Tyrley (pronounced TUR-lee) Locks must be some of the prettiest in the country. There are five of them, with the lowest cut into sandstone bedrock…
… and the upper one with a pretty cottage.
They are also difficult to get into because of the vicious side weirs which push you off course, the worst we have seen yet. The first one was particularly nasty, and it was only a couple of locks later that I worked out what I should have done. For future reference, here it is. You empty the lock, open the lower lock gates, and then open a paddle on the upper gate until the level of the upper pound has dropped enough that the side weir stops flowing hard. Then you drop the upper paddle, bring the boat into the lock, close the lower gates, and hope there is enough water in the upper pound to fill the lock.
We stopped at the services in Tyrley for a long time, as the water pressure was low and it took a while to fill the tank. While we were filling I noticed a little snake in the canal next to the boat.
It swam up the canal and made several attempts to get out, but the metal bank kept it trapped. I got a pole and helped it out, and it slithered off into the hedge. If I am ever thrown into a snake pit, I fully expect it to recognize me and protect me from the other snakes. The rules of narrative causality demand it.
I also saw three kingfishers today at different spots on the canal. That little flash of turquoise over the water is always a treat. If I am ever thrown into a kingfisher pit I fully expect them to peck me to death because I smell of smoked haddock.
After Tyrley we were plunged into the sylvan gloom of Woodseaves Cutting, which is so steep there is danger of falling rocks, so the Canal and River Trust asks you to go extra slow to increase the chances of getting hit.
With the sun hitting the upper branches and the cool green below, crawling along at less then walking pace through the narrow and overgrown cut is very soothing, until the insects start biting and you see a boat coming the other way.
While Brindley let his canals drift over the countryside following a contour line, Telford drove them straight, and by a series of cuttings and embankments made the contour line follow the canal. More cuttings and embankments bring us to Norbury Junction, which is called that even though it hasn’t been a junction for over seventy years. Here’s our mooring tonight.