Barge Holiday 2000

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Barge Holiday

I went on a barge holiday with a bunch of friends for a week in June 2000.
Dave Steering
Yvonne and Kate
Craig and Andy Steering
Craig (on the left)


Kate at Breakfast
Karen Reading
MeMe Craig and Andy
Andy (on the right)

Action Shots

In roughly chronological order.
Dave Steering Dave Steering
Probably leaning that way because there's a tall bloke with a camera blocking his view the other way. Oops.
Wolverhampton Locks Wolverhampton Locks
A flight of 21 locks gets us started. Andy decides he has to balance on the lock gate. Well, someone had to. Didn't they?
Yvonne And Kate Yvonne And Kate
Child minding is going to be an important part of this trip. Here Yvonne manages both children at once - outstanding!
Craig and Andy Craig and Andy
Lean two blokes against a lock gate and it becomes a macho thing. Both of them trying to get the first movement from that gate. Its rather futile - wait long enough and the gate opens easily. That doesn't stop people pushing though.
Karen Karen
A rare 'that locks not ready yet' moment mean the barge has to be held for a few minutes.
Tunnel Tunnel
A short tunel gets us started. Later we go through 2 tunnels almost 2 miles long. We saw one bat, which was nice. And lots of water pouring through the roof of the tunnel, which wasn't.
Tunnel Exit Tunnel Exit
Two hundred year old brickwork and some amazing reflections.
Beans Foundry Beans Foundry
The guide book told us to expect plenty of metal bashing industry. And it was right.
Craig and Andy Steering Craig and Andy Steering
Not all of the canal was this straight.
Geese Geese
Ducks, swans, geese, coots and moorhens all seemed to have babies. Gill showed an amazing aptitude for ornithology from the front of the boat; she'd have loved these.
Metal Bashing Metal Bashing
We decided to follow part of the Birmingham Old Main line. This meant we had three locks up and three locks down that we would otherwise not have to do. But it meant we got picturesque sights like this one.
Under M5 Under M5
The Old Main Line passes under the M5.
Pump House Pump House
The pump house was open because the engine was being painted. Apparently the other half of the engine is in Birmingham museum.
Karen And Yvonne Karen And Yvonne
Andy Entering Lock Andy Entering Lock
That rope ball on the front is there for a reason, you know. The only reason they're not down the sides as well is that there simply isn't room!
Karen Reading Karen Reading
Karen and Andy are fellow second hand bookshop lovers. Just as well judging by the amount they read between them.
The Boys The Boys
Dave, Craig and Andy in a lock.
Dave and Kate Dave and Kate in Brindley Place
Just behind the sea life centre. We got a few groceries from a shop near here. Kate played near the fountains while Gill fell down steps.
Leaving Gas Street Basin Leaving Gas Street Basin
Stopped for a night near here to visit the sea life centre.
Kate in Life Jacket Kate in Life Jacket
It was kind of a battle: Kate didn't like the life jacket but everyone else felt better when she had it on. Occasionally we won.
Approaching Tunnel Approaching Tunnel
This is the first of the two mile tunnels. In here we met a couple of boats coming the other way. One tried to reverse out to avoid us but met another coming the other way. There is room to pass. Just.
Craig Waiting Craig Waiting
The thing about barges is that they move slowly enough that you can walk ahead of them. And they have to slow down for narrow bridges so you can jump on there. Handy when you want a cigarette.
Craig and Kate Craig and Kate
I reckon Craig will have his gate open first.
Yvonne Driving Yvonne Driving
The is on the 58 lock Tardebigge flight. With 58 locks to avoid those ducklings are going to have to learn fast.
Craig at Severn Craig at Severn
We've finished the Tardebigge flight and we're having an afternoon in Worcester. We'll scout to see whether the river is open, send postcards, find a curry house, check out the motorcycle shop and buy more wine. All the essentials. And Karen will go clothes shopping.
The Commandery The Commandery
Our boat is moored down the canal a bit. We stopped here for a take away curry and a look round Worcester. We also had to find out if the River Severn was passable. Apparently it will be tomorrow.
Leaving Worcester Leaving Worcester
Craig winds the lock, then we're heading for a fill up of water then the Severn.
Andy Filling Water Tank Andy Filling Water Tank
You fill the boat's water tank using the hose. Which has a dodgy connector so it has to be held on. Which is what Andy's doing. Obviously. Couldn't possibly be mistaken for doing anything else. No way.
Worcester Cathedral Worcester Cathedral
This was taken from the river Severn as we headed for Stourport. A huge number of swans were on the river here. There were also some suicidal schoolgirls in a boat.
Kate In Sunglasses Kate In Sunglasses
This is in the lounge area near the front deck. Doubled as my and Craigs bedroom except for the one night where it was a late night playroom.
Icecreams Icecreams!
This is Stourport where we leave the river Severn. Gills first proper icecream. Kate attempts 'icecream art' by smearing it everywhere.
Dave With Ice Cream Dave With Ice Cream
Dave shows how it should be done. Look no mess!
Gill With Ice Cream Gill with Ice Cream
Gill still hasn't quite got to grips with it though...
Kate With Ice Cream Kate With Ice Cream
...and Kate certainly hasn't.
Kate With Camera Kate With Camera
That classic me taking a picture of you taking a picture of me moment. But mines loaded.
Kate On Slide Kate On Slide
I had ribs at this pub and they were fantastoc. This was also the most attractive bit of canal we went on.
Gill On Slide Gill On Slide
but she was helped to the top.
delph Locks Delph Locks near Merry Hill
Dramatic flight of locks this. Its just before "Nine locks bridge". Which is odd since there are only 8 locks. More catchy than "Eight-locks-but-there-used-to-be-more bridge" I suppose.
Yvonne and Gill Yvonne and Gill
Yvonne and Kate
Inside The Boat Inside the Boat
Bridge 59 Restaurant Bridge 59 Restaurant
Enter: weary travellers, ready for beer. They see no bar, just tables, like in a restaurant.
WT: Where's the pub bit?
Waitress: This isn't a pub, it's a restaurant
WT: So where's the pub?
Waitress: Over the road.
Exit: weary travellers, ready for beer.
Last Bridge Last Bridge, Last Lock
Then we're back in the boatyard. Back in the cars and away up a motorway that seems to be far too fast.
Andy Pulling the Boat Andy Pulling the Boat
In a former life he was a cart horse you know. Its 50:50 whether its cheaper to pay for diesel to run the engine, or beer to run Andy.

There are even more pictures on Dave's website at

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Material Copyright © 2000 Richard Jarvis