Wow - yes really we did this all in one day, not unusual for some but unheard of for us.
We set off at 7:30 this morning and passed by Aldersley Junction just as the sun was rising, if only the Wolverhampton 21 were open it would have been an easy run into Birmingham, the |flight is closed for winter maintenance as the bottom gates of the top lock are being replaced, the flight is due to reopen on 11th December but unfortunately that's a few days too late for us as we are going to be trading at the Floating Christmas Market that starts on the 11th, so it's the long way round for us.
|Compton Lock, first one of the day|
We made it to Wightwick lock in good time, there is a broken balance beam there and assisted passage had to be book with CRT, which I had done as soon as we left Wheaton Aston yesterday. I was told to arrive at the lock between 9am and 12 noon and there would be someone to assist us through. We got there just before 9am and around 9:10am I made an apologetic nagging call to ask when someone would arrive. I was told 10am, what a shame we could have had an extra hour in bed. Just after 10am Tony arrived and explained there was a boat booked in at 10am and another at 11am so he was going to hang around and do them both. What I couldn't understand is that if the other two boats had been given specific times why was I give a 3 hour window? Never mind we got through that's all that matters.
We've only done this section of the Staffs and Worcs once and that was three years ago, but it was surprising how much of it looked very familiar and in a way it was a shame to pass by all the lovely stopping places, but needs must. We were planning on stopping at Stourton Junction but as we were making good time, even with the hour delay at Wightwick, decided to turn left onto the Stourbridge Canal and straight into the 4 locks of Stourton, it was 4pm when we started and light was fading fast but someone must have been looking down on us as all four locks were in our favour and the bottom gates left open - result. We reached the top lock and managed to tie up before we completely lost the light.
|I took this one to show our lovely wood pile ready for splitting|
We went down 18 locks today, including the locks at Bratch which are unusual as there is only around 10ft between them and Botterham Staircase and then back up the last four, we will continue our ascent into Birmingham tomorrow.
13.5 miles and 22 locks
TOTAL 732.5 miles and 578