10th July 2011
10 miles - 3 locks - 5 hours
This is my favourite return route to Calf Heath, a few locks, pretty cuttings and finally the winding summit pound of the Staffs and Worcester where we have time to clean and pack ready for the off.
On the way out Belle had pointed out the animal graffiti on the railway bridges between Alderley and Autherley Junctions. Graffiti or art? You decide:
With fuel running low we stopped off at Oxley Marine, the first time I have used this yard. The price is right - 80p per litre pre tax, but it's always blocked off by boats which put me off. This time I decided to persist, pulling alongside the trip boat and seeking out the owner.
My time ashore turned me to a convert. I went into the workshop by mistake and found a room piled high with boating miscellany, including a part built twin for Sarnie, the tiny boat moored outside. The proper way to find him is in via the bar - yes, this place includes a popular local bar complete with pool table darts and TV - a veritable social club. If you do use this site for fuel remember - no electronic payments: cash or cheques only.
And do the end of another memorable trip. A brand new canal, twice, good weather and loads of friends along the way. Roll on the summer trip to the Huddersfield Canal in August.