Tuesday we were delayed by thick fog, but got off about nine, heading for the junction with the Shropshire Union canal on the outskirts of Wolverhampton, first we had to pass through the very barrow section south of bridge 68, Elaine jogged ahead to see that all was clear. Our plan was to keep heading south on the S&W. We were expecting a bit of urban grime on the early part of this new territory, not so, we were cosseted by a corridor of rural bliss while the city went about its business on a different level, literally and metaphorically, and the kingfishers and the herons carried on as normal. It was a bit shallow though, and some care was needed while passing other boats, which were few. Dog walkers and other canal users were very friendly, we were in desperate need of a shop, and we were directed to Compton, excellent moorings south of the lock, poor footpath though, but all facilities within a couple of minutes' walk. The southern S&W is nothing short of spectacular, must be one of the finest canals in the country, more fishermen than we normally encounter but even they were friendly.
We encountered 15 locks during the day, all going down, a welcome change after days and days of ascent, it's easier going down, the Bratch locks are very unusual, its not a staircase because each lock has its own set of gates but they are just a few feet apart, lock keepers help you through, excellent moorings immediately north of the locks. The sun was shining so we decided to continue through a few more locks, when it came time to moor up the choice was poor, although there is a massive Sainsbury's right by bridge 43 and some moorings that would be OK while shopping. In the end we found a quiet spot just before bridge 37. We had an eight hour day 14 miles and 15 locks.
|A foggy Start|
|Very narrow section|
|Entrance to the Shropshire union heading north|
|Entrance to Birmingham Canal|
|Typical south S&W|
|First one we've seen|