Date :26 August 2019
Finish :1735 Shirley
I have uploaded our proposed route to CanalPlanAC if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.
Last night we were moored almost opposite the plaque marking where tom Rolt was moored with Cressy when he had a meeting with Robert Ackerman and they decided to form the IWA. I first time I came this way I moored over there and very good moorings they were, Today for some reason they are now no mooring with special red no mooring signs. I have no idea why.
This morning the first job was to fiddle with the fresh water tank level gauge, it still shows full 3 days after the last top up and half empty when I drain it. I expect it will need to go back for attention. The result of this was it was gone 11 when we set off, meeting a boat in Tardebigge Tunnel with a rather bright headlight, luckily the next boat hadn't entered the tunnel as we left as it was a day boat with 2 LED spotlights on each side of the cabin. It wasn't long before we were in Shortwood Tunnel, this one is just raw rock, no brick lining other than the ends.
We stopped for lunch on the new cutting where the M42 crosses the canal, part of the original line is still in water but is now a nature reserve, the original line can be seen on this map from Waterways Routes I guess the canal was still important enough for them not to block it when they built the motorway so the built the bridge and new cut before crossing the canal proper.
After lunch we were soon we were in the longest tunnel of the day, Wast Hill tunnel, all brick lined, dead straight and 2726 yards long tunnel where we met yet another boat, this time his headlight was no problem. As the light from the end of the tunnel started to illuminate the roof I spotted it was covered in small stalactites.
After leaving the tunnel it wasn't far to Kings Norton Junction where the old toll house suffered an arson attack in February. Here we turned right, a much easier turn than if coming from Birmingham onto the North Stratford canal. a short while later it was the fourth tunnel of the day, Brandwood Tunnel. This means that we had done almost 2½ miles underground. On the North Stratford we also passed this pair of figures, I think they look like children made from wire netting, I don't know if the owner plans to plant them up with hedging of just have them as decorations.
We finally moored for the night about 3ft from the bank just before the aqueduct over the River Cole at Shirley.