Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Tipton Wednesday 6 September 2017

Bit of a late start for some reason today, it may have been because the boats in front were leaving and they both went out backwards which with the wind they didn't find too easy.

We drove out forward just after the trip boat had passed and turned left up the New Main Line. I must say I am very impress with the sign writing on the pub by the round house, I think its very in keeping with the building.DSCF9007

We turned right at Rotton Park Junction into the Soho Loop, another section of the Old Main Line that is still navigatable. Looking back across the main line to the bridge across the Icknield Port Loop you can see that the iron work by the top of the hand rail is quite intricate. DSCF9010

As you go round the look you would think you were 100 miles from Birmingham and not just a couple. DSCF9011Lots of the old buildings around here are new derelict which is a shame, they will probably be cleared for housing at some point.

As we neared the end of the loop we passed under Winson Green Bridge and beside it is this brick attachment.DSCF9014 Winson Green Prison backs right on to the canal at this point and it looks as if at one time there was an arm running into the prison.

Back on the new Main Line we turned right and after stopping briefly in one of the gauging narrows to clear the prop carried on to Smethwick Junction where the rest of the Old Main Line is still in use. Pope Bridge just below the locks has been extended twice since it was first built, you can see the three arches in this photograph, the nearer arch being the original.DSCF9018

At the top of the locks there use to be a toll both, this has been rebuilt many times to show what it was like, but yet again it has been vandalised, this time they burnt the roof off.DSCF9024

The bottom gate of Smethwick top lock when its open lays back at such an angle that the balance beam is about a foot over the canal, this means you have to lean forward to pull on the beam to close the gate, not the best arrangement.DSCF9023

Just above the three locks we turned at right angles through the bridge to enter the Engine Arm, it didn't go completely smoothly as the wind pushed my back end down the canal and I had to take two bites at it, coming out to turn into the wind was worse. DSCF9030

Once through the bridge you cross the New Main Line on an aqueduct, remember we have come up three locks since we left the New Main Line.DSCF9026

As soon as you clear the aqueduct there is another 90° bend to the left so we were travelling parallel to where we had just come from. The arm is only about ½ mile long and the end half is given over to long term moorings, at the very end is a service station and a winding hole where we turned to retrace our steps back to the Old Main Line.

The entrance for the Engine Arm is so narrow that you can't start your turn until the stern of the boat is clear of the junction, byDSCF9025 which time the bows were being blown in the opposite direction to what we wanted to go, but we got there eventually.

We passed the Smethwick Pumping Station and sitting right on the top of the chimney was a Cormorant. He certainly was getting a good view from up there.DSCF9033

Only the one tunnel today, this is a modern concrete lined one 103 yards long, the bore must be all of 15 to 20 feet from water line to apex but CRT have the headroom as just 6' 5".DSCF9035

They are installing tonnes of scaffolding under the M5 motorway flyover and to think all the traffic travelling above them don't have a clue.DSCF9044

From here it wasn't that far to our destination for the night, Tipton just passed The Fountain pub, opposite the health centre. We are the only boat moored this side on the rings.

After we had eaten onboard we went for a walk down the disused Tipton Green Branch, it is now a footpath and green corridor between the Old and New Main Lines and lock No. is still visible as the path goes the length of the lock chamber.DSCF9047

Today's Journey map 22 10½ Miles, 3 locks in just under 5 hours.

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