Bilford Locks

July 21, 2011

Another fairly early start: we pulled the boat back to take on water before heading down the two staircase locks leading from Stourport basin onto the River Severn. The bottom set of locks had been the scene of a dreadful tragedy a few weeks ago when a lad riding a bike across the iron footbridge fell off and died. It is one of the traditional slim bridges with iron edgings only a few inches high. The locks are next to a fairground and easily accessible from the river path. High scaffolding railings have now been erected on each side of the footbridge and the lock gates have been blocked off so no-one can cross them.

Off we went down the river, revelling again in the bliss of depth under the boat and the wide expanse of water. We do like rivers and the banks were so softly pretty with flowers and greenery. It was a real treat to have the three sets of lock gates open up for us as we approached and just to be able to sit in the boat as it descended. The two Diglis Canal Locks at Worcester are doubles and there was another boat for us to work up with and a lock keeper to help at the second lock which has very heavy paddles.

By the time we moored for lunch it was 1.30 and we tied up above bridge 2. Not the prettiest of moorings but we didn’t plan to stay the night. After lunch we walked briskly up to the High Street for some light shopping. I am very ambivalent about Worcester: there are some handsome buildings, especially the Town Hall, and the Cathedral, but there is so much traffic going over the sole bridge and it always seems rather dirty to me. In any event we didn’t feel like staying the night and left at 4.00.

We thought that we might get quite a few locks out of the way and stop on the outskirts but as we were about to go into lock 7 we were stopped by BW staff who said that the canal was closed for repairs to lock 8 and that we could go no further. We hadn’t seen any notices, nor had we been told by the lock keeper at the Diglis Locks. Apparently no one else knew either: they were supposed to have started work at 4.00, it was now 5.00 and they had squeezed through several other boats including one just in front of us. We have moored at the lock bollards and hope that the pound will keep its water level. One of the BW men walked back to lock 6 to stop a boat coming up and hopefully they will stop anyone else. The work will finish at midnight and we can go on in the morning, very early I guess given that we are blocking the lock access.

Sunset over Stourport

The River Severn


Coming into Worcester

Today we did 15.82 Miles and 13 Locks

Statistics so far:-

2848.22 Miles, 1796 Locks, 177 Swing Bridges, 97 Lift Bridges, 51 Tunnels