Gailey Walking. 2nd May

Penkridge visitor mooring to Moat House Bridge

Waking this morning there was some good news, the bits and bobs we win from time to time on our premium bonds were a little bit bigger this month, enough to cover some of the work my molar requires. Quite a relief.

Swapping with C&RT

After breakfast we were the only boat left on the visitor moorings, time for us to move too. Up at Filance Lock a C&RT work boat was coming down with ample crew. Mick had to tuck Oleanna out of the way for them to pass, then brought her into the lock. A couple were busy trimming their hedge, it sounded like it hadn’t been done quite right, not quite flat enough on the top.

It’s frothy man!

Thankfully there was space near The Cross Keys on rings so we pulled in, collected our shopping bags and set off to walk up to the Co-op. We think this is the larger of the two Co-ops in Penkridge and this mooring the closest you can get by boat. They had a reasonable stock of things and we filled a few bags which would keep us going until we can get a delivery next week.

A good tree house with a spiral staircase

Midday by the time everything was stowed away. We opted for an early lunch rather than stopping again in an hours time.

Approaching Otherton Lock

The canal now turns to run along adjacent to the M6 for a stretch. Penkridge may be set back from the motorway but its rumble is ever present no matter where you moor in the town, now it would get louder. At Otherton Lock a boat was coming down, our turn next as two more boats arrived above and another behind us, we were head of the queue again. As the lock filled the foam surrounded Oleanna’s bow, maybe I should have given it a mop at the same time making use of the suds.

Boggs Lock

I hitched a ride to Rodbaston Lock, no queue there and then walked the rest of the way to Gailey working the next three locks. Don’t think I’d noticed before that around each lock beam the whole area is bricked. It’s quite normal for the curved route you take below a lock beam to be brick or stone, but here there is a full semi circle of bricks.


As I walked up to Gailey Top Lock there was a sign saying Volunteers were on duty, some helping hands for the cranked beams. Sure enough up top there were two chaps waiting to help a length of rope holding the bottom two gates together. It was nice to see the little shop in the tower open again, the lady chatting to the Lockies. Up Oleanna came to the summit pound, time to wiggle our way through the moored boats.

Gailey waiting for Oleanna to rise

It was warm, but quite grey as we pootled along. Past the chemical works where you are not allowed to stop, then the wiggly windy bit around Calf Heath. If we could turn left here a proposed restoration would have us climbing up to the Wolverhampton level and popping out to join the Cannock Extension Canal or the Curley Wurley on the BCN. But no chance of that just yet.

Maybe I should get a piggybank for a tooth fund

Now we were away from the M6 we wanted to find a mooring before the railway joined us. Somewhere suitable for Tilly to spend a few hours today. The first stretch was filled with several boats, but round a few more bends a length of armco presented itself and we pulled in. Shore leave rules were recited, two hours today and off Tilly went.

As we were taking Oleanna out of cruising mode a couple walked past and stopped for a chat. They love walking the towpaths and have a plan one day to own a boat, but first they will buy a motorhome to explore with. We chatted for quite sometime, they have an old cat whom they’d like to take with them on their travels. Tilly showed them what being a boat cat was about, climbing trees and pouncing.

This chap was pretending to be a gull at first, the length of his beak gave him away.

During the day we’d had a phone call from the boiler people. They were wanting to try to make a new appointment to upgrade the boiler in the house. Mick had been there for the last appointment which was cancelled on the day. This appointment would require a special trip, so he asked if it was possible to put a note on the job sheet not to cancel it this time! We opted for an appointment on a day when I’d be at the dentist, then a few hours later realised it coincided with rail strikes! We didn’t want to cancel it, but how could we make it work. Mick spent a long time on the computer trying to work out if he could actually do the trip by train, getting there easy, but returning only possible if he left Scarborough at 3pm, not returning to the boat until 11pm. Other options were concidered including an overnight somewhere. But in the end the easiest option was to hire a car, it was working out at a similar cost too. They had better not cancel this appointment!

6 locks, 6.1 miles, 0.5 of a tooth paid for, 1 frothy stretch, 4 light bags of shopping, 1 appointment, 1 week of train strikes, 1 slight detour planned, 2 hours shore leave, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.

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