A good quiet mooring outside the Cuttle Bridge Inn last and we set off to a sunny but chilly morning a little after 9 o’clock. The two boats moored behind us were already on their way. The first lock, Minworth bottom was with us but the second against us. last time we were this way I told CRT that boats were going aground while still well out in the channel, this has now been sorted with extra signage.We caught up with the two boats ahead at Minworth Top Lock where they were taking on water. The first had finished and was locking up but the second had only just started to fill his tanks so we went up ahead of him. It was then a good run to Salford Junction where we turned sharp left into The Grand Union Canal. We hadn’t met any boats all day so the locks were all against us but someone kindly drew the paddle on the third and then disappeared. Lock 2 was engulfed in smoke. On the off in all that smoke is a Fire Brigade suction hose in the canal and a large pumping unit.
We had see a large plumb of smoke rising from the area most of yesterday afternoon and this was the reason, a recycling yard had caught fire. There is a video and full report on the BBC web site HERE .
As we approached the top lock I saw people at the lock and the bottom paddle being drawn so I backed up to the wide to allow the exiting boat to pass, except there wasn’t one, it was a Volocky setting the lock for us. At the top of the arm at Bordesley Junction we turned right onto the Digbeth Branch and moored against a CRT work boat on the off side to have lunch. Fully refreshed it was off again to through Worcester Bar. This is a lock with back to back gates at each end and its purpose was to stop water flowing from one canal to the other regardless of which was at the higher level. The building over the gauging arm is being restored so is covered with scaffolding.
Once through the lock it was hard right yet again at Digbeth Junction, under the railway tunnel to the Ashted Flight, as we approached the first lock the gate opened for us, it was one of the lads from a small group who were sitting enjoying the sun, the sort you think twice about speaking to. At the next lock a passer by opened the gate for me and suggested I told my crew to get a move on. Last time we came though these locks they were erecting a building on the off side, that is now complete and part of Birmingham University and the are building 4 blocks on the tow path side, as they are of similar design I would guess they are also part of the University Campus. We had to wait for a hire boat coming down the next lock in the short pound. We continued on to Aston Junction turning left onto The Birmingham and Fazeley canal again. Just after the junction we met a boat so this meant all the Farmers Bridge locks would be with us. The mural on the side the building above the first lock has started to fade unfortunately. The obviously did use such good pant as was used for the old one. We were hoping to moor in Cambria Basin or the Oozzel Loop but bother were full so we dropped into a 60 foot gap just before Old Turn Junction.