Monday, 14 June 2010

Back to the BCN

Saturday 29th June 2010
Birmingham Canal Navigations

24 locks - 17 miles - 11 hours

We woke early and were on the move by 6.00am with a leaden sky cloaking a cold and chilly landscape. The plan was to get to a private mooring in Symphony Court that evening so the overnight locking of the Wolverhampton 21 delayed our movements and was a bit of a pain.

Terry the terrapin

We arrived at the foot of the flight at 7.15am and waited for the arrival of BW as the rain gathered pace. As we waited nb Chief rolled up behind us bearing a single hander, also wanting to rise up into the city. True to their word BW turned up at 7.30 on the dot and helped us into the 1st chamber.

FMC offices in Wolverhampton

Oh how it rained. It poured without let up all the way to Tipton, forcing us to don full waterproofs. We made slow and rather ponderous progress setting no records but we made time to pause for a bacon butty at Crown Cafe half way, just below the incinerator.

BW are clearly being careful with water and some pounds were rather low. We finally squelched into Wolverhampton basin at 10.30, rescuing a baby terrapin from the top lock. In the absence of a better idea we deposited him in a weedy bank and hoped he would survive.

Under the M5

We arrrived shivering and wet into the Black Country Museum in time for lunch of chips as we warmed ourselved by the stove. Great weather for a bank holiday!

The beautiful Engine Arm Aqueduct

The rain eased as we made our way along the Old Main Line, casting a sad eye at the Titford flight which we didn't have time to explore. We did have time for a bit of a mooch around the Engine Arm Aqueduct, my all time favourite and to examine the ever reducing remains of the Smethwick Tollhouse. This has now been reduced to a roofless, windowless and doorless shell and I have no doubt that the remaining bricks will find themselves in the lock before the year is out.

Wand'ring Bark at Symphony Court

We moored up at Nick and Vicky's house in Symphony Court where we were treated to indian nibbles, beer and best of all, a hot shower to warm our chilled bones. Guys - if you read this, thanks. It was great to see you again.

That would normally be the end of the day but I decided to go on a late night photographic expedition in and around Gas St. That proved to be quite an experience and justifies a post of its own.


BigJohn said...

May Bank Holiday?
June 29th?
Have you met Dr Who?

Captain Ahab said...

Big John
The thing was that we were navigating the Neath and Tennant canal, pre closure, when we encountered a fracture in the space time continuum and suddenly found ourselves transported to Wolverhampton top lock. That probably explains the terrapin as well! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you had enough water - the early closing times on the BCN locks sounds like a right pain.

Sue, Indigo Dream