It was 6:30, and dark, on Wednesday morning when we set sail from our mooring at bridge 8 on the Shroppie ……..
……… but it was light, and no need for the headlights, when we got to the stop lock at the end of the Shropshire Union canal at Autherley Junction ………….
…….. and another half an hour before we got to the start of the 21 locks in the Wolverhampton flight at Aldersley Junction.
Two and a half hours later, and one dry pound (which the CRT chaps sorted for us almost before we got there) we were at the top of the Wolverhampton locks. Not having ‘done’ the flight before we were more than pleased with the general level of maintenance and it was really quite pretty in parts. Our trip up was nicely finished off by the attractive appearance around lock 1.
Our journey continued through a rather dirty stretch of canal from the top of the locks to our stop over at the Black Country Museum. Meeting a hire boat on the wrong side of the canal (and on a bend!) required an emergency stop which resulted in a large piece of carpet caught around the prop and the fourth time on that stretch when James had to get his head down in the weed hatch.
This morning (Thursday) we left the Black Country Museum to continue our journey into Birmingham. After an hour we had reached the rather exciting stretch of canal (for James at least!) which passes several times under the M5.
Strange to think that the motorway users at this point have no idea that they’re right above the “motorway” of the 19th century.
Out in the daylight for a while we passed over the ‘New Line’ which is the alternative, but less interesting, route to Wolverhampton.
Then it was back under the M5 again – this time have some major maintenance work carried out.
Finally we got out from underneath and experiencing the contrast between the ancient and the modern.
Still being dominated by M5 it was interesting to get a boaters eye view of the gigantic LED adverts we see along the motorways.
Nearing the three locks on this stretch of canal it was nice to see the “new” Smethick Pumping Station!
Then, after a couple of hours since the start, Birmingham sprung up before us!
It’s been a couple of years since our last visit – a city we’ve always enjoyed, and we’re looking forward to the next few days to enjoy it again.