Wednesday, 21 August 2013


It was a 7.30am start with the intention of navigating through the “Narrows” on the Staffs & Worcs Canal before the pound became busy.  Whilst it was a logical plan we actually met an approaching boat prior to arriving at the “Narrows”.  After entering the Narrows there was a small scare when Waiouru ran aground coming to a halt.  I reversed off and then had a second attempt hugging the port side (left side) bank.

Opposing traffic started to increase but we were very fortunate in not meeting any boats on the tight bends.  Peter & Margaret weren’t so lucky but as we were the lead boat we were were able to give them some warning using the two-way radios.

We’ve done this stretch of canal on two previous occasions (2003 & 2007) but didn’t remember much of it.  However I did recognise the pub at Coven!  Neither of us remembered the left turn at Calf Heath and at one point Jan was planning to go up the two locks into the arm.

Calf Heath – Remember to turn left after the bridge

Don’t go down the arm to the right as it’s a dead end!

We reached the 48 hour moorings above Gailey Lock and wandered down to the Gailey Roundhouse so the ladies could browse in the small shop on the ground floor.

The more correct name for the building is the Gailey Top Lock House built at the end of the 18th century as the lock keepers cottage. The ground floor was an office and the lock keeper lived above with his family.  The round shape enabled good views of the canal in both directions.

Peter gongoozles…….`

It suddenly started to get very busy with boats going up and down through the lock.  Then the hotel boat and butty I saw yesterday going down the Wolverhampton flight of 21 locks arrived to take on water.  The boats occupied both watering point moorings but the crew elected to use only one hose filling each boat in turn.  This created even more of a queue!  A more efficient option would have been to breast up the boats which would have freed the second water point and sped up movement through the lock.  Actually the boat crew appeared to be quite surly.

Hotel boat & butty passing us on the way to the water point

A lady approached us from the hotel boat mentioning she was the sole passenger and was a Kiwi.  Her husband had been a soldier and she knew all about the army camp at Waiouru! 

I took the opportunity to practice my photography whilst we waited for the water point to become free.

The old crane opposite the Roundhouse

The Cannock History website states the following about the cottage on the opposite side of the lock.

Wharf Cottage, a two-storey red-brick cottage built c.1800 using 'Flemish stretcher bond' brickwork and topped by a plain tiled roof with dentilled or 'tooth-like' eaves; the building also sports cast-iron casements and Gothick-styled glazing bars in the windows

I just liked the ivy! Smile

By the time both Kelly-Louise and Waiouru had passed though the lock it was mid afternoon and we decided to stop for the day on the 48 hour moorings.  Jan did some maintenance inside the boat whilst I gave the handrails a second top coat before playing around down in the garden shed.  Jan then decided to go foraging for blackberries before cooking Salmon Wellington for dinner.  It will be a slightly longer cruising day tomorrow as we attempt to get back in schedule. 

1 comment :

Judith Emery said...

Sorry we missed you at Gailey today, I knew you were at Autherley yesterday but didn't know which way you were going. We went through Gailey this afternoon, with boats going each way, we are heading to Autherley so don't know when our paths will cross again. Enjoy cruising, hope you finally get your visa, it's been such hard work for you to get it.
Judith and John
nb Serena