The Droitwich Canal opened in 2011 after many years of restoration so we thought we'd better make use of it on our travels towards Worcester. The first 3 locks are manned by a volunteer lock keeper who helped us through the flight. The top lock is a bit deep and the gates swing so there are chunks of wood supplied to prop them open.
Because they'd overfilled the lock, their boat was far to high and the force of the water rushing through the overflow sucked them over to one side, where their rubbing strake got stuck against the lock side. They couldn't move either forwards or backwards or side to side. They were well and truly stuck. But they still knew better than us. Although they didn't refuse our offers of help pushing the boat they wouldn't listen when I told them why they were stuck and how to rectify the problem i.e let some water out of the lock. Eventually the penny dropped, we let a load of water out and they managed to get into the top lock. At which point we left them to their own devices. Men who know it all can do it all in my opinion. I wouldn't have minded, but the lock operation instructions were clear enough, they just chose not to follow them!
This is the overflow where they'd got caught. The normal water level is just at the bottom of the grating, they'd filled the lock to the top of the coping stones.
This staircase lock is brand new, with concrete sides and an enormous cill.
|the staircase locks from below|
The only major obstacle to navigation on this canal is a very low tunnel. As the canal was derelict when the M5 motorway was built they didn't bother with a bridge over the canal. The restoration works had to make use of a river culvert under the motorway and, as you can see in the photo below, this is rather low.
We weren't certain we could get through the tunnel so dropped the flower troughs on their sides and took it slowly, fully expecting to back up if necessary.
As it happens, we had about 3ins. clear headroom over the top box. As this is a river culvert I doubt we'd get through if the river level was much higher but we're not planning on coming back this way so it won't bother us. If you're planning coming this way, PLEASE make sure you check the river level marker at the last lock.
It's a strange lock because you have to open a foot bridge before you can go in, and it's only a couple of inches deep too.
After another 2 swing bridges we arrived at tonight's destination. The new pontoon moorings for the town.