We set off just after 9am and cruised down to Bratch locks where we passed through with no delays and two ‘volockies’ assisting Graham. We’ve always got a ‘soft spot’ for these locks as we have a picture of them over the fireplace at our home. Today was the first time Jannock has ever passed through going South – all previous passages have been Northbound.
Then onto Greensforge with all but two locks in our favour. We stopped for water at reensforge, a very fast tap that was so close to our filler cap that Graham didn’t need the full hose reel, just the detachable end piece, in order to fill the tank. Beside the tap is the Greensforge memorial garden which was dissapointing. CaRT seem to have built it, and keep the grass trimmed, but there is no clue as to whom it remembers or why. Someone must have asked for the garden but no one seems to be gardening there.
When the tank was full, there was a hireboat coming up through Greensforge lock so we had an easy passage through that lock before the skies got very dark so we pulled over for lunch and were sat inside when the heavens opened. Then on through the next two locks to Stourton junction.
We ascended the four locks at Stourton, passing through the top lock which was where Jannock was nearly set alight many years ago when being used by Simon and then decided that as it was only 2:15pm we would press on and try to get to Black Delph to moor for the night. A friend, Terry, had mentioned that he would be celebrating his birthday in the Vine that evening and so Graham wanted to get there as well.
We started the sixteen Stourbridge locks at 3:30pm and had a good run up, with most being in our favour and only meeting one boat coming down. Luckily the rain kept away but it also wasn’t too warm. At one point we had a couple of small boys helping Graham with the lock gates and so we gave them a ride in the front of the boat as a reward. Once out the top lock we noticed that there was a tree down blocking the Fens branch at Leys junction so Graham tweeted CaRT to let them know.
We continued on hoping to moor immediately below Delph bottom lock. As we passed the visitor moorings at Farmers bridge, Graham smelt Fish and Chips and so suggested we get some for our evening meal. He stopped and reversed back onto the morrings and Brenda went to fetch tea. The chippie there is excellent. Their special was small cod and chips for £4. This came with a choice of mushy peas, beans, gravy or curry sauce. We had mushy peas and they were fresh made, not tinned, soaked marrowfat peas like yer gran used to make.
Packed in a cardboard box and a half minute from Jannock, there was no chance the crisp batter could steam soggy. Another ‘best ever’ award.
At Delph we could not find a suitable mooring for the night below the bottom lock so we passed up through and moored in the side pound adjacent to the lock.
Once washed and changed we walked the 8 minutes up the road to the Vine – the Bathams brewery tap (aka the Bull and Bladder) and met Terry to celebrate his birthday. An old fashioned pub and none the worse for that. No noisy distractions, just drinks, pleanty of chat and pies and rolls. As a change from peanuts they also did hot and spicy pretzels – very nice. A very enjoyable evening with a walk downhill back to the boat at 11pm.