Friday, 23 October 2009

Autherley Junction

Autherley Junction

I have a stong affection for Autherley Junction.

For me it represents something of a gateway to my dreams, giving access to the northern canals from our Calf Heath base.

A busy Autherley Junction

Sure, I can go east and take my choice of routes from Great Haywood Junction or Fradley Junction. Or, if I am feeling particularly energetic and brave I can go past Autherley and enter the BCN at Aldersley.  But If I want to dream of long days of lazy cruising, they tend to start at Autherley. We are really blessed to have the best of the Shropshire Union all within two days cruising of our home base.

As for the junction itself, it's a rather unremarkable affair with a crossover bridge, a stop lock, a collection of old canal buildings, plus a modest outpost of the Napton Narrowboats empire. Given the proximity of Wolverhampton and the lack of a pub, there are realtively few long term liveaboards at the junction, so a passage through tends to be someting of a solitary affair.

The presence of Napton Narrowboard (previously Water Travel) is a big plus as the staff are always cheeful and happy to provide diesel and a pumpout. They also work sensible hours which means that they tend to be there when you need them! Their collection of hire boats can get in the way at times but they are completely relaxed about you tying up alongside and clambering across.

The above view was taken on a sparkling October afternoon, when the hire fleet was being prepared for the final rush of the season. Its good to see such busyness on the canals.

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