Vlog 108: Spa – take us!

Moving the narrowboat from the top of lock 2 on the Droitwich Barge canal (near Hawford Junction) and up to Droitwich Spa itself. I end up on the visitor moorings at Netherwich basin and go for a walk around Vines Park.

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  1. I did the Droitwich Junction Canal and the Barge Canal with some friends two years ago on a 68 foot hire boat. The Junction Canal is in places winding and narrow – far narrower than anything I’ve seen you go through on the vlog so far, and not much more than the width of the boat. The re-purposed culvert under the M5 is fun, as in our boat there was about (IIRC) 18 inches of headroom between the top of the cabin at the back and the roof of the culvert, with less at the front of the boat. So as I was steering I had to crouch down and peer along the top of the boat with the roof of the culvert gliding past a couple of inches above my head. (At least, being a modern concrete construction there are no places where the roof drops, unlike the Harecastle.)

    It probably wasn’t necessary to look to steer anyway, as there are wooden rubbing planks on the sides of the culvert, at tickover you’re just going to nudge them, and it’s so narrow the boat isn’t going to go anywhere except forwards anyway. There are height gauges before each end of the culvert, so if you find the boat is oversize you can just back off before getting stuck in it. I can’t remember how far back you would have to go – quite a long way, probably a mile or so – to get to a winding hole to turn round.

    I’ve probably completely deterred you from even trying, but when you’re feeling bold, go for it. I found the experience of the Junction canal to be the most engrossing and most enjoyable afternoon’s boating I’ve ever done on the canals in my life.

    • I want to do it one day but will combine it with going up Tardebigge (and for that I intend to engage fellow crew members!!)

  2. Hello, I am a fairly new viewer of the vlog, from Germany. Having caught up the backlog from when your travels began, I had, one day, found another Youtuber’s videos on my recommendation page, which involved the restorations on this very canal, from Droitwich to the Severn. Not much, but some sad states of disrepair to be seen.


    The Droitwich Videos, obviously.

    Sorry for dredging up the video, but I wanted to post this in an appropriate section.

  3. Another spiffing video. Do we detect an elevated vocal delivery? Is that owing to the presence of a Waitrose in the film?
    Splendid all round. Must venture that way sometime.
    Isn’t there a new marina there?

    • Not new exactly, Droitwich marina’s been open for a while now but yes, if you carry on East through the swing bridges, under the (very low!) M5 culvert and out to Hanbury direction you would get to Droitwich marina.

  4. A map at beginning of each video, and a general canal map here, will help us orient ourselves as we follow along.
    Besides wondering in your colorful language ( flocks of cows) I am using your adventures to select where to hire and which places to move down the list.
    A bit of time spent with any basic book on seamanship and navigation would help elevate your comments.. like it or not you are educating folk who will venture out for the first time in a narrow boat.
    So understanding basic right of way, signals and such ..while it might make you angry with the behavior of other boaters, could be a boon to others.
    My Walter Mitty Cup runneth over.. thanks for the extensive look at so many canals.

    • I don’t intend putting maps up, I don’t think they really add any useful context to anyone who doesn’t already know the area. Besides, I list plenty of place names which are left as an exercise for the viewer to Google. You can find a general canal map at the Canal and River Trust website.

      I don’t understand your comment about a book on seamanship and navigation “elevating” my comments. Firstly such texts are largely inappropriate to the inland canals and secondly I am quite sufficiently aware of the relevant boat-handling requirements and rights of way. Thirdly this is a personal vlog, not a tutorial.

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