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  1. Park Head, Dudley Tunnel end- ok to moor?

    The area seems reasonably pleasant, though I suppose it's safety in numbers. Is Merry Hill considered a 'safe' mooring?
  2. The Barbridge Inn

    It has been 'Ye Olde Barbridge Inn' for years now, though I don't think it has caught on and everyone still refers to it as the Barbridge. I think originally it was called the Kings Arms.
  3. The Barbridge Inn

    Came across this topic and just wondered whether the same people are still running it now as in 2012? It is pricey of course but the food and beers are consistently good and it appears to have gone from an unstable situation to one of the least likely to close along this canal. However I still remember that the people who ran it immediately beforehand in 2011 (as in the on-site staff) did a great job themselves and it wasn't quite as expensive at that point. Sad that the pub next door the Jolly Tar has closed and been demolished in the meantime.
  4. Has it been a busy summer?

    Last year was reasonably decent...you can't expect two decent ones in a row! The notable things for me about this year have been the very hot June and the wet September, neither seem to have happened much in recent years.
  5. Ashton Canal closure

    The Ashton isn't as popular a canal (in terms of numbers) as others that have been mentioned in this thread. Therefore, rightly or wrongly, it clearly won't be viewed as high a priority to reopen quickly, compared to busier canals. Perhaps BWB of the 60s should take the blame, for removing the top gate paddles on these locks and so relying solely on ground paddles.
  6. Dunhampstead or Droitwich?

    Having just gone from Birmingham to the Severn via Droitwich and having done similar but via Worcester two years ago, I'd say the Droitwich route is prettier and more interesting. I agree with above that the barge canal is prettier than the junction, with the latter having a very new and artificial feel to it, but the junction locks are interesting with working side ponds for the top 3 and a staircase further down. The barge canal locks are pretty and interesting and this compensates for the heavy gates and stiff paddles; the last mile or so before Hawford is one of the prettiest stretches I've come across. Droitwich Spa itself is a very mellow place, with an excellent pub (The Gardeners Arms). The M5 culvert was VERY tight and headroom varies depending on the height of the river (which shares the canal route at that point). I found the swing bridges in the town a pain because of the rather fiddly padlocks. Aside from the last two points, this route gets the thumbs up from me. For what it's worth I found the stretch into Worcester reasonably pleasant, but still fairly uninteresting and lacking any real charm and character once beyond Offerton locks, although it's pretty between Hanbury and Tibberton and I guess Diglis basin has an element of interest, though not to the same extent as Stourport. I also found that the way the locks are spread beyond the Offerton flight makes progress feel slow.
  7. Has it been a busy summer?

    Well we came down Audlem locks on Wednesday morning and what a mad rush it was going the other way! I bet we passed at least 20 boats going uphill in 2 hours! Others said it had been quiet along that stretch beforehand and were surprised at the number of boats. Spey and Giffard were working as a pair at the front of things going up, but there still seemed to be an extraordinary amount of traffic in one direction and a lot more than we'd seen further south.
  8. Interfering at locks

    To slightly contradict my opening post; having come up the Stourbridge 16 locks yesterday in my cruiser, the soapy sud created by the opening of the centre paddle on most of these has left a right greasy mess on the gel coat! I know this used to be a real problem on the Shroppie and Staffs and Worcs locks, less so since the water treatment process improved. Whereabouts is the sewage/water treatment works which seemingly discharges into the Stourbridge?
  9. Interfering at locks

    There was clearly no danger as there was about 40ft between the surge and the boat. Upset is the wrong word, I'm a little fed up by it though.
  10. Interfering at locks

    Just come up Wheaton Aston lock and there was a boat waiting to go down, with one of the crew on the lockside, there to 'help'. As per normal practise along here I opened the centre paddle on the gate straightaway since I enjoy watching the water rush in as it does and then the person off the waiting boat started ranting, telling me that I shouldn't be opening that one and ordering me to put it down. First of all on the safety aspect; I have a short boat and keep it towards the back of the lock so the water surge doesn't even come close; the sluice itself is partially covered by a baffle which directs water to the side; and the surge itself actually pushes the boat away from the gate, unlike a lot of ground paddles which pull the boat towards it. This was all very obvious to anyone looking at what was happening. Secondly; why do people feel the need to start interfering when it isn't even their lock? I would never tell someone how they should be doing things unless I could see an obvious hazard about to happen and even then I wouldn't start telling the person off about it and threatening to report them to CRT. I've no problem whatsoever with people offering to help, but I'm sick of people interfering like this when it isn't their boat, nor their lock. Is it a common theme all over the network?
  11. Has it been a busy summer?

    So perhaps it is the Shroppie and not the canal system as a whole which has had a quieter time of late. It seems as though a lot of people view the southern B&LJ section as a through route (and thus only an alternative to the Trent and Mersey), rather than a canal to visit in its own right, such as the Llangollen and Chester sections. A return trip from the northern end to Brewood/Autherley and back has always been one of my favourite choice of trips.
  12. Has it been a busy summer?

    I do wonder how it compares to say 20-25 years ago. Less marinas, probably less privately owned boats, similar numbers of hire boats. The Shroppie and Llangollen were probably 'the big two' back then for popularity.
  13. I had a trip down and back up the Shroppie in July, just before the holidays started and before setting off someone commented that the Shroppie had been very quiet. From my own experience too it seemed fairly quiet for the time of year. Early August I also had a weekend on the northern Trent and Mersey and on the top end of the Weaver and again, barring an expected rush going back up the locks at Middlewich (Monday afternoon so setting off time for the hire boats), it was fairly quiet. What have been your experiences of the state of play this summer? There's also the 'school holiday' effect which comes into play in September; a lot of people avoid cruising in July and August and take to the water once the schools go back, hence September is usually a very busy month.
  14. A memorable trip for all the wrong reasons

    Very sorry to hear about your sad loss, Dave. Sending my best wishes.
  15. Teenage (and younger) Crew

    It's a shame one or two boaters don't think "they'd rather be off the boat having fun working the lock than stuck on the boat in the chamber bored stiff" when they come across single-handed boaters at locks. Some people are genuinely trying to be helpful, but others get snappy and annoyed when I insist I'd rather work the lock through enjoyment, than stay onboard.