Thursday 29 February 2024

Windmill End

Last night we ate on board, just as well as it rained most of the evening and woke me several times in the night.
This morning was fine but overcast and not particularly cold. We had a boat chug by just before we set off to Factory Junction where we turned sharp right to go down the 3 Factory Locks.  For many years there was a narrowboat sitting in the yard by the top lock, since they have left the level of vandalism and fly tipping looks pretty horrendous. DSCF8949

The old Gauging Station is well on the way to being wrecked with half the roof now destroyed as well as the lean to building at the end. Another historic building left to rot. The top lock was against us but the other two were full and a passing dog walker kindly opened the gate on the bottom lock.
There is a sunken boat at right angles to the towpath a short way north of Caggy’s yard, its completely underwater. We carried on to Dudley Port Junction were we turned right  and headed towards Netherton tunnel. I stopped at the entrance and did a bit of gardening to the brambles that were hanging down from the parapet so hopefully now no one will get one in their face. Needless to say we were the only boat in the tunnel and once clear we made our way to the water point at the end of the visitor centre, would you believe there was already a boat there, we have seen 4  boats on the move all week and we  get to the water point and its in use. We didn’t have to wait long until he was finished. Once our tank was full we moved to the other side of the canal to moor for the night.

Todays Journey image

4¼ miles, 3 locks in 2½ hours

Wednesday 28 February 2024


Last night as we were in Birmingham it had to be an Indian Restaurant, our second visit to Barajee which is situated on Broad Street tunnel.
We set off at our normal 10am and within minutes it started raining. As you can see we were the onlyDSCF8943boat moored down here. As we passed the gym the fire  alarm was sounding and all these bodies in tight clothing spilled out onto the towpath and made their way to the assembly point, I bet they soon felt the chill in the air.We made our way round the Oozells Loop and out onto the main line heading towards Tipton.
The view that the new houses had on the Icknield Loop had of the Main Line has now gone as they are building a 6 story block right in front of them. I wonder how many knew that was coming.  DSCF8944

We continued up the New Main Line passing under the Engine Arm aqueduct. DSCF8947As we passed Spon Lane junction the rain stopped which was nice. At Albion junction we turned left and up the three Brades Hall locks where it really started to rain. Since we were last this way a new building has appeared in the grounds of the Hindu Shri Venkatesware Temple. As soon as we cleared the locks and turned right on the Old Main Line the rain stopped. Continuing on or way we turner right at Tipton Junction, left would have taken us to the Dudley Tunnel and the Black Country Museum, lots of people rate the moorings there, but we find the road noisy. As we approached Owen Street bridge I could see some canoes approaching from the opposite direction, but they turned and pulled to the side so I continued on through slowly and passed them, there were 4 canoes lashed together in pairs for extra stability. Our destination was only just past them on the left hand side outside the health centre.

Here is a map of our total journey this year

Todays Journeyimage

3 Locks, 9 miles in 3¼ hours

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Birmingham Oozells St Loop

  During my efforts down the weed hatch yesterday I dropped my Stanley knife, I had a dabble with the magnet but no luck. This morning I pulled the boat forward a bit and eventually I was able to spot it on the canal bed. I had to drop the magnet right on to it to catch it and then it fell off as I lifted it. Another try and reaching into the water to get hold of it I had it back. This delayed our departure by about ¼ of a hour.
Not much luck with the locks as every one was against us. Our original plan was to moor for the night outside the University on the Digbeth Branch but we were at Aston Junction within an hour so decided to head up Farmers Bridge flight and into Birmingham. Every time we come this way the view is different with all the building going on.DSCF8941

Even the existing buildings now look different with the old cladding all removed and the new installed, all the scaffolding and temporary supports have gone and its looking quite smart again.DSCF8942

Once clear of the locks we made our way straight across Old Turn junction and down the Oozells Loop where to our surprise there was no one moored.
We had a bit of lunch before I set to doing an oil and filter change, I also checked the water in the batteries and found a couple of cells low so I think its time to consider some new ones.

Todays Journeyimage

2 Miles, 21 locks in 3hours

Monday 26 February 2024

Aston between locks 9 and 8 Birmingham

Not so cold last night but no where as warm today with a cool breeze, but no rain so all is good. Actually at times it was quite bright and pleasant.DSCF8935

Away at the normal 10am. the boat behind had already gone, however we met a boat at lock two of the Minworth flight so that eased us on our way. All the paddle gear on the Minworth flight has been freshly greased, all the rest we have done have been as dry as a bone. One thing I never noticed before is the iron work on the lock side by the top gates, I guess it was to take the wear when the boatmen didn’t get it quite right coming in. DSCF8936

I fund the structure of the Old Kingsbury Road bridge just above the lock quite interesting but hard to capture with the camera.DSCF8934

I stopped under Tyburn bridge while Diana visited Aldi and I took the opportunity to clear the prop of a large piece of cloth while she was gone.
I have asked several times about the factory over the canal near Troutpool bridge but never had that much information, it looks a recent construction, so did they close the canal to build it? the canal was still in commercial use as there are mooring rings by the sealed up doorways.
It was then on to Salford Junction were we took the second turn keeping on the B&F canal. I expected to see a notice here telling me the way straight ahead was closed at Perry Bar locks, but nothing. We just went up 3 locks planning to moor on the offside by the London School of Science and Technology but the only mooring was outside the building with a café and the aircon makes a real racket so we passed under Rocky Road bridge on the towpath side. Once moored I delved back into the weed hatch removing an Ikea bag and other rubbish, I also managed to drop my Stanley knife to the bottom of the canal whilst cutting it all off.

Todays Journey image

6¾miles, 6 locks in 3½ hours

Sunday 25 February 2024


What a night last night, clear sky, no wind and a full moon, when I got up to go to the loo I thought it was morning, just like daylight. The down side to such a clear sky was the temperature dropped below -2°C and was still at freezing point when we got up.
During the evening I booked a table for Sunday Lunch at the Dog and Doublet so we only had 3 locks to do this morning, setting off at our normal 10am. One of the boats ahead had already left and the first lock was against us. Like yesterday it was bright and sunny.DSCF8929

The next 2 locks must leak badly as they were both empty when we arrived, so it only took us ¾ hour from leaving to mooring outside the pub.
I  had a card to post and there is a post box by the old Chapel at Bodymoor Heath, almost opposite is Bridge House, This was once a pub as it still has a large wall painting on one corner. It closed in late 1960’s image  DSCF8930   



After a pleasant Sunday lunch and just a half of TT we were on the move again up the flight. By now the weather had turned dull and a lot cooler, unlike yesterday afternoon. The locks were all over the place, some full, some empty and some somewhere in between. The doesn’t look to have been much of a change at the HS2 crossing and being Sunday no activity at all. We didn’t see another boat on the move all day. Once we cleared the locks and spoke to the very cheery fishermen we passed through Curdworth tunnel and moored for the night about half way to the Cuttle Bridge Inn at Knightley, Minworth.

Todays Journey image

3½ miles, 11 locks in 3 hours

Saturday 24 February 2024

Curdworth Bottom Lock

We had a good drive from home to the boat, we left in mist and headlights on and arrived in bright sunshine. It was 4°C when we left home and double figures when we arrived at the moorings.
The first job was to get the water system refiled, I drained it before leaving the boat which was just as well as the temperature inside the boat fell to -4°C of course I don’t know how long it was cold for. Next job fire the Dickinson and see if the engine would start, success, first time. By now Diana had unloaded the car and sorted lunch.
We set off at ten past two, turning left as we left the marina, We didn’t see a boat on the move  until we reached Glascote Locks where the boat ahead kindly drew the paddles for us as they left the lock speeding us on our way, we were able to thank him as he moored just before Fazeley junction. As I entered the junction under bridge a boat was coming towards us from Fradley, I indicated I was turning left but they kept coming on that side to get under the bridge I was in, eventually they stopped and I was able to cross their bows and go up the Birmingham and Fazeley canal, they in turn could pass under the bridge I was sitting under. We stopped to top up with water just outside Fazeley Mill marina. For those that are interested the base price of their diesel is £1-20 at the moment.  Once full we carried on the spring like weather to moor for the night just below Curdworth bottom lock, we are moored behind two other boats, maybe they wont set off moments before us in the morning.


Todays Journeyimage

6½ miles, 2 locks in 3 hours