Friday, 24 June 2011

Wandering Gailey

Five thirty p.m., we had just exited Gailey Top Lock, the last on our stretch of the Staffs & Worcester Canal when the rain started. Perfect timing. We pulled up and called it a day after 13 miles and 11 locks.
It's a delightful canal is the S&W, one of the older, contour following cuts whose meandering pgthway and tree-lined edges often make it feel more like a river than a canal. The locks can be a frustration, the distance between them gradually closing but always remaining just a little too far to walk ahead and set the next. The result can be, as it was today, that a queue gradually forms. But just as soon it can disappear. At Penkridge we were fifth of five, with no-one coming the other way at all. By Gailey we were second and only had one boat behind after others had stopped for various reasons.
With only a quarter mile between each of the last four I walked with Brian while Vicky steered; an arrangement that Brian didn't entirely approve of. He doesn't like his pack being separated anad runs back and forth along the towpath trying to keep walker and boater in sight. At one point he even leapt onto a moored boat, contemplating a jump from there to ours. Not a good idea when he found himself teeth to teeth with a snarling collie and had to be hauled off by his scruff!
Now we're moored, Vicky is cooking dinner and Brian is lying in the warmest part of the boat - on the floor above the calorifier! Sensible dog.
Seven miles tomorrow will take us to the junction with the Shropshire Union Canal where we swing north and head towards Wales.

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