All Bar Two. 4th May

Between Bridges 7 and 8 Shropie to Urban Moorings, Wyrley and Essington Canal, BCN

A short distance further on there was a winding hole, time to turn around. Through Bridge 8 is the first cutting of the Shroppie. All of the cuttings have large trees clinging on to the banks either side, landslips quite a common occurance. For a while the towpath along this stretch has been closed, not that you’d know it with the number of walkers bypassing the fences! A tree had come down and then a very large crack in the towpath were taped off. Nothing the size of the landslip on the north Oxford or further along the Shroppie, but still another section for C&RT to mend.

Busy at the junction!

We winded and then headed back to Autherley. The stop lock was busy, one boat coming onto the Shroppie and another winding on the Staffordshire and Worcester. When it was our turn for the lock we dropped off some rubbish at the bins then turned right back onto the Staffordshire and Worcester, then left to start our ascent of the Wolverhampton 21.

The first two locks were full. Did these locks leak on the top gates, or were we following someone up the flight? At the third lock I noticed that as I wound the bottom gate paddles up, accumilated rain water from last night that had been gathered in the cogs. I looked on ahead there was a boat. After zooming in on them I worked out that they were also climbing the locks, they were also the first boat through this morning. They’d had the advantage of most if not all the locks being empty. Oh well I’d be emptying them all for us.

I used to stand on the bottom gates and push one side open with a kick, but my knees this year have already told me this would be unwise. Not many of the bottom gates actually have a handrail anyway, so today there was a lot of walking round locks to be done.

Stepping off to close the offside gate

The sun was out, it started to warm up. On locks where Mick could step off below and bring a rope up with him, we adopted this to save me walking round the lock to close the bottom gates. Oleanna obliged by entering the locks on most occasions, but on two the depth over the bottom cill must have been very slight as she stopped part way into the lock.

Pretty when the sun’s out

At lock 17 we met a downhill boat, 16 would be empty for us. I spotted the remaining palm trees mentioned in NB Bonjour’s blog from a week ago. At lock 15 a lady stood and watched, she then had a go opening and closing the bottom lock gate. We made her day.

Lots of wild flowers

Maybe breakfast should have been suplimented this morning as by half way up I was starting to feel a touch peckish, the galley slave hadn’t thought ahead either so there was no handy flapjack to keep us going, just a sip of water was all that was on offer!

Look at that sunshine!

All the anti-vandle locks seemed to work, the boat still two locks ahead of us dutifully resetting them. Lock 3 was about a third full when I walked up. A boat could be seen entering Lock 2, only one paddle would unlock on the bottom gates so it took a while to finish emptying.

Passing Ferrous

A phone call to Mick to leave the top gates on the next lock was just in time to stop him. We swapped with NB Ferrous in the next pound, quite a distinctive boat that we’ve seen before. More details about her can be found here.

Wolverhampton Top Lock

Only two out of the 21 locks had been set in our favour today. The climb up to the Wolverhampton level had taken us just under 4 hours. Time was ticking away we had a rendez vous and a deposit to make, no time to stop for a late lunch, the only thing on offer an M&S gf millionaires shortbread which was halved for us to share.


Not far to go to Horseley Fields Junction where we turned onto the Wyrley and Essington Canal, very slowly through the stop lock. I checked our instructions from Jennie at Urban Moorings, we were to pull up alongside one of the moored boats on the main channel. We got the bow in and I passed a rope around the grab rail of the moored boat, Mick then put power on to bring the stern round, just at the moment of something spinning round and attaching itself to our prop! Reverse didn’t help, Mick had to resort to the propmate to clear it. Then the stern was brought round and we tied up alongside Urban Moorings.

A trolley was brought to aid the transport of buckets. Two buckets were trundled round to the huge compost bins made from sleepers, the lid of the current bin left open for our deposits to be deposited in the correct section where they will b eleft for around 14 months before being used on flower beds.

Urban Moorings an oasis of green

As always we had a very warm welcome from the moorers. Here they accept contents from separating toilets from passing boaters and I believe they now also have a club which local boaters can join. A guided tour of the moorings is always on the cards, improvements, more sheds, a community room, flower beds, fruit and veg, an abundance of greenery everywhere.

C&RT offered them some funding a little while ago to help provide C&RT services, a bin store, elsan etc. They have got so far in sorting the area, but not recieved the funding to finish it yet. They also hope to expand the moorings on the other side of Lycetts Basin which would free up a space to become a service mooring. Then they would be able to sell diesel, gas and coal more easily to passing boaters. The council has also given them premission to take over two more buildings by the site. One they hope will become a bigger community room, the other a cafe in the old toll house by the stop lock. Hopefully our donation will go towards something new for us to see the next time we pass.

Stop for a brew, they’ve plenty of kettles

Whilst I got the tour Mick chatted away about the big fire that had happened at the junction. Apparently the moorings weren’t known about, so they weren’t evacuated, but thankfully all the smoke was being blown away from them.

If we wanted we could stay the night, moored up as we were. This was appealing as we were a little bit pooped from the flight, we also really wanted our lunch! Back onboard we broke the news to Tilly that there’d be no shore leave today, too many woofers and a couple of resident cats on the moorings. They were welcomed, but I wouldn’t be!

A slow afternoon for us followed by a nice roast chicken dinner. Very well deserved.

22 locks, 7.2 miles, 1 right, 2 lefts, 2 empty, 19 full, 3 junctions, 1 warm sunny day, 2 buckets deposited, 1 donation made, 1 very warm welcome, 1 miffed off cat.

One thought on “All Bar Two. 4th May

  1. Adam

    I like the Wolverhampton flight, but I also end up walking round a lot because of the lack of anything to hold on to if stepping across the gap.


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