|The mud says a lot about the weather!|
|Leaving the bottom lock of "the 21".|
So when Jim & Sarah from "Chertsey" & "Bakewell" actually volunteered to turn out on a squally, rather nasty, Sunday morning, and lock-wheel us up the Wolverhampton 21 locks, whilst slightly doubting their sanity, (we were already doubting our own!), we didn't actually protest too much!
|Into a rhythm by now|
Sarah was already waiting at the bottom of the Wolverhampton 21 locks when we arrived a bit late, and the ascent was quickly under way. We hardly saw poor Jim until very near the top, as he was constantly setting up the locks ahead.
|It's not all industrial dereliction.|
|Finished the flight, thanks to our very efficient helpers.|
|Savouring the lack of weather in Coseley Tunnel.|
At the Black Country Museum we could not find anybody who knew for certain where we should leave "Sickle", but it was quickly apparent that actually getting her inside the site itself, (which involves a large lifting bridge), was not going to happen - I'm guessing she will now stay on the visitor moorings there until next weekend.
The plan was to cycle to Tipton station, and to catch trains, (change at Wolverhampton), back to Penkridge, being the closest station to Stretton, where our car still was. We thought we had fouled up, and left too late, but found Tipton station very quickly, and were lucky enough to catch the planned train on time.
This is the point at which our friends generosity kicked in again, as Jim turned out to collect us, (and our folding bikes) from Penkridge station, and to ferry us to Stretton. We really can't thank him enough - although it is only about 5 miles, they are some horrible roads, the weather was still foul, and we were knackered, with a 120 mile drive still ahead of us. "Bloomin' marvellous", Jim - Thanks!
And thanks too to Sarah, who kept the tea flowing, until we had warmed up in Bakewell's warm cabin. In fact more "boater hospitality" was imminent, as "Hairy Neil" and "Starcross Jim" were due to go pubbing with Sarah & Jim. Unfortunately joining in with that would have made us far too late, but we did stay around to see Neil arrive, and have a bit of chat before we had to go. In practice we didn't arrive home until about 10:00 pm, by which time, I think it is fair to say we were exhausted - how much more exhausted we might have been if not for jim and Sarah, I shudder to think!
Autherley Junction (Shropshire Union)
to Black Country Museum (Dudley No 1 Canal - Birmingham Canal Navigations)
Miles: 8.9, Locks: 22
Totals for extended trip....
Miles: 236.7, Locks: 170