laurence's Church we  giving it a very merry  go on the nice peal of bells. Happy Easter to everybody.

There was very little wind today so could get a nice image of Bridge 62 in the cut.

The cutting that follows the embankment at Rowington made me think of being on the Shropshire Union. When being built the original plans were for a tunnel like Shrewley.

We stopped for water at Turner's Green before carrying on to Kingswood Junction. It has been very quiet all the way and so it was at the junction. We stopped in the cut and moored up so we could drop off the rubbish before heading through the short cut and headed down the Stratford Canal.

Looking from the bridge to the C&RT yard to drop off the rubbish this is the view south towards Stratford. This is our first view of the barrel roofed lock cottages famous on the Stratford.

Helen looking lovely in the sunshine wearing her secret weapon to combat the towpaths at the moment. Wellies!

Once back at the boat Helen set of to ready the lock. To the right is the 'short cut' to the north and Kings Norton, and straight on to the south, missing a lock out.

Helen started doing the lock wheeling and the sun came out for her. We met a few boats coming up, well spaced out, and we were told that there were two boats ahead of us heading down.

I can't remember which lock this was but this National Trust Plaque denotes the part played by them in reopening the canal. The northern section to Kingswood was opened in 1802. The southern section was opened to Stratford in 1816. The southern section didn't do that well as the River Avon was not easily navigated for through traffic. The southern section was all but closed in the 1950's but the National Trust decided to lease it to restore it in 1961. They did so, and set the bar for canal restoration everywhere. They handed it back to British Waterways in 1964.

There used to be an Anthony Gormey Statue of a man over looking this lock at Lowsonford and this barrel roofed cottage is available for holiday rental through the Landmark Trust, £380 for four nights, sleeps four.

We swapped over duties so Helen was driving as we crossed over Yarningale Aqueduct trough. Wren the canal opened it was a wooden structure but following a surge from the Grand Union canal nearby that flooded the canal and the waterway beneath it was washed away in 1834. It was rebuilt the same year in the iron trough provided that well known canal iron works maker, Horseley.

Just a little further on as Helen was bringing 'Holderness' out of the lock she let out a yelp and exclaimed that the Morse control cable (Throttler and clutch control) had snapped. Fortunately the engine was stopped and she could through me a line and tie up on the lock landing below the lock. Once I got the boat tied up I had a look and all connections seemed to be fine. It then became apparent that the grub screw holding the Morse control lever on the spline had come loose so there was no grip. It was then just finding the right size Allen key to do it up again. Not so funny really, but I wish I had thought of it as a April fool prank, at the right time obviously.

We took the opportunity to have a drink and a hot cross bun before heading of to find a berth at Wootton Wawen. We walked to have a pint at the navigation, but were back after a pint and a half of cider. Sausage and mash and onion gravy for tea.

Three brick makers on the lock sides on the way down the Stratford Canal.

Cakemore Brick Co. was started in 1819 in Rowley Regis. It went bust but was later recreated, and in 12883 it started making blue engineering bricks. It later became the Staffordshire Blue Brick Co. It closed in 1925'ish.

Pynson Wilmot Bennitt was making bricks at Littlefield, Oldbury between 1869 and 1891 by when they ceased trading and P. W. Bennitt was living of his own means.

The third brick is stamped Wood & Ivery Co, J. W. Ivery Manager, Albion Brickworks, West Bromwich. The company was started by George Wood who was employing 50 people in 1861. In 1872 he went into partnership with Ivery in 1872 and last heard of in 1904. Quite something to have your name on millions of bricks I should think.

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