Thursday 31st December

On the nicest day of the winter I slept in until 8am.  Dog walk and breakfast took us up to 9:30am, and then checking the map, if we set off at 10:00 we could be at Autherley Junction about 11:30am, then Aldersley at 11:45 and into the first lock of the Wolverhampton flight of 21 by 12:00.

Canal Club, Wolverhampton
Canal Club, Wolverhampton

Sadly at an optimistic 5 locks an hour this flight would take me until 4:30 requiring an overnight stop in Wolverhampton, or a moonlight cruise to Birmingham, as there really isn’t much scope for mooring out on the Birmingham Canal Main Line apart from Dudley museum.   Wolverhampton itself has very limited moorings which are alongside a busy main road or in the adjoining BW Broad Street Basin, topped off with the railway station above plus its very own built in night club, the Canal Club.  Not my idea of the perfect place to stay on the busiest night of the year.

Suddenly Brewood seemed an awfully nice place, with shops, pubs and hopefully no drunken revellers unless of our own making.  So here we are still in Brewood, having filled most of the afternoon with a car shuffle, a little shopping and a superb meal of West Midlands speciality battered chips with chicken kebab meat, the likes of which can only be found within a 10 mile circle of here.  Delicious and satisfyingly bad for you.

Sadly the delights of West Midlands cuisine must have escaped the Lonely Planet reviewers who have today named Wolverhampton as fifth worst city in the world. I may have concerns about mooring here but I’m not so sure it deserves this reputation!  Anywhere with an official dog water bowl on the railway station platform 1 can’t be that bad!

We took a look at the top lock on the way to rescue the car from Nantwich and I was amazed to discover the canal was still frozen solid at the moorings – the first ice in several days.  Altogether it has been a very good decision to delay the locks until tomorrow.

So its going to be an early New Years Eve and an early start in the morning.  If anyone reading this on New Years Day should require a hangover cure, then I would be only too pleased to hand out windlasses and coffee – no appointment necessary; just walk down the 21 Wolverhampton Locks until you find us coming up and join in at any stage!

So goodnight and Happy New Year to everyone, in advance!  See you next year.

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