Wednesday, 30 June 2021

South to The Bratch Locks

 Wednesday June 30 Wolverhampton Boat Club to The Bratch Locks (8 miles, 7 locks)

After Liana organised retrieving the car tomorrow with a kindly WBC member, we set off behind a passing boat, which moored at the water point before Autherley Junction. After waiting for an oncoming boat, Annie entered the stop lock as another boat appeared around the corner. As Annie rose the short distance, the other boat moved so we could emerge and head South. 

There are lots of high bridges here, some rail, and we passed Oxley’s boatyard and Aldersley Junction, which takes you up 21 locks into the centre of Wolverhampton. Woody cuttings take you past the racecourse to an impressive railway bridge, now a footpath, close by an activity centre, where we passed a group of supervised children in canoes most carefully.

After a couple of miles through surprisingly lovely countryside, we reached Compton Lock, after which the wharf is now modern housing. We could see footpaths and hear birds on our left, from the large Smestow Valley Nature Reserve. 

These locks often have unusual round by wash weirs. 

At the Wightwick locks and after, we chatted to three separate supervised small groups of Duke of Edinburgh Award walkers from a local special school. Well done!

Through another mile and a half of countryside we moved slowly, enjoying the tranquility after our busy week at home.

Three more locks included Ebstree, on a corner and with an interesting set of steps under the bridge below it.

We moored early above The Bratch Locks. After admiring the beautifully maintained narrowboats  moored by us, we walked into Wombourne to the old railway station cafe (open 10am -3pm), but we were too late.

We admired the lovely cut grass and hedges at the lock, complimenting the lock keeper, who has been maintaining them for the last twenty years. 

We also enjoy looking over the bits and pieces for sale by his wonderful octagonal kiosk.

Later, we chatted with our neighbours and passers by, John read the All Souls Trilogy (if you liked Harry Potter and Twilight ….) and then joined Liana to watch Murray win at Wimbledon (at 10.30 pm!).

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