First we had to finish the Theatre Tour which we had started on Sunday and could not complete because the back stage tour did not finish until after the Theatre had officially closed at 5 pm. So at 10 o’clock we were the first people up the Theatre Tower which stands 32 metres above street level and is reached by 174 steps or 2 lifts. The tower was inspired by the original Memorial Theatre (now the Swan) Water Tower which was destroyed by fire in 1926. From the top it is possible to see for around 20 miles and over 5 counties; Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, and Herefordshire.
The wind was howling through the closed louvre windows of the observation platform, not a good idea in these conditions but needed in the heat of summer to allow fresh air to enter. With clear skies the view was much better that we had expected and we could see well know land marks miles away as well as the key areas of Stratford Town.
The Canal Entrance to the Basin
Clopton Bridge, The Tramway Bridge with the Theatre and Bancroft Gardens in the foreground.
Holy Trinity Church and Snowshill Tower at the centre of the distant hills
The remainder of the Old Water Tower with the original theatre entrance and library
The Costume Making Dept. and Actors Accommodation Cottages.
King Edward 6th Grammar School where Christian is in his first term.
After 20 minutes up the tower we returned to the boat and although it was quite windy we manoeuvred easily out of the pontoon mooring and reversed up to the canal entrance to wind and head for the first lock. We made good progress up the locks and caught up another boat at the Bishopton Lock. They decided to stop for water at bridge 63 so we overtook them and headed for Wilmcote Bottom Lock where we had to wait for another boat to come down and then travelled up the flight passing about 6 boats coming down. At the central flight of 5 locks there were 3 volunteers helping to controls boats through and one of them, Howard, helped June with the lock gates as some of the them are really heavy to handle. As a result of Howards help we sped up the locks and were moored up before the heavy showers just after lunch time.
At the last flight of 3 locks we saw the Trading Boat from the basin, Nb Lepus, just leaving the last lock and we eventually moored up behind him in Wilmcote.
The Wilmcote flight is in a lovely setting with great views over Stratford and its surrounds and as can be seen in the bottom right hand photo June and Howard took a leisurely approach to the locks.
On the last leg into Wilmcote we had a large party of School Children pass us walking down to the locks. They were jumping up above the reeds to wave and shout hello to each boat that passed them and were even allowed to help Autumn Years through a lock which was great for them (the children I mean).
We moored up in almost the same spot that we had moored on the way down into Stratford and later Nb Lepus moved off enabling Nb Autumn Years to take its place immediately in front of us. They had had a slow journey up the locks having to wait for boats to come down and go up in front of them and were about an hour behind us. It is strange what a difference 5 minutes can make in starting off.