Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Sorry, no room inside

Stourport is a wonderful place to visit; its basins are one of the great cornerstone's of the canal system.
In commercial carrying days they were teeming with boats loading, unloading or shipping between the canal and the River Severn below. Stourport only exists because James Brindley chose it as the spot for the inland port where his canal vision would come to fruition - where inland waterway transport would link to the river and ultimately the sea.
Go and pay homage. Just don't expect to moor in the uniquely preserved basins. British Waterways has, once more, sold its birthright, and the place is full of long term moorings leaving just a smattering around the edges for visitors. Ok, it needs the money and, yes, there are moorings outside but I couldn't help feeling frustrated that at 3pm the only way to moor was to pay an exorbitant tenner a night (electric extra) at the marina. We turned round and found a slot outside.
I felt especially sorry for hire boaters who saw Stourport with its basins, its funfair, its cafes and shops as the perfect family stop-off. We watched several of them innocently work down the lock into the basin, only to find it full and then work down onto the Severn - only to find the small landing stages there full too.
What to do now with tired and hungry children and increasingly irritated parents? I really don't know - I wish them luck.
Maybe a bit less of the 'plentiful morings' the guides witter about, a bit more sound advice from the hire companies, maybe even a large BW sign at the edge of Stourport warning of limited moorings in or near the basins. Or even, a few less long term moorings and a few more visitor ones. Oh I know, I'm only joking. That'll never happen.
PS A whole complex of Barratt 'luxury' apartments and houses is being built around a cul-de-sac basin to one side of the main ones. It's closed off, presumably for Health & Safety reasons, but I wonder who'll be able to moor there? Visitors? Ha, ha, ha.

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