Sunday, 14 September 2014

Down the 21.

Farewell to the Black Country Museum.

We slipped away at 0700 Friday, heading north for the Shropshire Union. Of course we were going to have to negotiate the Wolverhampton 21 en-route.

It was nearly 0900 by the time we arrived at Wolverhampton Top Lock and we were pleased to find that the locks are still a delight to work. Just one hand needed to work the paddles and gates that were amenable to opening and closing.

 We even tried racing a train on the main line, it just beat us.

The flight has an almost rural feel to it even though you are still in Wolverhampton.

In the shadow of the incinerator I made a fruitless attempt to straighten up the bow button. Earlier in the year it snagged on a lock gate on the Trent and Mersey and it must have weakened the chains because over the summer it has taken every slight bump as an excuse to snap another link. The chains now consist more of shackles than actual chain and it takes great delight in pointing in every direction except straight forward. I cannot be bothered to take it off and straighten it up yet again so it will have to be a new one, more expense.
We were making good progress even though we were having to turn all the locks and then we met the proverbial numpties coming up, as the next lock ahead was set for them we waited even though they were just entering the one below it. Half an hour later they finally emerged and we could get on. Have you ever seen paddles raised half inch by half inch?

At lock 18 we met the Narrow Boat Trust's Nuneaton and Brighton heading south fully loaded, attracting much interest from the local population who seemed unfamiliar with the idea that the canals once carried goods.

We let them turn the lock for the butty so the good time we were making on the locks had by now slipped to below average.

These were the gates we had been looking for.

At Aldersley Junction we left the BCN and for a half mile or so we traversed the Staffs.& Worcs. to Cut End, a.k.a. Autherley Junction and turned through the stop lock onto the Shroppie.

A nice lady from the boat following us kindly shut the gate for us.
We wandered on as far as the S.U.C.S. moorings by bridge eight where we are having a day or two of quiet contemplation after all the excitement of the Black Country.

Watch this space.........

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