Saturday, September 03, 2016

Farewell, Pelsall, it's been good to know you!

On Tuesday morning, we were one of the last to leave Pelsall. Most had gone the opposite way from us, we noticed, so our progress wasn't going to be hindered by other boats. Though we weren't in a hurry.

Boaters waved and called, "Goodbye! Have a good trip!" The weather was glorious. Several people we spoke to said that they were going to take the short detour up the Chasewater Arm on their way off the Wyrley. It was tempting. It sounded really lovely. But we wanted to feel now that we were "on our way back" now. This was a change of mindset from that of the previous months, when all the time we were headed for somewhere new.

The junction with the Cannock Extension Canal 
The Wyrley this side of Pelsall was rather different from the other. The water was cleaner and far less weedy, still narrow in parts, but opening out for much of the time.

So we passed on Chasewater, turning right at Catshill Junction instead, and onto the Daw End Branch. We stopped briefly at a convenient Tesco, moored at a crazy angle with our bow tied at the bank and our stern to an old BW butty, and for services and lunch at Longwood Junction.
Looking up the Chasewater Arm...
...we turn right under the bridge
We were on the Rushall Canal after that, and nine locks that proved something of a challenge, locks which are going to be closed for several weeks from next week, locks that desperately need major maintenance work. They leak very badly, and the pounds between them got progressively shallower as we descended the flight, slowing us more and more, and forcing us to keep to the middle of the channel, despite the problem then of passing oncoming boats. Many of the gate beams were rotten and crumbling, the bolts holding the winding mechanisms loose and wobbling in the old wood. Many of those winding mechanisms were themselves stiff and jammed.

Tired and hungry, we stopped at the bottom of the flight, and moored for the night.

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