Yesterday afternoon I passed a depressing signpost, ‘Aldersely Junction 2 Miles, 21 Locks. Then I cruised along for a while longer before stopping by the top lock. The actual flight is probably not much more than a mile. And falls 132 feet. It’s a slog and one lock looks much like another if they weren’t numbered you’d have no idea where you were.
Early on a CRT worker came along to tell boaters that two of the pounds were dry, after lock 12 and 15. I think I was on 5 at the time so it seemed unimaginably far ahead. Eventually I got to lock 12 just as a boat that had been held up got permission to proceed. At 15 I met a boat coming up that had been delayed three hours. The only thing holding me up was the need for tea and toilet breaks every hour or so!
The locks start in urban Wolverhampton and end in what feels like countryside, though a look at the map shows it isn’t really. It’s an illusion you often see on canals, tree lined banks and hedges make them feel remote.
I stopped close to Autherley Junction where the Shropshire Union canal starts, with an all together more encouraging sign post ‘Chester’ and a mile post ‘Nantwich 39 miles’. Nantwich is where I’ll turn onto the Llangollen Canal. There are 29 locks about half of them singletons or short flights and 15 at Audlem. So two to three days.