Obligatory! 21st September

Laches Bridge 73 to Otherton Marina

By the time we’d had a leisurely breakfast we’d been passed by many boats, in fact by the end of the day we’d seen more moving boats than we’ve seen in all the time since turning onto the Grand Union at Napton Junction three weeks ago. We’d taken so much time in getting ready to push off that the next lot of kids had come past in canoes powered by screams.

On closer inspection that might be NB Jubilee behind Bessie Surtees too!

Last night there had been several boats moored along the stretch in front of us, now there was only one. It turned out to be NB Bessie Surtees, fellow Scarborians! We’d last past them at Tyreley in March last year when we had a brief chat and imagined the world would be back to near normal in a matter of a few months. A good gap in passing boats meant we were able to have quite a chat as we trod water. One day I will find out your names! Lovely to have a catch up, hope the weather stays kind for roof painting and see you somewhere next year.

A good Scarborough Smile

At Hatherton Junction we followed the canal to the left.

A right turn one day (hopefully) will take you onto the Hatherton Canal which is proposed for restoration. This will link up with the Wyrley and Essington Canal at Fishley Junction near Pelsall. The canal used to connect with the Cannock Extension via the Churchbridge Branch climbing 16 locks.

Moored boats, fishermen, a bridge and an on coming boat all happen at the same time when the canal is busy as it is. I wonder how much time the fishermen spend moving their lines out of the way at the moment. The two chaps said they’d caught a few, so it must be worth their time.

The ‘No Mooring or Stopping’ signs look to have had a make over alongside the chemical works. Plenty of boats kept on moving, mostly a mixture of hire and share boats. There was space at Gailey for a top up of the water tank, we also pumped out the yellow water for disposal at the elsan here whilst the lock was pretty much in constant use. Our tank finished filling at the same time as a share boat that had pulled up after us, with two more boats coming towards us we both quickly moved up towards the lock.

Gailey Lock

The obligatory photo was taken with the tower, no longer a shop. Two C&RT chaps lifted a manhole and started to turn off what we assumed was the bywash round the lock, it was still flowing at force as we passed below. We pulled in for some lunch before we carried on.

Stop planks in their house

Taking our time was maybe a good idea as we didn’t end up joining the post lunch queue at Brick Kiln Lock, we arrived just in time to help the boat ahead open and close the bottom gates.

Training boat

At Boggs Lock a training boat was coming up, a time to stand back and not help. Their progress was quite slow, but very safe, as the crew worked the lock everything was explained to them.

Just by the M6

With boats coming towards us and one following there always seemed to be crew to help with gates and paddles. A hire boat at Rodbaston Lock were hoping to reach The Anchor pub today but had been told it was too far to reach. I checked my map, suggesting it would be just short of 3 hours, but with this amount of traffic about maybe longer.

Frothy Man!

Along the side of the M6 I walked on to Otherton Lock. This lock is always so frothy! Why this one in particular?

Handy bridges at some locks now

We decided that we’d stop before Penkridge, giving Tilly a while longer to explore, but the number of woofers was a touch off putting so she spent quite a bit of time on the roof instead of in the friendly cover.

A tight squeeze

During the afternoon we regrouped. Our current cruising plan is possibly being thwarted by vandals emptying pounds on the northern waterways which we suspect C&RT are having difficulty refilling due to low water reserves in reservoirs. We consulted canal plan for alternative routes. Some quicker but hard work. Some very familiar. After quite a bit of debate we have decided that for now we will continue with the original plan hoping that things improve ahead of us. Final decision to be made in ten days. We have Plan B, C and D. We also have our fingers and paws crossed.

But if I cross my paws too much I won’t be able to climb trees!

5 locks, 5.72 miles, 2 fellow Scarborians, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 2 many boats, M6, 1 frothy lock, 4 possible routes, 1 preferred, 20 fingers and 4 paws crossed.


4 thoughts on “Obligatory! 21st September

  1. Anonymous

    It was really good to see you both and have a catch up, take care enjoy your next adventure.
    Barbara and Phil xx

  2. Anonymous

    So you’re turning left! You gave the game away there.
    Also head back towards home I’m guessing.
    Haven’t researched it but low water is usually means the Rochdale the Huddersfield narrow or the macc/peak forest. With sometimes the L&L coming into that situation too! I’ll have to wait and see.

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