Do we believe the weather report and stay put based on the prospect of heavy showers or do we risk it and cruise out of
The skies weren’t too clouded over – certainly not dark laden with rain about to come, so we decided to risk it – afterall, how bad could it get – just a bit wet – well, maybe soaked.
As it was predominantly cruising and just the three locks, it would only mean that one of us would get wet.
|for some reason the "6" in 2600 KG was reversed|
The Birmingham New Main Line is almost as boring as you can get, although we have been told the cruise from
Despite the forecast we remained relatively dry and moored up without any fuss in the last available spot – after winding.
We hadn’t been to the museum for 13 years and quickly noticed the changes – a whole street of new buildings – Diane was keen to sample the chips and also the sweets but this being a normal week day, the place had been infiltrated with school kids by the busloads.
|Black Country museum|
|This whole row of shops had been added since our last visit|
13 years ago
|she wasn't allowed to go on the Helter Skelter|
A lovely chap from one of the cottages called us in to the house he was responsible for and in the warm sitting room of the era gave a rundown on the museum and the history of the house we were in as well as explaining the changes since our last visit.
After this and a stroll back down to the bottom area, the school kids were all chipped up and we managed to get a couple of serves – they were very nice indeed.
|Lime kilns in the background|
|an old trolley bus - now in use at the museum|
Finally by about the proper closing time, we had managed to see most of the exhibits; enjoyed the chips and sweets; had an afternoon tea and escaped the rain for the day, and so it was back to the boat to escape the cold although inside the boat it was still quite warm.
|a few of the old working boats moored in the museum, including|
Friday was expected to be a much better day and if initial prospects were to be followed we weren’t in for a great day – grey and overcast – but fortunately the cruise down to
We watered up at the services just up from the top locks and then commenced the journey down.
This was our third trip through this flight and we have enjoyed every single one of them – the locks are a pleasure to work and we have not had any problems at all.
It is a pity that the isolated incidents, as serious as they were, might have put some off this flight, but we do love the journey through here.
There were a couple of boats in front of us and Diane saw one of them on one occasion, and apart for a spate of 3 boats in 3 locks coming up the locks were in general against us.
No matter we got into a rhythm and the time went quickly as did the locks and just after lunch we were down and cruising northwards.
|Mind the Gap !!|
|these wonderful plane trees at the stat of the Staffs and Worcester|
|an odd assortment here - just take your pick|
Diane had earmarked the possibility being in Penkridge on Saturday to go to the market that is there, so we left earlyish and knew that it should not take us any longer than 4 hours to get there – it turned out to be right on the mark.
There were a couple of boats in front of us at the lock at Gailey, which took a bit of time and thereafter we had at one boat either going down in the lock or about to leave; with a couple of boats coming at these locks the time to pass through lengthened but it was a half decent morning and we really didn’t have any need to be rushing, so we enjoyed a pleasant morning of cruising.
Plenty of moorings were available and we found a lovely quiet one before the first of the two Penkridge locks and then wandered down to the market to pick up some supplies – just to replenish what was missing.
If you visit Penkridge, make sure that you visit Jaspers (the bakery) – the queues out of the door validated it – Diane enjoyed the chicken and mushroom pasty and the rock cake was delicious.
Later in the day, whilst I got on with the engine jobs, Diane was busy polishing the port side and it came up a treat – after we finished, we just relaxed on the towpath and talked to passers-by, most of who seemed to out walking dogs.
28 Miles, 29 Locks, 4 Tunnels
Totals: 2166 Miles, 1619 Locks, 74 Tunnels, 32