1979 – Guillemot

The winter trip for 1978 – 9 had to be cancelled. I recall that this was due to ice, but David remembers it as being due to low water levels due to a strike. (This was the “Winter of Discontent”)  Instead, Ken Harrop organised a fortnight’s trip in May. I wasn’t on this one (the only one I missed entirely) so all reminiscences and information welcome. I do have Hilary’s photos and notes though. the trip got off to a good start when one of the crew lost his glasses in the cut. Amazingly, they were retrieved the next morning before departure. They had to pay £24 for a passage of the southern Stratford Canal, then managed by the National Trust, but still got stuck in a lock for an hour on the Lapworth flight and also caught fast in a bridgehole further on. Being a cultured crew they visited the theatre in Stratford, one of only a very few recorded instances of cultural activity on these trips! Thursday, 3rd May was election night when the Tories swept back to power after the “winter of discontent”. Perhaps wealthy Upton-upon-Severn was not the best place to be and several of the crew got into a “heated political discussion”  with the locals in the pub which almost led to them being thrown out. They did most of the BCN in heavy rain, which they would have enjoyed, and even got up to Titford Pools. On their asccent of Farmer’s Bridge locks they were delayed whilst a body was removed from the cut.  Smethwick was described as a “reat place” with “forges and places” – “real ace grot!” One of the crew won the raffle in the Three Tuns at Fazeley and they all got free butties because there was a darts match on. (Note to younger readers: darts matches are what happened in pubs before quiz nights were invented!). There is a report of being delayed at Atherstone locks because of the number of other boats – the only recorded instance of this I have come across.

Dates: 28th April  – Saturday 12th May 1979

Boat: Guillemot, from Willow Wren at Rugby

Route: Rugby – Braunston – Hatton – Kingswood – Stratford – Tewkesbury  – Stourport – Aldersley Jc – Wolverhampton – Wyrley & Essington – Walsall – Tame Valley Canal – Salford Jc – Birmingham – Oldbury – Titford Pools – Spon Lane Locks –  Birmingham – Fazeley – Hawkesbury Jc – Rugby.

Crew:  Lynda Barr (1 night), Jon Bore*, Clive Coole, David Evans, Ken Harrop, Lily Hopkins, Mike Piet, Duncan Roberts, Hilary Smith, John Tidy*, Pat Tidy.

Stopping Places and Pubs

Saturday, 28th April: The Rose (Watneys), Willoughby

Sunday, 29th: Zetland Arms (Davenports), Warwick

Monday, 30th: Wootton Wawen

Tuesday, 1st May:  Stratford-upon-Avon (Theatre – “Merry Wives of Windsor”)

Wednesday, 2nd: Pershore (Pub not recorded but sold Marston’s and Courage Directors)

Thursday, 3rd: Swan (Wadworth’s 6X), Upton-on-Severn (Election Night!)

Friday, 4th: Tontine Hotel (Banks’s), Stourport

Saturday, 5th: Round Oak (Springfield Bitter), Wombourne

Sunday, 6th: Top of Walsall Locks (Pub not recorded but sold Springfield Bitter)

Monday, 7th: Prince of Wales (Ansells) Birmingham (Tied up Gas Street basin)

Tuesday, 8th: as yesterday! (After trip via Old Main line and Titford Pools, Spon Lane locks and New Main Line)

Wednesday, 9th: Three Tuns (M&B), Fazeley Junction

Thursday, 10th  Atherstone – Pub not recorded but sold Davenports

Friday, 11th: Union Jack, Stretton (Nr Brinklow)


There are lots of Hilary’s photos that will be included once I’ve scanned them.


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