Summer Cruise#2-Days 36-39


Getting a bit behind? Well, it is the same route going back, for the most part. We try and keep up with the news, via the Internet. Good old BBC. Seems Trump wants another Korean war and the BBC want to debate Climate Change again or is the Earth really flat? “History repeats itself, has to, no one listens” as the poem goes.

Meanwhile, Adagio, what’s happening?

We moved off from Brewood on Tuesday, just a bit to beyond bridge 8 as we had seen some nice moorings, out in the open air and with rings.  The batteries were down to 53% – their lowest on any trip so far, so we had run the engine, so better move as well.

The Shroppie does have its narrow bits:

Past the Wolverhampton Boat Club and a boat that has a canopy for the trad stern!

Down at the Autherley junction – which obscures, just, a huge sewage works – now the main source of feeder water for the canals – and here it issues forth

Autherley junction and the “silly” 6 inch drop lock

We turn right and moor up

We’ve only been an hour or so but the rain stopped at 11 and so we bimbled on. Stopping opposite Oxley Marine, where the marvellously named Orpheus Mable supplied us with a pump out (@ £12.50).  All set for the early start on the Wolverhampton flight in the morning.

One reason I always snap our “final position” is for the record – so if CRT wanted proof that we don’t overstay, we have it!

Here’s Oxley Marine

With the prospect of doing 21 locks and then maybe pushing on to the Black Country museum or even Birmingham, we got up early on Thursday and with the sun streaming through, we slipped our lines at 0720. Through the dawn’s early light . . . .

Under the magnificent bridges with some hidden graffiti

Only a few hundred yards of the Staffs & Worcs canal, turn left

And straight in to the first of the 21:

Thankfully ALL 21 were in our favour and empty, so the gates just pushed open, making our ascent very easy and rapid. Here’s Viv, doing the first one.

About a third of the way up we spy a chap in blue – yes, a CRT volly, who has been opening lock gates for us, yippee!

Nearly there, lock No 2. . . .

At the top! And lock No 1 – yippee – all done by 11, cool!

Not bad. So we decide to press on to Brum . . . .

How little did we know what was waiting for us just round the corner and for the next 5 miles . . . . WEED and lots of it.

Adds a new meaning to “Down the hatch!”, as poor Steve had to turn the engine off, open the hatch, take the hatch bar off, drag out the heavy steel weed hatch and fish around for the blockage – shed loads of weed.

I know that weed is a blanket term but we had blankets of weed . . . down that f****@#$$ing hatch every 5 minutes – “it do make I vivid” as our late neighbour Ron would say! Extremely stressed I would add.

Still it was not for long. A huge working boat from CRT zoomed by towing another, so hopefully they might have swept out a path for us. Another half hour and we had come to the Tipton junction, where Telford’s new arm meets Brindley’s old one. We took the old arm last time, so we’ll take the new one this time. Down the Factory 3 locks first.

I like these long shots – makes our boat seem even bigger.

Telford’s new cut is very long and straight. Different and now no more weed. (Note the wild Sweet Peas on the right!)

There are connections to the old route – here’s one with 3 locks.

And here, at Spon junction (lovely name)

Here we pass under the M6 and the aqueduct carrying the old line above us.

There’s the aqueduct . . . what we came over last time!

Lots of heritage here – this is Galton bridge – carrying the Engine arm branch

Here’s where the old and new lines meet/part . . . come full circle now

And the Soho factory

Steve looking a tad less stressed now but a bit fatigued after this longest day! Eight and a half engine hours, sixteen miles and twenty-four locks.

Must be getting nearer to Brum as the graffiti increases . . .

We moor up, rather opportunistically, at the first mooring we come to as it’s a 14 day mooring! And hopefully a tad quieter? After showers & a rest, we saunter out to have a well-earned pint at the Vaults then the task of finding some food. Something that turned out a bit tricky. What is it with these giant city centres? Maybe a take away or a pub with a garden? Most suitable places rapidly turned to unsuitable as they wouldn’t accept our dog. In the end we stopped at the Tap & Spile for a Mexican burger and two beers (£28+). Despite their huge sign, they had no Timothy Taylor’s Landlord so we had Mexican beer to go with the burger. Very odd and insipid after a decent pint in the Vaults. Better planning next time. We sat outside – spot the Toby? What a long-suffering dog he is.

Oh and it came on a bread board, with chips imprisoned in a cage. If you haven’t heard John Finnemore’s rant about this . . .

Our mooring, opposite the Oozell’s loop and just by the Gin Distillery.

Adagio – middle of photo!