We enjoyed out night out with John and Kath from 'Guliver'. We may well see them again before Autherly Junction. We set off before 1030 and started up the 15 locks of the Audlem flight. They come thick and fast so it is quite pleasant really, especially for me sitting on the after end for most of the flight.
The first lock of the Auldem Flight
There was a bit of a delay as there was a couple of surveyors checking out the ladders of each lock. It seems that since recent accidents in locks HSE are having a complete look at the locks etc. They were sub-contracted by C&RT and they had done about 160 locks and had another 160 or so to do. They obviously had it off pat and it had to be carried out with the lock empty. It seems that most of all lock ladders fail as they need 42 between the step and the wall of the lock to ensure enough of a shoe is on it. I also noticed that they are all round rung and the current best practice is to have a flat top to the rung so there is more surface area contact. The solution would appear to be remove the ladders, have the ladders jutting out into the lock or remove some of the lock wall to increase the clearance. Options 2 and 3 will be extremely expensive for all locks and disruptive if not done as other lock repairs are taking place. Watch this space.
The iconic Shroppie Fly was very quiet as it is due a refurbishment. It is named after the fly boats that were the express trains of the canal age.
Once we got past Audlem village a couple seemed to follow us up the next few locks and watched us. In the end I handed him a windlass and said that if he was going to walk up the locks with us he may as well help. They had hired a few times and loved it so were getting their canal fix. It was very useful and good to talk to them.
Half way up the flight at Lock 7 with our assistants.
Helen drove for the last few locks. Once we got to the top we moved on until we got to a bit of an embankment with a bit of a view and moored up for the night. We were famished so were glad to get some lunch and a up of tea. Afterwards I went for a walk down the towpath and snapped a few pictures.
Reed sweet grass with 'Holderness' in the background.
Thistle and bee.
Orange Balsam and Giant Willow Herb.
Spectator on the off bank in a prickly patch.
Helen resurrecting the wind and rain battered flowers.