Little Soudley to Audlem Top Lock

Todays Video can be found here:

This was genuinely a lovely day. After leaving Little Soudley it was a gentle amble through Woodeaves cutting. Being narrow, this had the possibility of being a little bit of a struggle if we were to meet a boat coming the other way but with our early start we didn’t have to worry as it was super quiet. A beautiful steep ravine up either side of the canal with loads of wet mossy rock with so much lush vegetation it felt like I was in a jungle!

Always love a boat face

Glad to be back in the sunshine after the cutting as it gets surprisingly chilly in there! Glad we weren’t going through when those rocks tumbled down!

Met some lovely hireboaters on the first lock who were apprehensive about getting it right so had some great banter with them whilst helping and they were through. Got us through and headed off for lock number 2. I had planned to work the two sets of 5 locks today as it’s a good workout but after walking past this dinky narrowboat to the second lock I had to bail and stick to being at the helm instead.

Just as I got to lock number 2, the tell-tale loss of vision in one eye could only mean one thing – a bloody migraine! Luckily if I pop two Ibuprofen straight away I can just about control it. I stayed with the boat and got frustrated when a woman, who I thought was coming up next, had actually set the lock when they weren’t even in the next lock down below but we didn’t want to waste water turning the lock around again so just waited. There is a little run of 5 locks at Tyrley, very pretty in amongst the countryside first then delving into the forest.

At the bottom of each lock is a bywash and depending on water levels, rain and whether someone is emptying a lock or not they can be gentle or they can be vicious. I had learnt along the way that a generous application of revs and a counter-intuitive steer away from them allowed me to ‘whip’ the back end round when you need it, got me away from being pinned against the wall or bush coming out of the locks. The last lock in the flight was apparently the worst one as I was greeted with a round of applause from the awaiting boats in the queue to go up and being told I was the only one they’d seen so far come out straight and didnt get pinned. Hurrah! It was a nice little pat on the back and i’ll take that!

Onwards a couple of miles through Market Drayton towards the next set of 5, Adderley Lock flight.

It seems we had timed it perfectly as the locks were super quiet, especially for a bank holiday monday, and we made it down the 5 in no time at all. Everyone we met along the way was happy and cheery and the weather turned out to be lovely, perfect.

Inside the last lock of the day!

Not long after those five is the Audlem flight of 15, many people choose to do those previous 10 and the 15 in one day but we’re in no rush so se stopped at the top lock and was happy to find a canalside treat store with eggs, cake, ice cream and scones, all run by the homeowner of the gorgeous house on the lock. I would have taken a picture of the house but they were all in the garden so here is a picture of the little treat hut instead 🙂 And yes, I 100% had some honeycomb ice cream and bought some Salted Caramel to pop in the freezerbox!

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