In case you are wondering why there has been an absence of Blogs, a couple of days ago I switched on the laptop and all that happened was the power on light illuminated. Tried several times and the same thing happened, Got it out this afternoon and it worked again, so here we go. I will post the two missing blogs when I can.
Last night it was such a nice evening that we ate outside at Strada, a canal side Italian restaurant. It felt as if we where in the Mediterranean, but there was no mistaking where we where this morning.
As we were moored on a reserved mooring overnight we were about early and on our way before there was any sign of Swift. We started off the same time as the rain started, half eight. There had been a few boats moving around but it was pretty quiet when we left to go up the Old Main Line.
There were several routs we could follow to get to the Wolverhampton Level but all involve climbing three locks. The most direct route would bee follow the New Mainline all the way but we had heard that the locks at the end were closed. The final decision on route would be down to the weather. As we approached Smethwick Junction the rain stopped so we decided to leave the New Mainline there, turn right and go up the three Smethwick Locks to join the Old Main Line.
At the top of the locks is a restored Toll booth, its been restored several times but the local louts find it too much of a temptation and as you can see have burnt the roof off.
The windows were bricked up and imitation frames fitted with nice drawings behind them after the last time it was vandalised.
The Old Mainline is quite twisty threading in and out under the M5 motorway, in places the canal had to be rerouted slightly to accommodate the motorway legs, it is much quieter travelling under the motorway than beside it.
Once clear of the motorway we soon found the canal had a large coverage of Waterlilies, if they all flowered this year it must have been quite a sight, they are well over now. In the Birmingham area nearly every bridge has a door in it for the fire brigade to lower their fire hoses into the canal to collect water, this one had a roller mounted by the base of it to make life easier for them.
As we passed through Tipton it was obvious that something was happening this weekend, the canal was lined with trading boats, everything from doggy and pirate accessories to sweets and home brewed beer, There were also marquees being erected on both banks. Full details HERE. Passing through Tipton the canal water is gin clear, the first we have seen on the BCN this trip.
Just after this we come to Factory Junction, to our right were Factory Locks, the ones we would have come up if we had stayed on the New Mainline, but we were now turning left along the Wolverhampton level, soon we would do through Coseley Tunnel, this was quite dry for boaters but if you were on the towpath you would get wet. It is one of the tunnels that the Trust now allow unpowered boats and canoes to use. At this point I am pleased to say the sun was coming out. We carried on only stopping to remove the polly ( that is like in bags, not parrots) that was wrapped around my prop. A hire boater who was going very slowly kindly pulled over and waved me past, putting himself aground in the process, which didn’t seam to bother him at all.
Due to our early start we were in Wolverhampton by 2 pm so we decided to fill with water before mooring up, the water point is in Broad Street Basin, the door you can see to the left of our bows is an old warehouse where boats would go in below and their cargo hoisted to the upper floors all undercover. The basin is over a 90° turn from the direction we were travelling but at our length the turn is not to bad, a lot trickier with a full length boat. Once topped up with water we reversed back out and up the canal to moor on the towpath for the afternoon so that Diana could wander into town. When she returned about 5 pm we moved to the other side of the canal where there is a landing with mooring rings, but there is no access to the outside world with the road being about 20 feet above us.