We left our moorings in convoy heading for the CRT Bradley Workshops at quarter to ten in steady rain. We had an extra passenger onboard, Christine who had never been on a Narrowboat before but is a member of the BCNS. At Deepfields Junction we turned right into the Wednesbury arm. There are plans to fully restore the arm so that it forms a loop back to the Main Line. The weed on the arm was much less than last time we attempted this journey. Once at the Bradley Workshop we filled the basin and also the winding hole with 27 boats. There was just one more to get in after this who’s bows were in the entrance bridge hole.
Just as we arrived the rain stopped and the sun came out and stayed out for the rest of the day. After a bit of lunch we wandered round the workshop that was built as a British Waterways Board boat workshop with two deep dry docks, one of the docks housed a boat manipulator which could invert a full size Narrowboat for working on it’s bottom. Part of this machinery has been left on show but a majority of the docks are now covered over. The other dock although mainly covered is used for storage, in the photo you can see paddle apertures and paddles plus if you look closely a pile of new cast iron water points.
The yard employs 3 carpenters and one apprentice a single carpenter builds a gate out of English Oak working alone. About 3 pm boats started leaving heading back to Tipton. A 60 foot boat can just turn right out of the basin and head back towards the main canal, any longer and they have to turn left to the end of the arm and wind due to the entrance being on the angle.
The return journey was much pleasanter in the sun shine and on the way we passed a Moorhen sitting on a clutch of eggs floating in the middle of the canal We also passed what looks like a cast iron object on the canal bank which obviously weighs several tones. I must say I like the way in the Black Country they call a spade a spade, there is no doubt what this notice is telling you.
Back at Deepfields Junction we turned left back to Tipton to drop[ off out guest of the day and then we continued on the Black Country Museum moorings where we filled with water and moored just outside the secure moorings. We spent the evening in the new Dudley Tunnel Trust restaurant with other members of the BCNS. When we returned to the boat we found the road noise a bit intrusive we had a short night time cruise in the dark back to Tipton.
Moored in the same spot as last night but have done 8¼ Miles and 3 junctions twice cruising for 4¾ hours.