We left Kinver early enough to get up through the lock and on to the service point although when we got there, an ABC hire boat was already filling with water. They pulled back a little and we squeezed in between them and the long term moorings. They were expressing surprise at how much water they had used and assumed that someone had left a tap running overnight. No one had confessed and we did explain to them that they might not realise just how much water four people can get through in a day. Anyway, we had a nice early morning chat before they were on their way. After completing our own chores, we untied and continued our journey. There were another four locks to be done before we found a mooring which was shaded by tall trees on both sides of the canal. Other than a canalside pub, The Navigation Inn, there’s nothing else at Greensforge so we walked along the towpath for a while until we reached The Hinksford Arms where we stopped for refreshments before we headed back to the boat. In the shade, the boat had cooled down nicely for probably the first time in two weeks so we made the most of it and just chilled out.
Another early start the following morning for no other reason than we were awake saw us continue our plod uphill taking in six locks along the way. We only saw a couple of boats on the move as we passed through Swindon and once we had passed through Botterham staircase locks, we pulled up at the first available mooring and tied up for the day. It was still early but that gave us time to walk along the towpath and do a big shop at Sainsbury’s on the outskirts of Wombourne. Back at the boat a couple of hours later, we once again just chilled in the afternoon sun.
Two boats passed us at seven the following morning, both heading in the same direction as we were. It was almost eight when we set off, again the cut was quiet under the blue skies that have persisted for days or even weeks now. Bumblehole lock was all that stood between us and the Bratch locks and we reached those just before nine. It was nice to see some bee hives just above Bumblehole lock on the offside and it was possible to see some flying in and out.
Nothing was waiting on the lock landings at The Bratch and Sue subsequently found out from the lock keepers that the only traffic before we turned up was the two boats that had passed us at seven o’clock. Fifteen minutes later, we left the top lock! The two lock keepers who worked us through really know those locks like the backs of their hands. They were friendly, chatty and very helpful to us – 3 locks in 15 minutes.
We did three more locks and then found a spot on the visitor moorings at Wightwick. It had been over a week since we last ate out, at Gloucester, so we got changed at had lunch at The Mermaid which is a short walk from the towpath.
After an excellent lunch, we walked a mile along the towpath to Compton wharf where we had tied up on our trip down this way in 2015. Back to Caxton for another lazy afternoon but once again we’ve worked and walked a bit so we’re not completely idle.