Maia - First Trip on our 'new' canal boat13 Sep 2020
- Sunday 13th September 2020 - Our first day on Maia
- Monday 14th - Bittall Reservoir & Lickey Hills 8km walk
- Tuesday 15th - Earlswood Reservoir 10km walk
- Wednesday 16th - Wootten Wawen
- Thursday 17th - Preston Baggott
- Friday 18th - Lapworth Locks and Earlswood Reservoirs
- Saturday 19th - Return to base
2020 was the year of covid-19, and many holidays were cancelled and plans changed. We (Daphne & Nick) decided we would like to have a share in a narrowboat again, and after some investigation we bought a 12% share in narrowboat Maia. We had previously owned a share in another boat (Apperley) for about 10 years, with BCBM (https://www.bcbm.co.uk/) as the managing agents, and were happy to use them again.
Sunday 13th September 2020 - Our first day on Maia
Charles from BCBM met us at Alvechurch Marina, and gave us a thorough introduction to Maia. A very pleasant surprise - we were also given a bottle of bubbly to welcome us as new owners to Maia! We were looking forward to taking her out, but pleased to learn about her.
Setting off along the canal our first impressions were good, and we soon reached a good mooring spot, 3/4 mile before Hopwood. We intended to eat on board, but Hopwood House beckoned for a quick beer, and that became a meal (very nice).
Monday 14th - Bittall Reservoir & Lickey Hills 8km walk
Monday started bright and early with a 8.4km (5.25 miles) walk. We started from our mooring on the canal, along the canal towpath before climbing steadily, through the Bittall reservoirs and then along paths and tracks to the Lickey Hills Country Park, where we enjoyed coffee and cake at the visitor centre cafe. Our walk back was much easier, mainly downhill. We thoroughly enjoyed the walk, but found it quite a strenuous climb to the Park. Not back to the boat until mid-day.
We meandered on to Earlswood in beautiful weather and had a BBQ on the towpath.
That evening we enjoyed our bottle of bubbly with a BBQ beside the canal.
Tuesday 15th - Earlswood Reservoir 10km walk
Lovely walk, longer than we anticipated at over 7 miles, to Tanners Green, Forshaw Heath & Earlswood Reservoirs.
Having started later than we had planned, we reached the Lapworth Locks, and then realised we had, once started, to keep going until we could get through the locks and find somewhere to moore. 24 locks later we tied up, very tired! Our initial plan had been to moor a few locks back near to The Boot pub, but the moorings were all full and below the junction was the earliest we could tie up. The couple in front of us were still learning, and we helped them a little, which slowed us slightly.
Wednesday 16th - Wootten Wawen
We continued through locks, again a gorgeous day, and we had lunch near to the Craft Centre at Wootten Wawen. Daphne managed to buy a replacement chain for her SOS talisman. We continued, crossing the Edstone Aquaduct, then winding (turning round), recrossing the aquaduct and then mooring for the night. We walked back, over the aquaduct, then under it and round it - quite a feet of engineering.
Thursday 17th - Preston Baggott
As we worked our way back up the locks, we met ‘Debbie’ a lady operating her boat ‘Europa’ on her own - very skilled, like watching one of the boatmen of old. She was nearly as fast working on her own through the locks, as we were working as a couple.
An elderly muscovy duck was sitting next to one of the locks - but he managed to move when Daphne appeared with the duck food.
We moored just after lock 25 and went on a loverly short walk along Dicks Lane to the Grand Union canal where we found the ‘Tom of the Wood’ pub - very nice, and dog friendly.
Friday 18th - Lapworth Locks and Earlswood Reservoirs
We knew we had a flight of locks to climb, so started fairly early - we were underway about 8:30am. Luckily for us, 2 lock keepers were doing some kind of assesment exercise and decided to help us up through the locks whilst doing it, which took us fairly quickly up about half of the flight. When they left we settled into a fairly fast rythm, and found we had caught up with Debbie, who was working the locks on her own, but very efficiently and quickly. The two boats and three people made fairly quick progress up the rest of the flight. Debbie stopped near the top, but we continued, dropped into Wedges Bakery, and then moored near to the Earlswood reservoirs.
Our afternoon / evening walk was around part of the Earlswood Reservoir nature reserve. The Red Lion pub was on our route back to the boat - very nice beer we found. When we later looked at the map we realised we had only been round about 1/4 of the reserve. Plenty more for next time!
Plan ‘A’ had been a BBQ, but it was cold by the time we returned to the boat, so plan ‘B’ involved Daphne cooking dinner in the oven. We finished off with enormous apple struddle slices we had bought from Wedges Bakery - gorgeous!
Saturday 19th - Return to base
8:30am start. An uneventful day if you don’t notice that Daphne tripped and fell near the remote controlled liftbridge. Luckily she seemed to suffer very few ill effects and we continued along the canal, through the tunnels, and back to base by 3:00pm.
A short walk on the way back - only 1.6 miles, and we had a quick look at the short aquaduct on the aptly named Aquaduct Lane. Daphne rescued a horse that had managed to get his hoof caught up in a wire fence - this may have been his, attention seeking, party trick!