This morning we woke to the sound of generators being run, well it was after 8 o'clock so we had a good nights sleep in Tipton, far quiter than the BCLM. Setting off at 1030 we had to go to Factory Junction to wind, before returning back past our mooring spot. We made another excursion to the BCLM moorings by Dudley tunnel to fill with water.
Yesterday I posted a photo of the wedged shaped house, I have since been informed that this is an old BCN property number 100 and in what is now the canal side garden stood the old Tipton Toll House. This was demolished some years ago and it was said it was going to be rebuilt at the BCLM.
After leaving the museum we turned right at Tipton Junction down the Old Main Line, the water is quite deep along here so the going quite easy, on the way we passed a pair of young swans displaying to each other, its probably their first breeding season.
For lunch we pulled in just south of Whimsey Bridge, this didn't go quite to plan as on the first approach I hit a shopping trolley of something similar. Opposite there is a nice run of floating pontoon moorings that belong the aquatic/garden centre which advertises a 7 day cafe at Valencia Wharf. It looks as if the place has closed down, so maybe I should have just moored there for lunch.
It was only a short run from here to Oldbury Junction where under the motorway we turned very sharp right into the Titford Canal to be faced by 6 lock which were all against us, but help was on hand. The boater who had gone up ahead of us was at the junction and he kindly offered to set ahead for us and easy our journey. The smell from the water and the bubbles that came up when the bottom was disturbed was something else.
These locks are quite unusual in that the towpath and the near side of the lock are all in a straight line. Most locks are set about 6 feet out of line so that boats leaving the lock can pass ones waiting to enter.
Things were going well until lock 2 where we wedged solid against a big lump of wood, again we received help from a passer by, he jumped down onto the boat and stamped on the wood with no luck, then he took the mooring hammer to it, still we failed to move but the wood was deeper, Di flushed water in from above and things started to move, both top paddles fully up, the very short pound behind rising to overtop the next gates and we broke free backwards. The chap kept the log ahead of us and I moved slowly into the lock, where he proceeded to heave it out of the cut onto our deck, once we had locked up he threw it over into the side pound where its trapped by the reeds. I don't think I would have been able to lift it let alone throw it.
The result of this activity was two fold, Firstly I now had a well fouled prop and the water level in the pound ahead was too low to get out of the lock. After rewarding our good Samaritan with bottles of beer, Diana let down water from the top and we limped forward. Once clear of the flight I cleared the prop of a quilted jacket before we pushed off up the canal. Some time ago there was a fire alongside the canal in Langley Maltinge's Grade 2 listed buildings, its sad to say that the buildings involved are still in the same state.
We continued up the canal passing this modern sculpture on the towpath, it is very close to the end of the navigation. From here it wasn't long before we were and the M5 motorway bridge and into Titford Pools, it looks as if some dredging has recently taken place on the canal that use to exit the pools which has been unused for some years. The BCNS now issue a plaque to any boater who reaches the pools, the last time we were up this way I think it was the pub that gave one.
On our return I stopped under the motorway while Diana visited the canal side Aldi for a few essentials like more beer before we returned to the top of the locks, then it was another new waterway down behind Titford pump house on the old feeder arm where we have moored for the night.
7 miles, 6 locks 3 junctions 3 canal in 4hr 40 min