Monday 25 July 2022

Home moorings

We set off at 9-30 this morning and no sooner had I sprung off to the far side of the canal, there were two boats moored between us and the bridge, a boat appeared the other side of the bridge, well two of them actually.
For those of you have been around the canal for some years you may remember a little shop in a garden shed , canal side called Canal Crafts on the Coventry canal. It closed down many years ago although you can still find the odd sign pointing to it the house is now being redeveloped.DSCF6929

A little further on, just before the moorings they are carrying out some major work on the overhead power cables.DSCF6931

After meeting the two boats just after we set off we didn’t meat any more boats all the way back to the marina.

The whole trip.image

Today’s Journeyimage

2¼ miles, no locks in just 1 hour.

Saturday 23 July 2022

Glascote Visitor Moorings

Last night we ate in the Dog and Doublet as they do Chinese food 4 nights a week and can recommend it. A bit boringly we both had the same main course, One Pot Malaysian Lamb Curry, and it was full of good meat. As we left the pub it was raining but we had taken a brolly with us.
This morning we woke to a fine, warm morning, back to our normal 10am start as no rush to get anywhere, we followed a Canal Time boat down the last 3 locks of the flight, we have seen very few boats going up, most have been coming down. I said yesterday that when we took on water it was warm, so today we decided to jettison the lot and refill with fresh water outside Fazeley Mill Marina, it also gave us the opportunity to buy a couple of ice creams. The tap outside the marina has just been repaired and the threaded outlet is smaller that most CRT water taps, luckily I carry a set of reducers so not a problem for us.
Once that was sorted it was a slow chug to Fazeley junction and then up the Glascote Locks, as we approached a boat was leaving the bottom lock and as we locked up, another boat entered the top lock to come down, good result all round. We only went as far as the 48hr moorings above Glascote locks and moored up for the night.

Todays Journeyimage 5¼ miles, 5 locks in 4 hours.

Friday 22 July 2022

Dog and Doublet, Curdworth

We had about ¼” of rain last night but it’s been fine all day today. We set off at 9am. backwards as usual down to Salford Junction and then along the Birmingham and Fazeley canal towards Fazeley.Minworth top lock was empty but as we were about to leave a boat came towards us so it looked good for the other two. We stopped for water just below the lock but couldn’t get the tap to run cold so we will make a point of not drinking it until we can refill the tank. At Minworth middle a boat had just turned the lock as we arrived so bit of a delay there then the bottom lock was empty when we arrived.
We continued on to the Curdworth flight, the traffic along the motorway was very slow with the exception of the fire engine and Rescue  unit speeding along the hard shoulder, I think there may have been a couple of ambulances as well.
When we passed here last week there was just a cement lorry on site, all this has appeared in less than a week.DSCF6924

This was the same view last week.DSCF6815
We arrived at Curdworth top lock to find it empty so things not looking too good work wise, but as we were leaving a boat came towards us, but stopped at the water point, so we closed up behind us. The rest of the locks should have all been full, but 4 out of the 8 locks we have done in the flight have been faulty so the levels were all over the place. At one lock this little chap was sat on the towpath, but mum was just in the hedgerow and came and joinedDSCF6925 him after Diana had passed, but she soon beetled off and left him alone again.DSCF6926

We met one more boat coming out of lock 8 and while we were in the lock Diana nipped down to see if there were any moorings free in the next pound. The answer was a thumbs up so we locked down and moored just before the pub where we plan to have a Chinese meal tonight.

Todays Journeyimage

10 miles 11 locks in 4¾ hours

Thursday 21 July 2022

Star City, Nechells

Well overnight it rained and this morning there was lots of noise outside, They moor all the electric boat round here and I thought it was them doing something but they were actually pressure washing all the paving, no goose poo today. Yesterday evening they pressure washed the walls, thankfully they didn’t make any mess on the boat. As it continued to rain and we were in no hurry to get anywhere we stayed put for the morning, The ex-working boat Swift came round the loop twice, first time empty and second with a load of passengers under umbrellas, unfortunately he failed to make the turn both times putting another dint in the wall.DSCF6907

The rain finally stopped at about 1-30pm and everyone one had the same idea, the boat moored ahead of us backed out through the junction and down to the roundabout before heading through Gas Street, 2 hire boats left their mooring from outside the NIA and followed him, we backed out and went down the Farmers Bridge flight. Lots of new cladding has been fitted to the buildings on the offside but there is still a lot of work ongoing.DSCF6909

We met a boat between 5 and 6 so all the rest of the locks were full and another boat just below lock 11.
Down at Aston Junction there was a share boat conveniently moored on the lock moorings having lunch, the up side was all the  Aston locks were full. I have never seen the pound so full before, DianaDSCF6912 got a wet foot as I came into the lock.Lots of water going down the bywashes, but it disappeared before it reached the bottom of the flight. Part was down I could see they were dismantling one of the old gasometers, I don’t know if its being scrapped or preserved.DSCF6916

We had planned to moor in the long pound between 8 and 9 on the offside, but we met yet another boat who said the 9 to 10 pound was very low, so we knew if it was bad now it would be impassable in the morning so we decided to plod on. A good move because as we went I scraped the bottom several times and had problems getting out of lock 9 having to wait for the level to settle and lift me off the bottom.DSCF6917

When we got to lock 10 it was empty but the canal seems a bit deeper just here and even with Diana drawing a bit of water to fill it I stayed afloat, of course the levels below this were fine, but very little water flowing compared to the top.
There are no longer any visitor moorings at Cuckoo Wharf, the old signages was very confusing as to where they were supposed to be.Now its quite clear.


Down at Salford Junction we turned very hard right, out onto the B&F and then up the GU to Star City for the night, Tomorrow we will reverse to the junction and head off down the B&F.

This is the last time I will update the map of our total journey as tomorrow we will just be retracing our steps from when we set off.image

Todays Journey image

3½ miles 24 locks in 4½ hours

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Birmingham Oozells Street Loop

What a difference a day makes, after the heat of the past two days, today I nearly put and extra shirt on with the cool breeze blowing down the cut.
The first boat went by before we were up and while we were sitting on the front deck having breakfast a hire boat came slowly by, so slowly that we finished breakfast, cleared away, set off and still caught up with them half way through the tunnel. Thankfully they pulled over for water just north of the tunnel, but what do you expect from 6 lads on a hire boat.
It was nice to see that work is actually taking place at the Kings Norton Toll House, maybe they weren't there yesterday due to the heat.DSCF6896 (2)
I approached the works opposite Sainsbury's, a good job I did as there were three men in the water removing the metal dam supports.DSCF6897

They are still working on University Station, its a massive building with a large footbridge across the canal and an enclosed walkway over the railway lines, what you can’t see in the photo are the long covered platforms.DSCF6901

All the boats were still moored at Edgbaston with tables and chairs set out on the grass. No chance mooring at Holiday Wharf as there were already boats there, but as normal the wind was blowing strongly, it really does funnel the wind. A load of canoes passed across the end before we got there heading for the Mail Box, well out of our way. Its a guided canoe tour from the Round House details HERE which looks a fun way to see Birmingham.
There was no one moored in Gas Street at all but  we did pass the new electric day boats, I don’t know how old the boats are but some have quite a few scuffs along the hulls. We also met 4 full length trip boats, including the restaurant boat.DSCF6903

Our target was round behind the Sea Life Centre in the Oozells Street loop and we were pleased to find only one small boat moored there, so that’s us sorted for the night. CRT volunteers are hard at work gardening in front of The Arena, not sure who’sDSCF6904Arena it is this week as it seems to keep changing owners. Not only where there volunteers but also loads of police officers, I saw at least 10 of them.

The journey this trip so far on Google Maps

Todays Journeyimage 8¼ miles, no locks in 3 hours.

Tuesday 19 July 2022

Hopwood, South Wast Hills tunnel

Yesterday be moved the boat twice to find shade, first time from Symphony Gardens to Gas Street, then after we had been out for dinner , from Gas Street round to Holiday wharf which was empty. There were three reasons for this, les footfall passed the boat, more breeze (holiday Wharf is like a wind tunnel) and to fill with water.
We finally decided to eat at Bar Estilo with some lovely food but the beer was £6-20 a pint.
This morning  we were off at 8-30 again, I wanted to look at the work that has been carried out opposite Sainsbury's for the Lapel Canal winding hole. Its nice to see they are installing mooring bollards, I hope they make them very short term moorings, like 2 hours and then they will be ideal for shopping, not 2 days or more.DSCF6891

We have seen more boat on the move today than I think we have seen in the rest of the trip, 8  in total. It wasn’t long before we were heading through Edgbaston tunnel, this was originally wide enough for two boats to pass but a few years back it was narrowed to make the towpath wider so the bikes didn’t need to slow down, it’s now classed as being 7 foot wide, as you can see it runs parallel to the railway tunnel.DSCF6885

Just along a bit from the tunnel by the winding hole there were 15 boats moored in the shade of the trees, I have never seen more than a couple here before.DSCF6887

Then it was passed Sainsbury's and the work ongoing there, it looks as id the dam is now fully submerged, I don’t know when they plan to pull the steel out.DSCF6889

  There doesn’t looked to be much progress at the toll house at Kings Norton Junction, its still completely clad in scaffolding and film.DSCF6892

We decided to carry on down the Worcester and Birmingham canal for a bit. I must say it was very pleasant in Wast Hill Tunnel with the occasional lightDSCF6894cool shower even is we did meat two boat, the first with a LED headlight. It would seem that not only do CRT ‘s sign department not have a spell checker they also don’t have a calculator looking at the length, speed and time.DSCF6893

Once clear of the tunnel we carried on for 20 minutes to the winding hole to turn, and then retraced our route almost the the south portal of the tunnel where there was a bit of shade.

Our route to date on Google maps, please click the map to open it. We should close the ring in a couple of days.image

Today’s Journeyimage


8¾ miles, no locks in 3½ hours.


DSCF6882 (3)




Monday 18 July 2022

Birmingham, Gas Street.

We set off at 8-30 this morning to avoid the forecast heat, we had just pushed off and a boat came round the corner towards us, so I was unable to slide straight into the channel where there were no weeds, so I had a blade full before I had done 200 yards, thankfully most of it cleared with a couple of blasts of backwards.
A nice new  deck has been installed on Coneygree rail bridge  since we were last this way, I am guessing its for the tram and not a train.DSCF6870

We didn’t meet any more boats until we got to Birmingham. The Old Main Line must be the ideal canal in this weather travelling under the M5 motorway.DSCF6872

A lot of construction work going on beside Spon Lane Junction with drilling machines and other plant.DSCF6873

Out in the sun again for a bit until we went into Summit Tunnel, the south entrance is guarded byDSCF6875 this chap, a little further along there is a bird keeping an eye on things. I don’t know how long they have been there but the graffiti brigade havent DSCF6878found them yet. Talking of graffiti, is this graffiti or is it art, a short way back from where we are DSCF6882moored tonight, CRT seem to look upon it as art and even put a plaque and QR code up.DSCF6882 (2)

Due to the weather forecast we decided to put Harnser into summer cruising mode, I do suffer with the sun even though I do go a very dark brown and don’t burn.DSCF6880

Approaching Smethwick new locks you can see the line of the original locks going off to the left. There were two flights in parallel at one time when traffic was heavy.DSCF6879

Some time ago the BCNS completely cleared the toll islands of vegetation, its now back with a vengeance and needs tackling again.DSCF6881

We moored in Birmingham at Symphony Court as it looked a bit shady at 12-30 but as the afternoon went on it was in full sun, however by now Gas Street was in the shade so we moved round there. It was quite empty when we arrived as you can see from the photo but now we have boats both sides of us.

Our route to date on Google Maps

Todays Journeyimage 8¾ Miles, 3 locks in 3½ hours

Sunday 17 July 2022

Tipton, John the Lock moorings

It was a good mooring last night, the outside seating at the pub was busy until mid evening which just left two ladies on the table closest to us to constantly chatter loudly until closing time, not sure how they managed to drink their wine.
I did hear some voices around 3am. but all was fine. Here are the moorings, we were on the left hand side next to the pub.DSCF6855

I always like to take a photo passing under this stainless steel arch bridge, I am not sure if it has a DSCF6856practical purpose or just an art work, if it is just art then its one of the best I have seen on the system, this is a more distant view.DSCF6858

We managed to get all the way to the Community Moorings by the junction without fouling the propDSCF6860 and then just passed the moorings we picked it all up in the last 200 yards.
At Horseley Field Junction we turned to the left towards Birmingham. The going was much easier now with deeper water and we made much better progress. It wasn’t long before we passed the old rail interchange yard with its overhead traveling crane, I am quite surprised that it is still surviving but sadly slowly decaying. What history is being lost.DSCF6862

I think CRT must have been cutting the weed down the Bradley Arm as there was an awful lot of it floating on the surface slowly making its way towards Wolverhampton DSCF6865We were soon at Coseley tunnel, CRT have the headroom down as a couple of meters on their information boards, I wonder where they bought their tape measures.DSCF6867

Leaving this tunnel is one of the few places that I have stoned and when you look back its ideal for the little angles, with nice low walls to hide behind so you can’t photograph them and a good escape route it the hill if required.DSCF6868

As we approached Factory Junction I had to hold back as there was a boat coming round from the old main line, the first we have seen today, at the junction just before we turned to the right I could see another working their way up Factory locks, it was a hire boat and they passed us just after we had moored up John the Looks moorings outside the health centre. There is no shade here but with zero footfall we can have all the hatches wide open.

Our journey to date on Google Maps

Todays Journeyimage

6¼ miles, no locks in 2¾ hours.