Saturday 22 May 2021

Home moorings

 It was actually fine when we got up this morning and we were on our way at 9-30. we didn't see any boats on the move in our ¾ hour journey back to our moorings. it did spit with rain towards the end of the trip but there was next to no wind as I reversed back down to our mooring. We had a good trip home arriving at 2pm again with no rain, even though it was black at times. We came via Bury St Edmonds as the A11 is closed for the weekend at Thetford.

Todays Journey 1¾ miles, no locks in ¾ of a hour

This trip has been just over 3 weeks and we have not been moving very quickly as you probably noticed, we went the long way round to get to Walsall basin as shown on the map below , we did some 126 locks in about 77 hours covering almost 140 miles The route can be seen in CanalPlanAC at 

If you would like to know more about the BCN then I would recommend Andy Tide's Youtube channel at
 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrzW1oor-tk40DovgxICJaA where he has documented lots of the missing bits as well.


Friday 21 May 2021


 Well I can't ever remember the wind being so noisy when we have been onboard before, it was screaming round the stern of the boat and roaring it the leaves of nearby trees, I was expecting to be minus a chimney this morning but all was well.
A boat went up the flight before we were about and as we didn't have far to go it was 10-30am when we set off in the rain, which luckily stopped almost immediately, but that didn't last and we still got wet. The geese were well into a field of wheat between the canal and the lakes, I hope the farmer gets paid for his loss, or maybe he is paid to grow it for them.

By now it was raining again and the spray on the road running parallel must have been a pain to the drivers. It wasn't long before we passed through Drayton Swivel Bridge and I noticed that all the rotten timbers have been replaced, I don't know if the bridge is still used, its always been locked open when I have passed in the last few years. 

Work is now underway to turn Tolson mill at Fazeley into apartments, its good the old building is being repurposed,  it been in a poor state of repair for some time. More information is available on the developers web site  

As we came out of Fazeley Junction we dropped back to the water point to fill with water, ahead of us there are now 4 birds painted on the wall, these are the latest addition. 
Tank full it was off along the Coventry canal, the Glascote locks were against us but the boater leaving the top lock kindle drew a paddle for us before leaving, so by the time we reached the lock it was empty. We chugged on a short was to between bridges 69 and 70 to moor for the night, this will give us a short run to the marina in the morning.

Todays Journey 5 miles, 2 locks in 3 hours.

Thursday 20 May 2021

Bottom of Curdworth

 A very good mooring last night, I think I may have found one of the quietest spots along there. This morning I had to get up at 5-30am as you do and the sky was blood red, but you know what they say about a red sky in the morning. Come 10am. time to set off and it it was raining but thankfully didn't last long.
We had some good luck with the locks, the top one was full and then we met boats at both number 2 and 3.
 It is now very obvious where HS2 will be crossing below lock 5 but its good to see the number of new trees they are planting as an environment mitigation strategy. It wasn't long before the rain started and that carried on for the rest of the journey. Once we reached the pub, The Dog and Doublet at lock 9 things changed and all the rest of the locks were empty. Its good to see the pub doing a bit of trade, people were queuing to get in at 12 o'clock.

We moored just below the Curdworth flight where I carried out a 250hr oil and filter change, I also check the liquid level in the batteries when I do this, but didn't need to add any this time.

Todays Journey 4 miles, 11 locks in 2¾ hours

Wednesday 19 May 2021


 I was expecting more noise last night but we both slept well and woke to a bright sunny morning. Made our normal 10am start down the flight, the top lock was full unlike the rest. Progress was good but I did have my doubts below lock 4 which was well down, Diana was prepared to let a bit of water down if needed but I took it very slowly and made lock 5 without mishap.
The enlargement of Alexander stadium beside the lock is huge and coming along well, it has to be finished by next year as its the venue for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. It was too big to photograph so I shot a short Youtube video.

I said all the locks were empty, well it wasn't quite true, lock 8 was full and once we had drawn the bottom paddles the reason was obvious, I suspect the cill is full of rubbish. C&RT are now aware. 

I mentioned the sun, we were just leaving lock 10 and it chucked it down with hail so we stopped under College road bridge for a few minutes while it passed over. We carried on down the flight in pleasant weather. 
Following all the work on the M5  motorway where it straddles the canal they are now working on Spaghetti Junction wit scaffolding, plant and areas covered in.

It was just after this that we saw the first and only boat on the move, it was about to exit the Grand Union  canal at Salford Junction as we went by, they passed us latter when we were moored up, we did pass another boat moored outside the Boat in so its been another busy day. We moored for the night just before Wiggins Hill Bridge, Minworth. We normally moor by the Cuttlebridge Inn but thought this may be quieter. Although its fin and sunny now the wind keeps picking up above 20mph for short bursts.

Todays journey 8 Miles 16 locks in 5 hours

Lock 8


Tuesday 18 May 2021

Perry Barr Top Lock

 A very quiet night last night and during the afternoon two of the boats who had been on the cruise to Walsall with us moored behind us. For some reason we were about early today and the boats behind us set off down the flight at 8-30am. we moved forward and filled with water and then set off down the flight at 9.15am. The canal was still covered in green algae.
As we worked down lock 5 we could see the bottom gates open on both 6 and 7. Diana walked down to 7 and the boat ahead of us was just leaving, with a motorised copy of a butty coming up, so we waited above 6 for them. I think there is a good chance that lock 8 may be designated a SSSI in the not to distant future. 
It was then down to Rushall Junction and sharp left  onto the almost straight Tame Valley canal. As we approached the top of the locks we could see the boats ahead moored at the services at which point it started to rain. The two boats pulled away as we arrived to head off down the flight, luckily the second one spotted a foam mattress just floating below the surface in the mouth of the lock. With the aid of a couple of C&RT chaps who happened to be there it was dragged onto the lock side and the boat continued on its way. We have moored on the official 24 hour visitor moorings at the top of the lock, but they are positioned such that anything longer than 60 foot wont be able to enter of leave the top lock without us moving.

Todays Journey 5 miles, 9 locks in 3¼ hours`

Monday 17 May 2021

Longwood Boat club

 Heavy rain yesterday and overnight but fine this morning, we were away  about 10am. the first stop being Tesco at Brownhills. While Diana was in the shop I was down the weed hatch where I removed what I think was a black dog poo bag along with the other general rubbish.

Once Diana was back it was only a few hundred meters to Catshill Junction where we left the Wyrley & Essington canal and went onto the Daw End Branch, both the canal well covered in a green plant growth.

The weather was holding well and it was warming nicely, we passed this steel cutout of an angler mounted on a tall pole which so far has kept it away from the  low life who love to destroy things.

It wasn't long before it started drizzling which then turned into a full downpour, no time to get a coat on, so just the umbrella to keep me dry and it does work well. The journey to the Longwood Boat Club ended in better weather. 

Todays Journey 8.2 miles in 3¾ hours with no locks.

Sunday 16 May 2021

Pelsall Common

 Last night or moorings outside the basin were not the most physically secure, there was a nice heavy ring right at the stern but nothing at the bows so I drove a Vine peg into the joint of the bricks, the pin only has a 5mm hole so I had to put a loop of cord through it and secure the bow rope to that. We were fine all night because Christine was moored outside us, her boat is a bit longer than ours, so she was on our stern dolly and her bow to the boat ahead of us stern dolly, so we were trapped in. This morning when she left while I was in the shower the cord snapped and our bows drifted across the cut. The good point was the vine peg held so I think it was probably due to the sharp edges on it. So it was a quick half dry, some cloths on and put matters right, I decided the easiest thing to do would be to move off and reverse back to the C&RT pontoon at the end of the town arm and have breakfast there. Once breakfast was done we set off and joined the queue for the Walsall Locks. The BCNS had a couple of their members helping which speeded things a bit, but one boat breaking down just as he was about to enter the bottom lock didn't help. A couple of us bow hauled him in and also up the second lock while he played with his engine. He then pulled over and let others pass him until he was sorted just in front of us. Everyone mucked in and helped each other and things ran quite smoothly. At the top of the locks I pulled over and spent about half an hour down the weed hatch removing what felt like sail cloth but was probably some garment of sports wear. I couldn't identify it as I had to cut it up under the surface with a Stanly knife, Two chaps on Community Payback who were litter picking walked by just as I finished and added the spoil the their sack of rubbish. At least two other boat and a butty passed while I was doing this but at Birchills Junction they went left to Wolverhampton and we turned right to Pelsall Common. The journey was a bit slow as we caught up with an extremally slow boat and the last two miles were done at 1.8 mph. We had a couple of showers on the way and even met another boat, something I didn't expect before mooring on the Common. It wasn't long after we arrived it really started raining and since then we have also had thunder but its been bright all the time.

Finally a big thanks to the BCNS for organising things, this is the

Chairman on his boat and to Dave of the Bradley Arm Restoration
Society for his excellent guided walk up the line of the old navigation.  

Todays Journey 8 locks, 5¾ miles in 4½ hours

Saturday 15 May 2021

Walsall Basin

 At 10 am we all gathered for a walk up the Bradley Arm led by the chair of the Bradley Canal Restoration Society, Dave Pearson. We got to the end before it started to rain and walked back to the boat in showers. By the time we arrived back at the moorings some of the boats  had already set off, it just so happened that the people on the boat outside us and the people of Scorpio, the ex-working boat moored on the outside were also walking with us, so we were all able to set off at at 1245hrs. in the now steady rain.

We had a good but slow run with a couple of boats ahead or us getting badly fouled props, one so bad he was towed to Walsall basin and we then spent 2 hours helping him get a mattress off his prop
Last time we visited the route of old Bradley canal are there were lots of ponies tethered  with chains and left to graze the grassland, it seems the local Council have had them all rehomed, there also use to be some on the canal bank, but today we only saw this mare with foal. The canal is subject to graffiti  some  unofficial like this face on a  bridge and some professional which probably cost a lot of money like the one on the wall as you turn into the Walsall Town Arm.

Last time we came down the Walsall canal I sheared a brass hull penetration off the boat, this is what caused the problem, I got too close to the side and this hard steel edge chopped it off like a big chisel.
 The basin is now packed with boats and there are 7 of us outside on the arm.

5¾ miles no locks in 2¾ hours

Friday 14 May 2021

Moorcroft Junction

 A nice quiet night in Tipton as usual, we were away early for us this mooring at about 8.30am. Sefton followed us and Barley Wine slipped out of the long term moorings between us. A hard right at Factory Junction and down the Factory locks. We chugged along the New Main Line passed Caggys boatyard where this interesting shaped hull was sitting on the hard.

C&RT have put one of their nice big blue signs up opposite Dudley Port railway station for people arriving by train to see. We carried on to Pudding Green junction where it was very sharp left up the Wednesbury Old Canal to the 8 Riders Green locks where we met a boat comming up the flight. A couple of the BCNS members were assisting at the locks which was handy as there were a few single handers coming down later. We passed under the new Meter Link bridge, this was only installed on Wednesday night. and on to Moorcroft Junction, there were already 3 boats there when we arrived  but we got the lucky spot moored to the 4 bollards, everyone else is moored yo a short piece of threaded rod glued into a hole in the masonry. As I write this we have over 20 boats here moored 3 deep.

Now the bad news, the I Pad failed to record the journey and the phone which is 11 months old decided to die so the route is hand drawn.
Todays journey 6 miles 11 locks in 4 hours

Thursday 13 May 2021


 Weather Report, we woke up and it was raining so we were in no rush to get away. It was heading for 11 before we set off, at least it wasn't raining in the tunnel, At the foot of Cobbs Engine Bridge there is this concrete marker, well I am guessing its a marker, but what dose it mark?
The tunnel was reasonably dry until a neared the far end when we encounter a few very heavy drips. Just beyond the tunnel is the Tividale Aqueduct carrying the old main line, we will be crossing that later. At one time Netherton Tunnel was light by electric lights, the power source was a turbine driven generator taking water from the aqueduct and discharging it into the canal by the central aqueduct support. both the supply pipes and the discharge are still present, I wonder it the turbine is still in the building?

Also at the aqueduct are two cast iron pieces, now painted white, one on each channel, would they have been rollers or hinges for barriers to close off the canal if they used the central section as a toll island.

At the end of the tunnel branch we turned right onto the New Main Line at Dudley Port Junction and went down as far as Albion Junction where we turned right again up the Gower Branch and up through the three Brades locks, it looks as if someone has decided to dispose of their old cannabis plants and growing medium along here. Up at Brades Hall Junction we turned right yet again to complete the square following the Old Main Line over the Tividale Aqueduct  and on towards Tipton. Since we were last this way some one has pinched Coneygree Railway bridge. 
The Coots around hear look to have had a very good breading season and we saw some sitting on eggs with some very large chicks keeping them company, we also saw lot of very young ones being cared for by their parents.

I was rather taken by the way one of the houses had painted the toilet vent pipe on the back of their house, I have never seen the likes of it before.
In Tipton a couple have boats have set up a small floating Market against the towpath, we stopped for water at the park and then continued through to moor by the Fountain pub, since we have been here we have been joined by several other boats.

Todays Journey 6 miles, 3 locks in 2¾ hours. 

Wednesday 12 May 2021

Windmill End


 Hi nb. Chuffed we moored right at the top of the locks on the left hand side right on the T junction, next time we come this way we will go a bit further and try mooring at Farmers Bridge as there is a Fish and Chip shop there.

Map from Waterways Routes

Well the weather was much better today even if the geese did wake us at 4am with their honking. A couple of boats went by before we set off and we caught up with one of them at Blowers Green Lock and later saw them moored at Windmill End. If you look at the map at the bottom of the page you can see there was once a short cut to save going all the way to Parkhead lock and back highlighted in yellow. The is one end of it, there is a similar bridge at the other end.

  We passed an angler who had caught a good size bream, I could see his taught line and bending  rod so stopped until such time as he could land it. A little further on we passed under this high bridge, It was at one time a tunnel through a large piece of rock known as Brewins Tunnel opened in 1838 to cut off the originally horseshoe loop of canal that they dug when they came up against the rock, this is also visible on the map below.

We chugged on to Windmill End Junction where we turned right down to Hawne Basin as after 12 days with both the engine and heating we needed a bit of diesel and also empty the toilet tank. Not far down the canal you come to a gauging island but as well as boating through the gauging section you can also boat right round it which seems strange, maybe someone can offer more information on it.

As we approached Gosty Hill tunnel when it started to rain so the brolly was put into use for a few hundred yards before entering the under world. There is quite a bit of floating debris in the first quarter of the tunnel but after that it was clear. Needless to say when we came back into daylight it was raining harder, but again after a few hundred meters later it stopped . A goose thought it would be a good idea to lay her eggs on a bricked up doorway, I don't think it really gives her room a nest.

Down at Hawne Basin we turned into the basin through the quite small entrance bridge, I can swing in with our boat but I thing anything much longer would need to back into the winding hole first. Dee saw us arrive and was soon out to look after our needs, filling one tank and emptying the other, I had just paid my dues when Pat and Sheila complete with dog walked round and took up residence on out bench seat so we could catch up on the past 12 months. It was 3pm  before we said our goodbyes and headed back onto the cut, the plan was to moor just outside  the basin, but as it was now blue sky's and bright sunshine we decided to head back to Windmill End, on the way we passed this Black Country cast plaque, this is the best condition one we have seen, most have suffered at the hands of the spray can cowboys 

Back at Windmill Junction we dropped back about 50 Meters to moor on the visitor moorings for the night.

Todays journey 10.2 miles, 1 lock in 4¾ hours

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Merry Hill Shopping Complex

 Thanks Mike for leaving a comment on yesterdays Blog , you are of course right and last night I could only think of the Norfolk name Crome https://www.yourdictionary.com/crome, the name Keb, as used on the canals completely escaped me.

We were all set to get going at 10am this morning and it started to rain so we stayed put a little longer finally leaving at quarter to eleven, I still need a coat on after  a short time as we have had short showers all day. Our luck was in and we met a boat about half a mile below the locks so when we arrived every chamber was empty, just a matter of walking ahead and opening bottom gates before we enter. The whole flight took us just on an hour as I photographed the old BWB signs at both the bottom and the top of the flight I knew how long the assent took.  This resulted in  todays cruise being much shorter than planned at just 2 hours, not enough to recharge the  batteries.

If you look back down the Delph flight from the tail of lock one, standing under the Nine Lock Bridge you can see where the route of the canal use to run to the left rejoining the present navigation just above the bottom lock before the flight was realigned in 1858, doing this removed 7 locks to be replaced by only 6 new ones, hence the nine became eight. What I can't find out is why this was done, a lot of work to save one lock.

 The old line is also visible on the map below. After leaving the flight is was not far to our moorings just above the merry Hill shopping complex.

2.7 miles 8 locks in 2 hours