Coven

We departed Brewood early this morning hoping to pass through the narrows prior to Autherley Junction, without meeting too much oncoming boat traffic. We succeeded in that objective however the queue at the stop lock by the junction would slow us up a bit. We filled with water whilst waiting, and in no time it was our turn. Passing through the lock we turned left onto the Staffs and Worcs Canal. At this point on the canal we are on the outskirts of Wolverhampton. It is easy to tell when near a city, as the canal water appears black in colour. We had one further narrow section to pass through and could see a boat ahead of us, so we followed them in. We arrived at our planned mooring location between bridges 73 and 74 at about 1.30 pm. We now have a timescale of sorts to keep to, in that yesterday I booked our visit to Calcutt Boats for the 1st September. This is have our diesel heater repositioned in the engine room, to a more serviceable location. Calcutt Boats are located on the Grand Union Canal south of Braunston so we have some way to go yet. Tomorrow the weather is reported to take a turn for the worse later in the afternoon, so we will aim for another early morning start.

Total 10 Miles 1 Lock
Running total 446 Miles 215 Locks 18 Tunnels

Coven, bridge 74 Staffs and Worcs.

Yesterday we departed Acton Trussell. This was nice spot and whilst here we met the crew of Barolo No. 3 as they passed. We had not seen them since the Hudson open weekend last year. It is great having a catch up and you never know who is going to be round the next corner. Our first stop was by Park Gate Lock, where Midland Chandlers have a shop. We had walked here the previous day purchasing a pair of outdoor folding chairs, due to the fact they were offering a discount whilst the Crick Show was on. Not wanting to carry the chairs 2 1/2 miles back to the boat, they agreed to put them aside ready for collection. We also wanted a pump out at the boatyard just beyond the lock. We won’t be using them again, they charge double if you want the tank rinsed which is normally included in the price. It was then on to the village of Penkridge. Both of us needed haircuts and this village has six hairdressing establishments. Unfortunately for the crew all the lady hairdressers required a booking whereas I just sat and waited my turn. The village also boasts an excellent bakery, and a very tempting old fashioned sweet shop. Thank god we don’t live in Penkridge. Back at the boat we refilled the water tank and had lunch, then we were off again, aiming for somewhere south of Gailey. 

      

Approaching Gailey lock with its iconic round tower which was used by the toll keepers. This was to be the last of ten locks we did that day.
      
                       One of the crew peering over the edge to make sure I am doing it right.
There we lots of visitor moorings at Gailey but we pushed on and were soon passing a chemical works with warning signs of No Stopping or Mooring and guard dogs patrolling. Even without the warnings I have to say that parking next to a chemical works would not be high on my list of preferred spots. We passed Hatherton Marina and shortly after found a rural spot just prior to bridge 74.
At 11 am today we set off for a short mile and a half walk to the pub at Cross Green. Whilst taking refreshments a pair of old working boats pulled in and moored outside the pub. The boats were Nuneaton (motor) and Brighton (butty).
     

      

  

On return to the boat we had lunch and waited for the old boats to come chugging past. I have enough trouble controlling one boat sometimes, never mind two. The boats are heading back to Alvecote and expect to be there on Friday. That’s some going as it’s taken us nearly three weeks to get here from there.
      

Tomorrow we plan an early start, hopefully passing through the narrows prior to Autherley Junction and the Shropshire Union Canal without meeting any boat traffic. Either way we will then be on the home straight for Chester and a wedding at the end of June.
Totals 11 Miles 10 Locks