|Tunnelling through the 2,726 yards Wast Hills Tunnel.|
It was essential to get DB out of the Cut for assessment and action to be taken with the damaged propeller, prop’ as it is colloquially called. I am not skilled at conversations about a boat engine (I know DB’s engine is yellow and called Vetus), rudders (I know the rudder gives the directional movement) and prop’ (there would be no movement if the prop’ wasn’t propelling the water). To avoid discussion about engines I am better to twitch my nose, vanish and appear in the
kitchen galley. Cup of tea?
So back to the Cut, it was necessary to get to the Tardebigge Flight asap as Cptn had booked us into Droitwich Marina. The Tardebigge Flight is a run of 30 narrow locks, the longest run of locks in the UK covering 2 1/4 miles inviting new meaning to the word Tardebigge. I ended up calling it the Tarde-bugger as there were a lorra Locks to negotiate and we needed muscle and time to get comfortably to Droitwich Marina.
We invited a couple of friends to join our team and ‘enjoy’, of course, the open air workout on the cut! It was no secret that this was going to be a tough 3 hours but the weather forecast was excellent and a memory would be created. It turned out to be an excellent day and apart from Scott and Jen walking the 2ish miles up the towpath to meet DB and made to start ‘locking’ immediately, we all got ‘Lock-n-Lol-ling’.
|Team at work!|
A tough job was made easy, Cptn and I could share the helming and advance Lock prep while Scott and Jen , were tooled with windlasses to raise and lower the paddles to let DB down each Lock not forgetting to open/close the gates to let DB out!
There were a couple of C&RT volunteers helping out but they avoided us as holidaymakers were their priority, rightly so. The Tardebugger flight was not busy, it was well worth the exercise under sunny skies, the vista was gorgeous and there were damsons, plums and sloe berries ripe for the picking. I collected a bag of windfall plums, nature’s freebies are irresistible.
I like the Worcester Birmingham Canal, it is scenic and very quiet with boat traffic. There are a few tunnels and I’m not that keen on tunnels but they are not the end of the world.
An easy short run to Hanwell Junction where we met the Droitwich Canal and immediately went down the 3 Locks ‘manned’ by 2 happy Volunteers. We were excited with destination Droitwich Marina in view and soon we were warmly welcomed. They unexpectedly put us on an overnight berth, we plugged DB into electricity and we made use of the service facilities. A shower with continuous running warm water, sheer luxury. And there was even a bath in one of the shower rooms. A soak in the bath was a healing tonic in the following days after the long slog of prepping and blacking the hull and painting the gunwhales.
|Hold tight as DB Getting is being caressed by the trailer|
After a night berthed in the marina, DB was towed onto dry land. She was snugly placed on a long trailer with hydraulic attachments that kept her level as she was pulled out of the water and towed to dry-standing where she rested high on thick wooden planks.
We had to use a ladder to get on board and our ever-trusting Della let us carry her on/off DB. Such an adorable dog is our Della.
|Black the hull with bitumen and paint the gunwhales. Looks good!|
Our primary importance getting DB out of the water was to get the prop ‘banged’ back into shape or replaced. The latter meant big money and we were so fortunate to have the services of the affable and able who had Engineer the right tools managed to bang the existing prop in situ back into shape. Great job.
|Back in shape!|
Cptn was highly motivated, working hard to get the job done and dusted. To stay calm, cool and collected he became a bath-a-day man.
We had a week on dry-dock and we could have had longer if we needed it but that would have meant time means more money! So we got the job done.
Nick, the owner / manager of Droitwich Marina as well as the tractor driver skilled in boat placing was so helpful and accommodating to our urgent need of getting DB out of water and letting Cptn use the jet cleaner to clean the hull and allowing us to stay on board with electricity while we blacked DB. Of course it didn’t come for free but it was affordable and we would highly recommend Droitwich Marina for its empathetic and ‘can do’ approach to boaters.
I did walk the canal walk from Droitwich Marina to Droitwich Spa. Nice 30 min walk. I walked past a few locks but there is no towpath through the M5 Bridge- tunnel. It is not possible for DB to go under the M5 Bridge-tunnel unless we removed the solar panels on her roof and probably would need to use a periscope when helming to avoid a brain injury. Picture that! Actually, forget the periscope and put in remote steering from inside DB.
It was good to be on the cruise, again, and DB felt tickety-boo with her prop’ restored to A++ condition. What lies beneath water sometimes bites, that is the mystery of tea coloured waters. Please don’t throw rubbish in the water! We were unlucky but the prop’adventure ended on a positive note.
We returned to the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and moved down a few more locks cruising the few miles to Worcester and left the Worcs & Birmingham Canal at the Diglis Locks to get on to the beautiful River Severn with a short 3 hour cruise to Stourport on Severn and on to the Staffs & Worcs Canal.
We feel like we have arrived on our home territory and were only a day away from Kinver where we will eventually be land-based in the ‘Black Country’.