Tuesday, 1 September 2020

Ocker Hill

We decided not to stay in the basin overnight with the number of youngster roaming about and a fisherman suggesting we were very brave to have our boat there overnight. So after dinner we moved down to the offside pontoon at the junction for an undisturbed nights sleep. You can see from the map where we started this morning.

This morning Diana wanted to visit the charity shop with some books and jigsaws as well as picking up some new ones, so I dropped back from the pontoon to the quay side so she could get off and returned t the pontoon to clear the polly from the prop. It was 1130 when she returned and I picked her up to set off to Ocker Hill.
I think the Walsall canal is the dirtiest one we have travelled on all year, but although there is rubbish everywhere we didn’t have any real problems or weed hatch visits. We did have a problem with depth at one point, just north of Moorcroft Junction for about 70Mts it was very hard going, not weed, just silt, but it was the only spot.
Last time we were this way I assume its the same boat was in this polly tunnel, I bet it was warm inDSCF4162 there last week. The building in the background is quite interesting as well I thought with its hoist hatch over the canal. Old disused canal features interest me, this looks like some sort of lifting are where you would hang a set of chain blocks, but DSCF4163what would you lift with it being mounted on top of a concrete post. There has been a great deal of movement on this bridge, the brickwork must have gone back or forward over 50mm and there are steel plates up into the roof.DSCF4165Another strange thing was the water plant growth. All the canals have been full of water plants and weed until suddenly today there was nothing, just DSCF4167open water with a reed fringe, this was around Bulls Bridge. s I said the going was easy until just before Moorcroft Junction where it was badly silted, at the junction the Bradley canal restoration Society have DSCF4169erected a notice as they are actively trying to restore the Bradley Arm up to the C&RT Bradley workshop so that gives a link to Deepfield Junction on the BCN Mainline Wolverhampton Level. You DSCF4168can’t get to far at the moment but things are looking promising with lots of the structure still in place.
Its not far after this where the Tame Valley canal joins the Walsall canal and then the little arm to the Ocker Hill moorings where we are tonight. These are mainly residential moorings but there is room for a couple of visitor moorings. BW use to have their offices by the arm and keep their workboats here, but they have since moved on.

Todays Journey 6.5 miles in 3.25 hours with no locks.map 30 Map courtesy of Waterway Routes https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/

1 comment:

Graham said...

My childhood was spent in a house which backed onto the towpath almost opposite the building which intrigued you today. Naturally, the canal was our playground and that building was our background. It is part of what I now realise was quite a substantial wharf. There was a ramped access drive up to the main road by the bridge. In my time, mid 1950’s, the building was empty and the ground used as a builder’s yard. As children we were warned never to go near it as there was a lime pit, the contents of which would wreak a terrible havoc upon us if we came anywhere near it. The warning must have hit home as we never ventured down the drive, except once.
Sometimes, an empty joey boat would appear on our section of the cut – presumably let loose by other boys further along the canal. When this happened, a great cry went up and we set out to get hold of the runaway boat, so that we could have a sail on her. I think that the first time I was ever afloat must have been on my first such escapade. I remember that getting aboard was a challenge, the sides of the boat were so high out of the water. One evening we got our boat and drifted off our usual few yards when we had a new problem, the wind was blowing the boat to the offside and we had to get home before our parents realised we were over the canal. We had no equipment, no poles to move the boat. Pushing off from the offside trees, which was our usual method, didn’t work. Eventually we managed to grapple our way along to the wharf by the building. We leapt ashore and ran up the ramp to the road and so to home. We moved so fast that the lime didn’t get us, and nor did our parents!
It's good to see that it still survives. I’m astonished that so much of the wooden structure around the cat’s head survives. I’m sure that there used to be a corrugated iron canopy over the canal to protect the boats. I’ve never manged to sail along the Walsall Canal so thank you for the words and pictures.