Monday, 31 August 2020

Walsall Basin

Well it was quite pleasant last night with most music from the 60s to 80s, we rather missed it when they stopped about 10pm and everything quietened down by 11 pm so not a bad night, the only down side is it seems to be the main route to the hospital or ambulance station and they sound their sirens when crossing the bridge.

Just before we set off there was a boat come by and we wondered if they wanted to moor, but they were going a bit further to wind before returning to Sneyd Junction where they moor. We carried on to Sneyd Junction and stopped for water when they returned and struggled to reverse back into their mooring due to silt and weed.By now we were pushing a good raft of floating Penny Wort which came off the bows when we stopped. We pushed on again to Birchills Junction were we had moored about 3 weeks ago. This is a very handy mooring for Sainsbury’s, you can even bring the trolley to the boat. While we were there we had lunch and I removed some more of the cable sheathing from the prop.
After lunch it was down to the Birchills Locks. By the top lock is the old Boatman’s Rest, one of only two DSCF4156in the Blackcountry. Its rather a fine building but I don’t know what it is used for today if anything.DSCF4155The Walsall flight of 8 locks are in very good condition and easy to work, even if they were all against us. The strange thing is they all have a single top and single bottom gate except on which has mitre gates at the bottom. It is ether original of it was changed a long time ago for some reason. At the bottom of the flight this chimney on the corner of the junction of the Walsall Arm made a fine sightDSCF4158
you can just imagine how it was 200 years ago belching out smoke. We turned left up the Walsall arm into Walsall basin, needless to say it was DSCF4159empty. There is a floating spring loaded barrier across the entrance to the basin to stop flotsam entering the basin. There was nothing there today and its easily pushed to one side as the boat passes through. We winded and dropped in alongside the long pontoon, I thought it best not to rest the bow fender against the window while I drove the stern round, I didn’t think it would be appreciated. Since we have been here I have already had a pair of young ladies stand on the front deck and then ask very nicely if they could take a photo on our bench seat, It will probably be somewhere on Facebook or Twitter  by now.

Todays Journey 5.6 miles, 8 locks in 3.5 29Map courtesy of Waterway Routes


Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

One story about Walsall Lock 6 is that a German bomb landed on the lock and they didn’t have a spare single gate to fix it, but they did have a spare pair from the Staffs and Worcester. So instead of closing the canal whilst a new gate was made they adapted the lock to fit the two gates to hand.

Another version is that lock was mistakenly built a little shorter than the rest and putting in a pair of gates was the easiest way to gain a little extra length.

The spring barrier was there long before weed was a problem in the area. It was allegedly to keep the floating rubbish out of the basin so it looked good - but in practice it keeps the rubbish in the basin leaving the canal free of the worst of the rubbish.

Tom and Jan said...

I was wondering if you had travelled north from Ocker Hill to the basin. We were going to attempt that but the volume of rubbish in the canal diswaded me! One boat attempted it running aground just beyond Moorcroft Junction and then struggled to reverse course. I met two CRT staff who were lamenting the condition of the canal as they had only completed a major effort removing all the rubbish two weeks earlier.