Swanning Along

Overnight there was a lot more heavy rain.  Soon after breakfast the rain stopped and I went back to the lock to see what the state of the indicator was.  As I had expected, the river state had now worsened to the point where we would not have been allowed to travel on it today.  There was also a traffic light style red light showing, which I later realised was visible from our moorings.  Fortunately there are no more river sections on our current schedule – we made it just in time!

Stream Indicator Showing "Do Not Prceed"
Stream Indicator Now Showing “Do Not Proceed” in Both Directions

We set off out of Worcester along the Worcester and Birmingham Canal.  I opted to do the first lock, and found it difficult and heavy, so suggested I would do the rest of today’s locks too.  After the first two there was a longish gap and a convenient supermarket a short walk from the canal.  We moored up for that just as a shower came over.  Once it had passed, Clare nipped to the shop.  By the time she returned we were ready for lunch – our stomachs are still on BST.

After lunch we set off up the remainder of the days locks.  They were all set against us so I spent most of the time walking (and sometimes running) along the bank to get far enough ahead of the boat to get the next lock ready.  We met a single boat coming the other way, but to my surprise all the locks were still set against us.  A number of the locks had signs about not letting swans through the locks.  Perhaps they were setting them against us.

Sign Says "Please Do Not Let Swans Through The Lock"
Do Swans Really Try to Use the Locks?

We continued on, meeting a few dog walkers and cyclists but no other boats.  Clare told me at one lock that she’d seen two kingfishers in the previous stretch.  I was pleased to get a couple of sightings of a kingfisher myself while walking to the next lock.

Swans Outside a Lock Gate
Queueing for The Lock?

As I was preparing a lock I saw a boat ahead of us.  It looked like he would soon be going in to his lock – that explained why all the locks were against us!  I reckoned they would be out of the their lock before we could be out of this one, so we were unlikely to be slowed by them.  To my surprise he moored up and waved us on – perhaps they were tired or stuck, or taking the dogs for a walk.

When we came up, they had opened the lock for us and were holding their boat against the side.  Once we were in the lock the woman from the boat came up ready to empty it behind us.  I asked why they had called us past.  She said she didn’t know why he had done that either!

As a thank you, I opened a paddle on each of the remaining locks as we left.  That would partly return the favour, and should help them come up the locks a little faster.  It turned out I could only do this twice before we reached the top.

The very last paddle I opened today had some strange reinforcement arm on it.  I hadn’t given it any thought until I banged a knuckle on it as I was opening it.  I haven’t done myself any real harm but it is doubly annoying to hurt myself on the last lock of the day.  Perhaps I’ll let Clare work the locks tomorrow.

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