Friday, 4 July 2014

Locked Out!

No… not out of the boat!  After completing both the Delph and Stourbridge flights of locks (total 24) we’re both slightly pooped….

Actually we didn’t start cruising until just on 11.00am because we made a trip by foot to the nearby Merry Hill retail park.  It looks to be a combination of old and new complexes with the more modern being constructed and owned by Westfields.  Damned Aussie developers… can’t get away from them!  The Delph flight of 8 locks arrived very shortly after we untied the ropes.  Jan locked Waiouru down and in between I went forward to set up the next lock.  With our luck every lock was against us.

Delph Locks

The flight looked as if it might be low on water so we carefully managed the locks to ensure little was wasted on the way down. 

On reaching Leys Junction we turned left and moored on the lock landing to have a late lunch.  The top lock was empty and immediately we suspected all the locks would again be against us.

Looking back with the Fens Branch to the left and the Stourbridge Canal to the right

Our lucky day arrived when I went forward to fill the top lock only to see a boat coming up in the lock below. Hurrah….. all the locks will be full!  Spoke too soon.  The locks on the Stourbridge flight leak BADLY.  Despite the boat coming up we found all the locks had leaked until they were empty.

At Lock 3 Jan noticed the pub on the towpath side.  Well it’s more likely she noticed the man with the rather attractive looking cold beer sitting on the bench table outside the pub.

No time to think of that….. there’s another 13 locks to be done!  At lock 9 we picked up an unofficial helper complete with his own windlass and handcuff key.  John told Jan he has applied to be a CRT volunteer lock keeper and is waiting to hear if he has been accepted.  He certainly knew the peculiarities of the individual locks in the flight.

At Lock 9 there were great views across the valley.  The adjacent cottage also looked interesting, along with the old bottle kiln.

Locks 9 & 10 weren’t a staircase but they are very close together.  The pound looks to be about 3 metres long.

Looking back with Waiouru now in lock 10.

There was a very attractive shop between locks 10 and 11.

An ice cream would have gone down rather swiftly at this point in the flight!  Below lock 11 there appears to be either a small boatyard or moorings.  I can’t say I’d like a mooring halfway in a flight of locks.

Moorings in the pound to the left of the large shed.  That brick kiln didn’t appear to be getting any closer.  It was at the next lock that I skinned my shin one one of those new square timber bollards.  Perhaps CRT could paint them white so they are more obvious <gets out popcorn and waits for boaters comments on timber bollards>. 

The brick kiln was actually in the next pound along with a boat carrying a very common name.

Sorry James & Doug… couldn’t help it!

Lock 15 had a great view across the valley.  There is a park to it’s right which appeared to be popular with the local residents.

Wordsley Junction is immediately after lock 16 (bottom of the flight).  We turned left onto the Stourbridge Town Arm and cruised to the end to top up the water tank and moor for the night.  We will return to Wordsley Junction tomorrow and then turn left towards the Staffs & Worcs Canal.

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