Thursday, January 29, 2009

Onto unfamiliar waters….

Pulled away at 10:30 this morning, retracing our route back to Autherley. It was a bit drizzly first thing, but this cleared up, leaving a grey but dry day. We even had a glimpse of the sun later in the afternoon.

We filled with water and dumped the rubbish at the junction, before turning right onto the Staffs and Worcs.

Back through Autherley Stop Lock.

Autherley Junction
Although there’s evidence of the Wolverhampton conurbation, it’s surprisingly rural past the town, with the canal hiding in a wooded cutting.

Paired blue brick railway arches

Aldersley Junction takes the Birmingham Main Line up the 21 lock Wolverhamton Flight on it’s way to Horseley Fields Junction in the centre of the city.

Aldersley Junction. The bottom lock of the “Wolverhampton 21” can just be seen through the bridge arch.

Compton Lock has the distinction of being the first lock completed on the navigation, in the late 1760’s.

Compton Lock
It’s accompanied by a circular bywash weir, a feature of several of these locks. Meg seems to find it fascinating.

After Compton, we caught up with NB POLAR STAR, who was, in turn, trailing 3 BW workboats. But there wasn’t much of a hold-up, and we were through Wightwick Lock by soon after 14:00.

Waiting to go into Wightwick Lock.
We moored shortly after, near Pool Hall. Alongside is a feeder reservoir, popular with local anglers.
First impressions of this stretch of the Staffs and Worcs.? I like it. The canal is a lot cleaner than I expected, and the towpath is in good condition. So are the locks, at least those we’ve descended today.

I'm glad to see that someone's found a use for the newly installed square bollards...

Locks 4, miles 7

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