Gailey top lock, which marks the start of the summit level of the Staffs & Worcs is home to one of the well-known features of the waterways - the circular tower lock cottage, now operating as a shop.There are moorings here, either side of the lock but the as the bridge in the foreground carries the A5 trunk road its not exactly peaceful roundabouts. Passing Calf Heath Marina I kept a sharp look out for Wandrin' Bark, "Captain Ahab's" narrowboat but I couldn't spot it and learnt later from his blog that it would have been away on its own adventures at the time.
Its funny how on a long journey, by road, rail or canal, the act of reaching a familiar landmark can make you feel at home - even though you may still have many miles to go. Autherley Junction, the southern end of the Shroppie, has that effect on me and as we turned off the Staffs & Worcester under the familiar and graceful bridge that carries the towpath over the junction I knew our trip was coming to an end.
As we'd had a long day and our holiday was nearly over we celebrated with a meal out at the Hartley Arms (above) although, to be honest, I've had better pub food.