Monday, 19 October 2020

Polesworth

A very late start today, midday. It started with a phone call followed by a visit by an old friend on her boat who we hadn't seen for several years, that happens with boating. We followed her at a good distance as far as Bradley Green Bridge where we winded while she continued up the Atherstone flight.


Once we had turned round we went backwards through Bradley Green Bridge to the serviced to take on a last top up with water this trip. One of the canal side fields along this stretch floods badly every winter, and the farmer has recently drilled his winter wheat, by the looks of things its flooded again and rotted the seed.

There are still a few of the old stone mileposts along the canal but lots are not as visible as this one, that's if they still exist.

With a tank of water we headed back to Polesworth for the night.

 

Today's Journey 

6.5 miles, 0 locks in 2.5 hours.


  Map courtesy of Waterway Routes https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE
All of the above is my personal opinion and does not represent
 those of any official body or notices.
All comments made to this blog are checked for spam before
being accepted any made anonymously are accepted but if you
leave a name I could say thanks.

 

  

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Alvecote

 

Last nights mooring was even quieter than expected and this morning lock 7 was still full, as we entered the lock I could see a boat on the lock moorings below, but nether came up to give a hand with the lock, both stayed with their boat, at lock 6 we met another boat, this time a Napton hire boat and the lady was more than willing to lend a hand. C&RT have contractors cutting 


vegetation on the off side bank, its surprising how fast it has grown, It was cut well back 6 years ago and people complained there would be nowhere for the Kingfishers to sit. Along this section of the canal the orange paint blobs on the towpath edge have been joined by some day glow pink ones.

We decided not to stop at Fazeley but to carry on up the Coventry canal for a bit, They are also cutting back the off side along here, I hope when they get to Amington they do something to the very large overhanging willow trees. A boat was just coming out of Glascote bottom lock as I dropped Diana off, but there was a boat already on the lock moorings, after the boat had exited the lock there was still no sign of life on the moored boat, Diana even knocked on the side, so I slid passed them into the lock, When the lock was almost full 2 girls walked down from the top lock having drawn both paddles for some reason, as it turned out they were the girls from the boat below the bottom lock on the lock moorings. We finally ended up mooring for the night almost opposite Alvecote Marina.                                               

 

Today's Journey 

8.5 miles, 7 locks in 4.5 hours.


  Map courtesy of Waterway Routes https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE
All of the above is my personal opinion and does not represent
 those of any official body or notices.
All comments made to this blog are checked for spam before
being accepted any made anonymously are accepted but if you
leave a name I could say thanks.

 

 

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Marston

 

Its been a busy day today on the canal, we met 2 boats, one at Minworth Lock, he had come all the way from London and didn't have a handcuff key, so I'm not sure how he will get on going up to Birmingham, he also had very large, wider than his roof, solar panels that he had to adjust to get through bridges. The weather has been fine but cool with no wind.

We set off about 1030 heading down to Salford junction and took the very tight right hand turn along the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. We passed a few fishermen but no matches. After a short time we passed under an industrial building, I don’t know what was going on above our heads.


Everywhere is very quiet, not many people anywhere, just a few walkers and cyclists but you could probably count them on one hand. The towpaths around here are definitely geared up for cyclists and they seem to assume the right of way every time.

By one of the Minworth Locks the householder has started planting along the outside of their metal boundary fence.

We stopped for a bit to eat outside the Hare and Hounds pub, as we moored I noticed a length of green line attached to the piling, I just had to pull it and on the end was a Crayfish net. I wouldn’t have thought the visitor moorings was the best place to leave it, luckily I moored at the other end or my prop would have chewed it. After lunch we carried on to the Curdworth flight with still no 

breeze to ruffle the water, luckily the locks were with us, although some had leaked off. C&RT have plans to make the offside of the locks into wild flower gardens and with the volunteers they have I am sure it will be a success.

If you look at this paddle gear you will see a chain hanging to the left with a plate on the end with a hole in it. The stem of the paddle should be threaded through this so that if the paddle becomes detached from the winding gear it can still be retrieved. It seems that C&RT don’t feel they are required any more.

There are a few other things of interest; these footpath markers have boots engraved on them.


Looking out over the M42 you can see the ongoing work of HS2. 

We moored for the night just short of lock 7, although its quite close to the motorway its almost inaudible due to the small rise in the ground between the motorway and the canal.

 

Today's Journey 

7.5 miles, 9 locks in 4.5 hours.


  Map courtesy of Waterway Routes https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE
All of the above is my personal opinion and does not represent
 those of any official body or notices.
All comments made to this blog are checked for spam before
being accepted any made anonymously are accepted but if you
leave a name I could say thanks.

 

 

Friday, 16 October 2020

Star City

I think Birmingham looks so pretty at night, when the canal is like a mirror and the lights reflect in the water.


We set off at our normal time heading to the Farmers Bridge flight of 13 locks, Cambrian Basin is just at the top of the locks and again was almost empty. No visiting boats at all. 
The first 4 locks were with us and as we did the third a Volockie came up the flight and opened the fourth for us. He then ASKED me if we would like assistance down the flight, which I took him up on, as I am still not 100% active with the back to do my full share of the work. Just as I passed under Livery Street Bridge a large lump of very ancient lump of hard soot fell from the roof and landed right in front of me on the slide, maybe I should wear a hardhat. 

We pulled over just before Aston Junction to wash the roof off, I had already thrown the lumps off. By now our Volockie had left us and walked back up the flight as we tackled the Aston Flight of 11 locks, all of which were against us. There is much more graffiti around Birmingham now, I am not sure how they managed this one. 
 A little further down there is artwork set out in bricks, its good to see that the artists are also mentioned.


 Near the bottom of the flight Highways have a good stock of road salt ready for winter, I bet once they start spreading they will soon work their way through that little lot.

I cant say I have ever noticed this chap on the roof before, a rough guess its a pub probably called the Britania

.
 If anyone can make head or hails of this notice at Cuckoo Wharf then please let me know, I can't work out where the 14 days moorings are.


Down at Salford Junction I pushed the bows round as if we were going up the Tame Valley so that I could reverse up the Grand Union to Star City where we planned to moor for the night. Things went well until Nechells Stop lock, I was a few inches off line so gave it a good burst of forward to get us back on track and got a complete blade full, polly bags, heavy duty polythene and some kind of clothing, end result we failed to straighten up in time but still had enough drive to get to the moorings.

 

Today's Journey   

3.5 miles, 24 locks in 4 hours.


  Map courtesy of Waterway Routes https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE
All of the above is my personal opinion and does not represent
 those of any official body or notices.
All comments made to this blog are checked for spam before
being accepted any made anonymously are accepted but if you
leave a name I could say thanks.

 

 

  

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Birmingham

We went out to a cold but sunny morning, 2°C and the back fenders steaming in the warm sun.


The morning was very pleasant as we made our way back through Gosty Tunnel.

This poor one eared beer didn’t look to happy  with the spike of the fence up his rear end, no wonder he was red in the face.

We carried on back through Netherton Tunnel, this is just over 3000 yards long and wide enough for two boats to pass, there is also a towpath on each side so there was no need for a tug as the horses could pull the boats through. As its semicircular in section above the water line this also gives it a very high roof.

At one time the tunnel was lite with electric lighting, the electricity was generated with a water turbine getting its supply from the Old Main Line where it crossed Tividale Aqueduct, I suspect but I don’t know for sure that this was the generator building as it has cast iron pipes dropping down from the aqueduct above.

At the end of the branch we turned right along the New Main Line, we could have followed this all the way into Birmingham but we chose to go up Brades to the Old Main Line. As you come out of Brades Top Lock straight ahead of you all these redundant metal working machines are lined up, some covered better than others.

We followed the Old Main Line through the Summit Tunnel, a modern construction with a single towpath running through it, at the entrance is this C&RT sign, I can't say I have ever seen 


the priority indicated at a tunnel before, the problem is, I think its the same sign both ends, we continued on as far as Smethwick Junction where we rejoined the New Main Line, on the way we dropped down the three new Smethwick locks, new because at one time there was a parallel set of 3 locks to speed up traffic. We kept on the New Main Line as far as Ladywood Junction where we turned right into the Oozells Street Loop hoping to moor before we came back to the Main Line at Old Turn Junction, things didn't look to hopeful but the only gap turned out to be just 4 foot longer than Harnser, so here we are for the night. Last time we visited Birmingham it was virtually empty.

 

Today's Journey 

14.5 miles, 6 locks in 5.25 hours.


  Map courtesy of Waterway Routes https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE
All of the above is my personal opinion and does not represent
 those of any official body or notices.
All comments made to this blog are checked for spam before
being accepted any made anonymously are accepted but if you
leave a name I could say thanks.

 

  

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Halesowen

 

Firstly a reply to a comment made on yesterdays Blog, the red things that look like locks are actually travel direction logged every 10 minutes and they are put on by Memory Maps the program that I run Waterways Routes in.

The last 4 times we have moored in Tipton the most boats we have seen moored on John the Lock moorings has been 2, including us. This morning when we left Tipton there were 5 moored there, but the towpath side where we were was empty.


We stopped just beyond the first bridge to fill with water and then it was off down the old main line. This industrial unit is definitely maximising there solar electricity generation.

I think this should be a requirement on all new builds. When we use to come this way in the past this door just sat forlorn in a blank wall a long way from the ground, today there are stairs and a smart social area.

When we reached Brades Hall Junction we turned left down the Gower Arm via the Brades Hall Locks. This building is constructed against the bridge approach with no windows and a very heavy door, I have no idea what it was built for, if you know I would love to know.

At the end of the Gower Arm we turned sharp left again up the New Mainline as far as the Dudley Port junction and back under the Old Mainline into Netherton Tunnel where we met the only boat of the day.

Once clear of the tunnel it was left yet again at The Bumble Hole down the BCN Dudley No2 canal for yet another tunnel, this is an awful lot narrower and lower the last one we passed through.

Gosty Hill tunnel is only 557 yards long but I know of one boat that stuck in there for 24 hours.

Our target was Hawne Basin to fill with diesel, pump out the toilet tank and meet some old friends  we managed all three before leaving the basin and mooring out on the canal, due to the Covid restrictions Coomewood Canal Trust are not allowing visiting boats to stay overnight.

 

Today's Journey 

10.5 miles, 3 locks in 5 hours.


  Map courtesy of Waterway Routes https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE
All of the above is my personal opinion and does not represent
 those of any official body or notices.
All comments made to this blog are checked for spam before
being accepted any made anonymously are accepted but if you
leave a name I could say thanks.

 

 

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Tipton

 

We started off on a cool fine day, but it wasn’t long before the sun was out and things started to warm up, unfortunately this afternoon it was back to rain.

We went about half an hour down the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal until we reached Aldersley Junction where we turned sharp left to climb the Wolverhampton 21 locks. We were very pleased to find the first lock empty, this meant there was no one going up ahead so all the locks should be with us. After 3 locks a chap came towards us with a windlass just as we were leaving the lock, he was setting the locks in readiness for the ex working boat Bellatrix. This was even better news as all the ponds were full of water and all the locks would have been emptied this morning, so not half full due to overnight leakage. We didn’t meet any other boats in the flight and only one lock needed about 6” of water draining from it. We saw the group walk passed in both directions, the "Supervisor" was carrying a spade, the rest litter pickers. I think they may have been on community service.


You can see how nice the weather was this morning with the warm sun and light breeze.

At lock 15 we found the C&RT volunteer store complete with volunteers, they told me that they were keeping the flight clean and smart, I couldn't argue with that, even the paddle gear was well greased. 

Half way up the flight Diana pointed out this works with its raised clerestory roof, I wonder how many more like this are about.

We finally reached the top of the flight, it had taken us two hours and forty minutes with Diana doing virtually all the work as my back is still not 100%. This old British Waterways sign is still at the top lock, I wonder if anyone will be moved to paint roses on a blue, plastic C&RT one, I doubt it.

Almost as soon as we left the locks it started raining and 10 minutes later I met the second boat of the day, I was in the bridge when the came round the bend , a couple of seconds later they would have been right up to the bridge so that worked well. C&RT have a trailable boat that they use for surveying waterways etc, I wonder how often that fully caged prop gets clogged with rubbish.

We pushed on and almost at Tipton someone has cleared this section of offside bank, I decided to photograph it and picked the camera up, suddenly I thought there was someone sitting there and put the camera down again. This is what it was.

We pushed on to moor in Tipton for the night, we decided not to use John the Locks mooring but be Bill no mates on the towpath side.

 

Today's Journey 

10.25 miles, 21 locks in 5 hours.


  Map courtesy of Waterway Routes https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE
All of the above is my personal opinion and does not represent
 those of any official body or notices.
All comments made to this blog are checked for spam before
being accepted any made anonymously are accepted but if you
leave a name I could say thanks.