On Tuesday evening we moored up in Wolverhampton, ready to tackle the 21 locks that take the BCN mainline down to meet the Staffs and Worcester canal at Aldersley Junction. Wolverhampton has a very dodgy reputation for vandalism so, after we watered up, we moved across to the ‘secure’ mooring on the far side of the canal that can only be accessed by boat.
As it turned out we spent a quiet night underneath the old Chubb building, disturbed only by the noise of the ambulance sirens from the nearby hospital and the traffic from the road above us.
When we got to the second lock I was reminded of our previous visit there when, as fairly new boat owners, we encountered a group of ‘youths’ at this lock. It was a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon and they were sitting by the lock sunning themselves and drinking beer. I was very apprehensive but, other than a bit of banter and having to discourage them from jumping on the roof, they were fine.
All the locks were set against us but I was still very much in my ‘honeymoon’ period with narrow locks and it seemed no effort at all to work our way through them. The sun was out and, the further you get down the canal, the more rural the scenery becomes.
In just over three hours, not record time but not bad as we didn’t rush, we reached the final lock and arrived at Aldersley Junction.
Our ultimate destination will take us on the Staffs & Worcester canal down to Great Haywood but we took a bit of a detour up the Shropshire Union at Autherley Junction.
At the bottom of the Shroppie there’s a ‘stop’ lock that drops the canal a minute amount. It was installed to prevent the loss of water from the older Staffs & Worcs canal to the Shropshire Union. While we were working our way through we were entertained by a boat being lifted out of the water.
Its owners watched on as it was deposited safely into its cradle. It must be really nerve-wracking to watch your boat dangling in the air like that!