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Tours 2000, BCN, Severn Estuary, K&A and River Wey

16 - Saturday 15th July - Preston Bagot to Stratford upon Avon. Southern Stratford Canal and River Avon.

Weather - Sunny spells / overcast, no rain

We left Preston Bagot at 7.15 in sunshine! No traffic, many moored Anglo Welsh hire boats, the occupants having their last night aboard. We arrived at Wilmcote Top lock at 9.50 and followed couple aboard "Albert" down. Neil had something in common - both of us had Mikuni diesel boiler problems in the past! Only a few boats were passed coming up. We got to Wilmcote Bottom Lock No 50 at 11.30. The old infill rubbish tip beside the flight is now nearly completely healed over and looks a lot better than from some of our earlier passages through the flight. We can remember times of rubbish blowing all over and in the canal. The long pounds above Wilmcote seemed a better than our last passage (1994), but still too shallow in bridge holes. At least the pound levels were right up this time. 
A couple of the Wilmcote Lock chambers had serious trouble at the bottom end and will need rebuilding soon. Pete the lock keeper did not appear, probably not enough traffic to worry him. We arrived at a very full Bancroft Basin at 13.15. The River Lock and all the basin had the highest gongoozler quotient we had ever seen. We moored on the river just above the water point at 13.30. Linda had got bored today and Wendy was away with her "boyfriend", so she and her mother had come up to take Colin home and Peter Wright to Banbury station. They walked up the Locks and met us at Lock No 53. Linda had already checked out the mooring situation in the basin and on the river. 
Ian Ballard had left early yesterday morning, so there was to be just John Rushbrook left until Andrew Goodland arrived, either later tonight or early tomorrow morning. Linda and her mum baby sat the boat while Neil, John, Colin and Peter had their farewell meal and drink in one of the expensive, nondescript riverside pubs, by Clopton Bridge. 
That afternoon, John and Neil were to try to clean up the boat, but were delayed by the non operating Travelpower 240v AC Alternator thingy packing up. After much wasted time cleaning alternator brushes and taking control box apart, it was found to be a 12v inline fuse! This problem was to dog us until the Kennet and Avon Canal, when the true fault was found. Finally the vacuuming could be done. 
Andrew Goodland arrived at 19.15 after homing in on us by mobile phone. That night we ate out at a seriously good Indian, The Usha (28 Meer St, Tel : 01789 297348), recommended by Andrew. This was not cheap, but it was in a major tourist spot.


Anglo Welsh hire base at Wooton Wawen. The Wooton Wawen Aqueduct is just to the right of the now landmark hut. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wooton Wawen Aqueduct over the A34. Note the Anglo Welsh lifting beam over the entrance! Obviously for a quick straighten of the stern gear. Southern Stratford Canal. 

The odd Bearley Lock No 39. Southern Stratford Canal. 

looking back from Bearley Lock No 39. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Telephoto shot towards the Edstone (Bearley) Aqueduct. This is the longest canal aqueduct in England. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Edstone (Bearley) Aqueduct. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Edstone (Bearley) Aqueduct. The towpath is set below the cast iron trough. In the distance is Bearley Lock No 39. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Looking back at Edstone (Bearley) Aqueduct. Southern Stratford Canal. 

The deep and not patronised at present, Wilmcote 48 hour, Visitor Moorings. Southern Stratford Canal. 

They are pining back the towpath downstream of Featherbed Lane Bridge No 59 at Wilmcote. Southern Stratford Canal. 

The old wharf, just before Canada Bridge No 60. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Top Lock No 40. "Albert" was in front all the way down the flight and were were to meet them many times on the River Avon. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Top Lock No 40. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Top Lock No 40. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Lock No 43 and Bridge No 61. Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Looking back at Bridge No 61 from Lock No 44. Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Lock No 44 and cottage. Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Lock No 44 cottage. Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

The lockkeepers super new hut. Used to house that important canal maintenance equipment - the lawn movers! Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Looking down at Stratford-upon-Avon. Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Flight. The little Kubota excavator is involved in important canal maintenance - towpath upgrading! Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Looking down the last bit of the Wilmcote Flight. Chaly Beate Bridge No 62A in distance. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Flight. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Wilmcote Flight. The infill rubbish tip that was to the right of picture is now all healed over. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Bridge No 63. Southern Stratford Canal. 

The fleets In (thank God!) Stratford Court timeshare boat base, just above Lock No 52. There is meant to be a sanitary station and water point amongst all this, we could not spot it! Southern Stratford Canal. 

Lock No 52. Southern Stratford Canal. 

looking up from Lock No 52. At least the winding point is still useable. Southern Stratford Canal. 

"Albert" in Lock No 53. Southern Stratford Canal. 

The characteristic cranked balance beam has been preserved on the new bottom Gate of Lock No 53. Bridge No 67 just below. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Earnest arrives at Lock No 53 along with Linda and her mum. Southern Stratford Canal. 

A Morgan Giles 1970's hydraulic drive fibreglass cruiser. At the time BW thought that this was the way forward. We hired one in1970 and predictably, it broke down! Southern Stratford Canal. 

Coming out of Lock No 53. Linda and her mum are adopting an executive pose! Southern Stratford Canal. 

Crossing yet another boat below Lock No53. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Lock No 54. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Looking down at Lock No 54. The bloke has not fallen off his cycle. He is totally pissed and could not even walk along with it! Southern Stratford Canal. 

Detail of pissed cycle pusher. Perhaps the cycle was holding him up? From his dress he looks like an un-employed actor. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Earnest below Lock No 53. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Lock No 54, the last before Bancroft (Stratford) Basin. Southern Stratford Canal. 

One of the characteristic donation plaques set into the top of a bit of old cast iron pipe. Southern Stratford Canal. 

We have just left the A439 Bridge No 68. The Anglo Welsh Boat is happily grinding along the bank and bushes! Southern Stratford Canal. 

Bridge No 69. Beyond this low and narrow bridge is Bancroft Basin. Southern Stratford Canal. 

We emerge into the busy Bancroft Basin. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Sensing an approaching boat, the gongoozlers begin to gather around the wide Basin Lock No 56. River Avon beyond. Bancroft Basin (Stratford) Basin. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Bugger it! that was to be the name of my next boat. Well it will definitely have to be a Dutch Barge now! Bancroft Basin (Stratford) Basin. Southern Stratford Canal. 

This hastily taken shot shows the bricked up arch the other side of the navigation arch under Bridge No 69. Andrew Lee tried to take our Shropshire Union hire boat up here in 1973, with disastrous results. Bancroft Basin (Stratford) Basin. Southern Stratford Canal. 

There is one spot left in the small side arm off the basin. Bancroft Basin (Stratford) Basin. Southern Stratford Canal. 

British Waterways have left there mark with this important navigational aid! Bancroft Basin (Stratford) Basin. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Filling up the Wide exit Lock No 65. Bancroft Basin (Stratford) Basin. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Earnest entering the Wide exit Lock No 56. Bancroft Basin (Stratford) Basin. Southern Stratford Canal. 

Earnest entering the Wide exit Lock No 56. Bancroft Basin (Stratford) Basin. Southern Stratford Canal. 

The Tour continues....

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