Friday, 7 August 2020

Anglesey Basin

Nb. Leaf had left well before we were about which was not unexpected. Our first job was to move back a boats length and fill with water, needless to say as soon as we did this one of the club members wanted to top  up as well, but he seemed happy to wait and chat about his boat. This was the last time we were at Longwood in 2009.DSCF1738 Once full of water we were off, we had been warned the weed through the bridge was much worse, and although it looked worse it was no problem at all. The weed continued all the way to Catshill Junction DSCF3896before things improved greatly. On the way to the junction we approached a bridge and above the bridge I could see the silhouette of a fisherman,DSCF3895 unfortunately I waited until we had come under the bridge to take the photo, it looked much better from the other side without the trees behind it.
At Catshill Junction it was hard right along the Wyrley & Essington canal, a canal with much less weed. Before long we were at Ogley Junction, whereDSCF3897 one day hopefully the Litchfield canal will re-join the BCN. From here we were on the Anglesey Branch that just leads down to Anglesey Basin.  Along here is the only location I know of f the old coal shoots that were used to load the locally mined coal into the narrowboats, part of the Black Country’s rich DSCF3899history and they are being left to rot, maybe they are not 250 years old and only 70 or 80, but soon they will be gone. Sandwell Council removed and other last ones I knew of.

We pushed on to the very end of the basin, for some reason there is now a barrier across what was a very good mooring at the very end, so we winded and DSCF3900headed back about half a mile to moor beside some old brick workings.

Today’s Journey 8.5 miles, no locks in 4.25 05  Map courtesy of Waterway Routes

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Longwood Boat Club

We were getting ready to leave this morning when Terry came chugging under the bridge, he was stuck in the weed last night about a mile away. I was considering fighting my way to the junction and then turning round after hearing tails about the weed, but then I read Andy Tidy’s report of towing his butty round, if he can do it so can we.
We left at 10 am and things weren’t too bad, the worst bit was where Terry got stuck, we could see where he was by the heap of weed on the bank,DSCF3879 we did briefly come to a standstill there but were soon away again. After that we didn’t have any problem until lock 4 where I had to call CRT as I couldn’t close the bottom gates.

One of the features of this canal is the very high bridges, this is Chimney Bridge, a foot bridge on tall brick towers.DSCF3880
It took us just an hour and ten minuets to reach Rushall Junction where we turned right into the Rushall Canal. I have never seen so many Water Lilies as there are along here. The flowers areDSCF3889 mainly white ones with a yellow centre but we even saw Lemon ones and even a bright red one. There are also acres of miniature yellow ones, almost like floating buttercups.DSCF3890 We actually met a boat between the junction and Rushall locks who warned me the foot boars were bad on lock 8, so all the locks should be with us. Some of the pounds were very low, especially between 5 and 6 where Diana had to let water down DSCF3884for me to get across the pound, I still had to force my way through the mud to get into lock 5.
As I went into lock 4 the boat came to a standstill with the stern in the bottom gates, I managed to creep in as the water moved in the pound below but Diana couldn’t shut the gates fully, we tried everything, feeling with the boathook it was like pushing it into a hedge and coming out with a load of weed. In the end I gave up, turned the engine off and called CRT, I gave all the details to whoever mans the help desk and he said the man I needed was driving but would call me back. By now we had 4 youngsters on the lock side asking question, this turned out to be very luck because on of the lads said there were a bunch of CRT guys working on a lock further down the flight. With this information I was off and arrived at lock 8 they were just clearing their tools up to leave, A quick chat and they agreed to see what they could do, but they only had a short rake on the truck. As I walked back up the CRT returned my call, a man would be with me in an hour, I was better than that and had 3 of them following me. Once at the boat one of them climbed down to the stern of Harnser and I pulled it back to the gate, he could just reach the cill by kneeling on our counter, After a bit of weed up came a biggish branch, followed by more weed and a bigger branch, still the gates wouldn’t shut, more poking around and up came a bike frame, the gates would now almost closed, so they filled the lock to let me out and had a word with the two guys who were already on there way what was needed. We continued on to the top lock without problem to moor for the night outside the Longwood Boat Club and yet again there is a busy road crossing the canal ahead of us. The total time for the journey was 5 hours, but we spent an hour and a half in lock 4. If it hadn’t been for chatting with the youngsters it would have been much longer.

Todays Journey 6.6 Miles, 9 locks in 3.5 04 
Map courtesy of Waterway Routes

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Perry Bar

What I wasn’t expecting last night was the 50% government discount on our meals, so a bill that started off at £58 45 ended up at £25.12 after all the discounts were taken off. The moorings however were very noisy with traffic all night, I don’t expect tonight to be much better moored right by a bridge.

We made our normal 10am start and only saw 2 boats all day so most  so lots of the lock were against us. After Minworth locks there are loads of blackberries on the offside.DSCF3870

At Salford Junction we carried straight on up the Thame Valley, just beyond the junction there is the remains of a toll island which is well overgrown. DSCF3871This part of the canal is under Spaghetti Junction sospaghetti Junction you are often under concrete and concrete needs maintaining, hence all the scaffolding and men working above. DSCF3872Although the canal along here is crystal clear and you can see the fish it also its a sad place as a police officer lost his life trying to arrest a man armed with a knife, the man with mental health issues should never have been at large let alone with a knife.DSCF3873 The first and only real problem was being unable to close the bottom gates of lock 13, the cause was was a car tyre on the cill, thankfully I was able to DSCF3874remove it with the shaft but I could only just reach it. On the top gate Diana couldn’t operate the antivandal lock, it turned out to be a piece of rust stopping the key fitting. We needed somewhere to stop for lunch and I found this handy post to just DSCF3875attach the centre rope to while we stopped for lunch. There was a bit of weed in some of the pounds but nothing to stop us, we met a boat DSCF3876coming down between locks 6 and 7 with tales of how bad it was above the flight, we will find out for ourselves tomorrow. We continued on to the top of the flight and the visitor moorings, we were told these are quiet mooring but our bow is almost under the A34.
Looking back from our mooring is a building just below the top lock on the other side of the canal. I wont say what it is but leave it for you to read the name above the door.DSCF3878

Today’s Journey 10 miles, 16 locks in 6 03

Map courtesy of Waterway Routes

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

The Cuttle Inn. Minworth.

Last night was the best nights sleep for several nights, nice and cool with no pigeons outside the bedroom window at 4am onwards. Slight drizzle this morning before we set off. There were no plans to get away much before lunch time as a boat had gone up the flight yesterday afternoon so we would wait and hope someone came down. We didn’t wait long and it was just ten past ten when we set off into an empty bottom lock. They had only come from the pub but that’s a start. One of the bottom paddles is out on the bottom lock, its not taped up but has a nice bag over it.DSCF3864We stopped for water just before lock 9 but the water wouldn’t run cold, so we gave that a miss. As the day progressed we met more and more boats, mainly hire boats from Kate Boats in Warwick. We continued up the flight stopping for water at the water point just before lock 1.
As we approached Curdworth tunnel a tree has come down on the off side, it doesn't have any branches but the trunk is over half way across the canal, someone has put a white bag on the end to make it easier to see thankfully.DSCF3865 We cleared the tunnel without hitting the bulge at the end on the offside, this has nearly been worn away now with boats hitting it, unlike when I caught it 18 years ago. We have moored for the night at The Cuttle Inn where we plane to eat tonight, I hope its not a bad idea. I went in and book , the only time they could offer me was 4-30 or 8 pm. I hope its because they are well spaced out and not packed.

Today’s Journey 4.6 miles, 11 locks in 3.25 02

Map courtesy of Waterways Routes

Monday, 3 August 2020

Curdworth Bottom Lock

A very good run to the boat apart from the roadworks in Beccles which we diverted round, but there was noticeably more traffic. The new section of the A14 has made a big difference.

We arrived at Alvecote around 1pm and by 2pm were ready to set off. We arrived at the top of Glascote locks just as a hire boat from the Glascote  basin was setting off under instruction, luckily the instructor waved us through and used the opportunity to tell the first time hirers what was happening, even better we met two boats in the flight with 2 more waiting to come up. I think the cottage at the bottom lock is now occupied again. At Fazeley junction it was hard left onto the Birmingham and Fazeley canal. It was on this canal that we were lucky enough to see a Grass Snake swim across the canal ahead of us, no chance of a photo as it was gone before our stern was along side. We only met one boat on the B&F and there is one other moored here below the locks, Since we have been here two have come down the flight, lets hope there are plenty tomorrow.
Not really much to photograph accept a boat who’s name caught my eye, Pearl’s a Springer, of course DSCF3862the boat is also a Springer. The other thing was this bundle of Coir that someone had fished out. BW had hung them against the piling on most of the length from here to the junction for plants to grow in, I wonder how many more are waiting for someone’s propeller to find them.DSCF3863

Today’s Journey 8.3 miles, 2 locks in 3 hours map 01

Cruise plotted on

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Home Moorings

We had a nice Indian Take a Way last night from Kudos Studio, We spent £28 and had sufficient for not only last night but also tonight with the left overs, on top of that there was a free bottle of Larger, if you like that sort of thing.

After a good quiet night we were on our way at 9-30 this morning, both the Glascote locks were with us and after that we met a few boats including hire boats.

The only point point of interest was this rat wandering around under one of the canal bridges.DSCF3837

When we arrived back at the marina the wind was very light so I decided to wind just inside the marina and then run backwards down to our berth, needless to say there was no one watching.

Tonight you have two maps, the first our total tripmap 16a over the 15 days and the second just our standard daily trip.

Today’s Journey 4.4 miles, 2 locks in 2 16

Monday, 20 July 2020


It turned quite cool yesterday night and I had to get up and remove the louver in the engine room and close the hatch.
We pushed off at our normal 10am for an uneventful trip to Fazeley.

Just beyond the A38 bridge there is a sunken boat, its been slowly getting lower in the water since it first arrived here. It looks like an ex BWB work boat.DSCF3829

I considered stopping at Streethay for a pump out but as there were two boats waiting and I would have had to turn round we carried on. I made the first weed hatch visit of the trip just before Streethay, a pair of Calvin Klein’s, my word they use good elastic.

Interestingly several cow have taken to walking in the canal to drink, they must know where the edge of the canal is as they were only walking in the shallow edge and you cant see the depth.DSCF3833 When we arrived in Fazeley we turned right up the Birmingham and Fazeley canal to visit Fazeley Mill Marina for a pump out and top up with diesel, when we arrived there were two boats waiting outside and one already on the services. By the time it was our turn there were two more boats waiting, it seems most places are still closing at weekends. Once we had emptied the loo tank and filled the diesel tank we headed back to Fazeley Junction to fill with water and moor for the night. Although our journey time was 6.75 hours, probably two hours were spent waiting about.

Today’s Journey 14 miles in 6.75 hours with no locks.

map 15