Saturday, November 26, 2011

Looking back, moving forward

It was exactly 12 months ago that we broke ice to Penkridge after a night of -5°. It would be 10 days before we broke out, crunching and munching our way to Gailey to join up with NBs Rock’n’Roll and Moore2Life. 
 Another 4 weeks passed before we were able to get going again, and even then we encountered some fairly thick patches of ice.

We making the same trip again this year, only in temperatures considerably higher.

I had a bit of shopping to do this morning, but we were still on the move by 10:00. The first lock today was just 20 minutes away. With another boat arriving at the top we were able to leave the top gates open, and we had the same sort of luck at most of them today.

Another 20 minutes saw us at Hunts Lock, arguably the first of the Fradley locks.

Hunts Lock.SAM_0001 Hunts Lock
BW have the gear ready for Monday’s closure.

Keepers Lock is next, just under the bridge arch in the distance. These 2 are due to close on Monday for a week, which is why we needed to be through this weekend.

After Keepers we pulled in on the services to empty a loo and drop off a bag of rubbish. We’d filled up with water at Alrewas on Thursday, so didn’t have to use the very slow tap here. We can top up again near Armitage tomorrow.

Coming up Fradley Locks, approaching Junction Lock.SAM_0004 Junction Lock

Mags had to be a bit careful to squeeze through alongside the boatyard above the junction. It always busy here. At least there was no-one coming the other way…

Narrowboat Slalom.SAM_0006 Congestion opposite boatyard

Two more locks, Middle and Shadehouse, and we were clear of Fradley. Woodend Lock is about 15 minutes on.

The pretty Woodend LockSAM_0008 Woodend
Just behind me, as I took the picture, is where the proposed HS2 rail link will cross the canal.
This was our last lock today. We motored gently through a very autumnal Ravenshaw Wood, and past Kings Bromley Wharf and Kings Bromley Marina.

Through Ravenshaw Wood.SAM_0009 Ravenshaw Wood
There are more leaves on the water than on the trees!

Kings Bromley Wharf
SAM_0011 Kings Bromley Wharf
The chimney indicates some sort of industrial use in the past, a trawl of the web found an old OS map with the site marked as “Creamery”.


The wharf was built to service Edward’s Creamery, with coal coming in, presumably with raw milk from canalside farms, and pasteurised or processed milk products being shipped out. More info here. Incidently, this is the blog of FMC NB Minnow, moored in Fradley as we came through this morning. Have a look at the photo above.

We pulled in a little further on, just before Bridge 55.

Moored near bridge 55SAM_0013 Nr Br 55

It’s been a dry day, but breezy. Forecasted to stay much the same over the next few days.

George and Carol, Chas and Ann, we’re planning on being at Penkridge on Tuesday afternoon so we can visit the Wednesday market, then we’ll be moving on to Gailey on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning. See you then.

Lock 7, miles 4

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