Two short days have seen us head a bit further uphill, stopping overnight at Penkridge.
Up Shutt Hill Lock at a quarter to ten.
Midland Chandlers used to run a shop next to Park Gate Lock, but recently sold it. I got chatting with the new owner, Dan as we came up the lock.It turns out that his grandfather used to own the house, the land that the chandlery is built upon , and the boatyard next door. The family has managed to acquire the business and the house, but not the yard - yet.
It was a bit slow going, we were following a single-hander and caught up with him at every lock even though I was running solo too. But we got to Penkridge after just over an hour. We didn't stop at the services, we'll use those at Gailey on Monday. Filance Lock was the last one for the day, and be warned, there are no rings or bollards below the lock to tie to.After seeing Patty-Ann up I nosed up to the bottom gates, stayed in gear and emptied the lock. It works quite well but is quite hard on the bow fender.
We tied up around noon on the moorings above the lock, surprised that we were the only boat there. But by evening that had changed, there was barely a space to be found in the village.
There were a lot of early risers amongst the overnighters, though. I took Amber out at 07:30 and there was only us and one other left on our stretch! At least half a dozen boats had left already! Must have been queueing at Otherton Lock...
We left it a while to let the congestion ease, then got off soon after 10.
We'd had rain yesterday afternoon and evening but the morning was fine, sunny and warm.
We were followed to Otherton Lock by a family outing...
The small dog was quite at home!
Above the lock the canal is flanked by the M6 for the ¾ mile to Rodbaston Lock, but then it turns away.
The canal passes under a disused railway bridge which once carried the branch line from Littleton Colliery, 2½ miles to the east.Gone now of course. Opened in 1877 it was the last deep shaft mine in the country and one of the largest in the Midlands. In 1902 it had reached a depth of over 1600 feet and employed 1900 miners in 1982. It met the fate of many other collieries, closing in December 1993 with the remaining 800 losing their jobs.
Pastoral scene above Rodbaston Lock, but the M6 luks beyond the tree line...
Coming up the unfortunately named Bogg's Lock...
Our last for the day was Brick Kiln Lock. I don't think there's a canal in the country that doesn't have at least one Brick Kiln Lock.Constructing the locks and bridges of a navigation took bricks. Lots and lots of bricks. Whenever suitable material was found on or near the route a brickworks was hastily built and equally hastily dismantled when no longer needed. There are also Brickyard and Brickworks Locks to be found up and down the canals. The same applies to lime kilns used to supply slaked lime for the mortar to hold it all together.
We moored below Gailey Lock and will stay here till Monday. The distinctive outline of the Round House can be seen on the other side of the A5 bridge.
A rather splendid lock-keepers cottage!
We moored in pretty much the same spot in December 2010, after a rather more eventful trip!
Locks 7, miles 5.