After all the humid weather today started off a bit thick and was still misty when we set off. The weather forecast said due to the high humidity and that it would get very hot later we could have thunder. It didn’t get hot and we didn’t have thunder.
There wasn't a breath of wind and a spider had spun some very smart cobwebs on our anemometer, it surprising how strong they are as even when we were moving the web stopped them turning until the breeze picked up.
When we arrived at Hockley Heath drawbridge we found a hire boat tied up on the bridge moorings, I think they had been there all night as the ladies were still in dressing gowns. Once we lifted the bridge they asked us to leave it up for him. This bridge is hydraulic and the hand pump is on the off side so if we left it up it would be like it until someone crossed by boat to lower it, so I replied they could come through now or Diana would lower it as someone may want to cross the canal. So he followed me through and moored just ahead of us.
We passed the Wharf Tavern with its adjacent arm, you would think people would want to make more use of these.
It was midday before the sun finally managed to break through and warm things up a bit. As you can see that this is also where the cycle speed track has been laid all the way to Birmingham.
We didn't manage to stop any cars at Shirley lift bridge but 4 arrived between me passing under the bridge and Diana lifting the barriers, there were also 4 bikes in the queue, do they count? Where the towpath is not tar and pea shingle it brick weave and by bridge 5 they were raking the joints of weeds and pressure washing it.
Lyons boatyard now have a nice cantilevered cover to work on boats under. Its not a real person by the welding cylinders but a dummy in protective clothing, maybe boaters slow down when they see him?
Brandwood tunnel is not very long and nice and dry which makes a change from getting water down your neck. There are two niches in the south portal very similar to the ones in Sapperton Tunnel but not so big, I wonder what use to stand in there, a bust of the Engineer perhaps? The centre stone is completely eroded on the south portal but on the northern end there is still a bust in relief stone work.
The guillotined stop lock was displaying its normal amount of Graffiti, in the back of my mind I have a feeling one of the gates was moved when they rebuilt the road bridge, but I can't find any reference to it. The lock was built not to change the level of the water, but to stop one canal Companies water flowing through to another. Canal water was highly prized in those day, today they just switch on another electric pump.
At Kings Norton junction we turned right on the Birmingham and Worcester canal and headed towards Birmingham. There were no boats at all moored at the Bournville secure mooring which is most unusual, but there were a couple just after it. The notice against the bollards on the towpath side suggest you use the secure moorings for overnight, we did think about stopping there but the trains run late and start early.
A long section of the towpath is closed because they are excavating beside bridge 82 and by the look of it also piling the bank. They had a small digger on the towpath and a hopper and tug moored in front of the works. A little further on they had a large machine on two flats joined together, this was moored by the University where the hydrogen boat is normally moored. We continued into town. There was a mooring near the services at The Mailbox but it's bit of a wind tunnel so we went round to try the back of the Sea Life Centre, but that was full. I could see one place down towards Farmers Bridge so we reversed down there only to find reserved notices on the bollards for Birmingham's heritage week. Nb. Swift would be moored here and the Antiques boat just ahead of her. There was already a boat moored where the antique boat should be he said they weren't using the moorings overnight, we will see what time they turn up in the morning.
On our travels today we met friends on two boats coming towards us, one we hadn't seen for about 5 years, so we had to stop and catch up.
16 miles in 7 hours