The moorings opposite Cadbury’s World are quite good if you don’t mind an early wake up call as the trains run every few minutes from 6 AM the good thing is that there don’t seem to be any night trains after midnight.
We set off at about twenty past eight this morning as we knew we had a good run ahead of us, unfortunately the boat at the far end of the moorings set off at eight and didn’t do more that one and a half miles an hour, sometimes a lot slower so we caught them up at Selly oak Junction when they stopped completely for a boat coming the other way.
They finally pulled over to let me passed, but on the wrong side, the chap onboard jumped ashore with the front rope nearly knocking a cyclist off his bike.
Since we were last this way they have completed not only Selly Oak Aqueduct, last time we went round a diversion loop, but now it looks as if its been here for ever but also they have also built The Cube. Again last time we were this way it was a big hole in the ground. We met fellow bloggers just as we approached the roundabout at Old Turn Junction, I am never sure which side to go so I went to the right and down towards the Farmers Bridge flight of locks. Needless to say they were all against us, but with Diana working ahead we were soon on our way. This is what the flight looks like on the Waterway Routes program on my I pad. We are at lock 6 but the photo is not clear enough to see that. I find it an interesting flight of locks, one being this lock in an old tunnel with a stout fence along the towing path so the horses didn’t fall in, it makes it a bit awkward getting on and off the boat to work the lock unless you are hard back against the gate which the old working boats would have been. Again there is a lot of development going on alongside the canal. It was at this lock where we met a locky who told us there were two boats coming up and he had told the first one to wait in the next lock, he then proceeded to close the gate after we had left! so the last two locks were with us, but the second boat had closed up behind them so we still had to open that.
After seen these two boats that had left Minworth at 6-30 we were surprised to find the Aston flight against us. We worked our way down setting ahead, As we were going down in the second lock a CaRT employee coming up the flight shut the paddle down, sat there for a while before opening it again and then crossing to open the offside one as well. Why he shut it I don’t know but he did also open the top gate for me.
After the next lock we met a couple of boats coming up which helped but below lock 9 the pound was down and I had a job getting out of the lock grounding on what felt like loads of bricks so I would imagine a working boat would have problems with the pound on weir level.
One of the locks in this flight has a cantilevered bridge across the bottom of the lock, there is about a 6” gap at the towing path end where the tow rope could pass when boats were towed along by horses. I am surprised it has not been removed on Health and Safety grounds.
Just as we approached Salford Junction I spotted the bows of a flat coming in from the left so a blast on the horn was required, it was more material for tow path repairs as they are doing all the ones down this flight as well.
Turning right we were out of their way meeting several boats coming towards us. A fisherman said we were the twentieth to have passed him in half an hour, I didn’t ask how big the fish were he caught, but it was busy.
At Minworth Top lock we caught up with a queue of 3 boats waiting to go down the lock and one just below who had stopped for water. One bottom paddle was out of action making the lock very slow. Below the locks the bank stands very high above the road and over the years has been in danger of breaching, BW packed puddle clay along the edge and then erected this scaffolding to protect it, this looks bit of a permanent solution.
We pushed on for a mile or so before mooring for the night against a hard edging at the back of an industrial estate at Minworth Greaves about quarter of a mile before the old Kingsbury Arms at Curdworth.