Monday, 18 July 2011

It all gets a bit rocky.

Having overstayed at Kinver we felt we really should move on so when the rain stopped this morning we untied and set off, we're still aiming for the Severn but "The best laid plans o' mice and men" as someone once said. The banks of the cut on this stretch are overwhelmed with Himalayan Balsam,

a pernicious foreign invader, but the air was heavy with the perfume of meadowsweet,

a native of these isles and in the past used as a strewing herb, that means it was chucked on the floor to keep the place smelling nice, it was the favourite of her maj. Queen Elizabeth the First. On a warm day the smell can be overwhelming, today, well you could just about smell it.
We were now well and truly in the land of red sandstone,

the canal is narrow and cut through the rock, the rock face overgrown like something from a Tarzan novel.

In places it becomes a tight squeeze, no idea what happens if you meet someone coming the other way.
At Cookley the canal burrows under the main street,

luckily it is wide enough here for boats to pass, you just have to wait for the boat coming the other way to clear the tunnel.
Hardly have you passed through the tunnel when you come to Debdale Lock,

hewn from the living rock. Alongside the lock is an intriguing cavern cut into the cliff,

 some of the guide books describe it as boat horse stable,

but unless the horses could leap the lock or possibly walk across the lock gates there is no way you could get a nag across to it.

Inside there is a ledge carved out around the sides, it looks very much like a seat but why would you have a large room with seating on a relatively remote lock? My guess is utterly mundane, it's the lengthsmans store and restroom.

Once you leave the lock you're back into cuttings,


and woods and cuttings.
We were only too happy when we arrived at Wolverley Lock and the eponymous pub,

we went in for a beer and a sarnie but they were having a "Fish week" so I ended up having Monkfish Thermidor and Jill had the fried haddock, despite a mix up with the orders, mostly my fault, the meal was superb and the beer was top notch. The veg. was from their garden, courgettes and runner beans, you couldn't get it any fresher. This afternoon was spent snoozing, nothing new there and the debate is now a). A bottle of plonk on board or b)Back up The Lock for a beer.

Watch this space..............

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