Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Gloucester 2010 - Tipton to Calf Heath

Tipton to Calf Heath
31 August 2010

15 miles - 21 locks - 7 hours

No matter how many times we pass this way I still love the return from the Black Country Museum. It has a bit of everything: urban canals, a tunnel, locks, a junction or four and finally some lovely countryside as we approach base.

BCN at Coseley

As luck would have it, the weather was the best of the trip with clear blue skies and temperatures which caused us to stop and change into shorts part way down the Wolverhampton 21.

Costa del Wolverhampton

We set no speed records on this journey and were happy to trundle along. A boat was descending the 21 ahead of us to we followed in their wake, refilling each lock before us and as we had the extra crew member, sometimes wandering ahead to set the locks for the first boat.

Abandoned wharf cranes

At the foot of the locks we met Jeff, a canal enthusiast who enjoys helping boats up and down the lock flights into Birmingham. When the boat in front told me that there was a "bloke at the lock who has set it for them and seemed to know what he was doing" I suspected I would see a familiar face. Of course, we were just leaving the flight so his assistance was limited to just the one lock - but thanks anyway Jeff.

New towpath access point in Wolverhampton

On other point of interest in Wolverhampton. The canal is particularly inaccessible in Wolverhampton due to high bridges with no paths down. This is being addressed and in two locations ramps and gates are being build to improve access and allow more foot traffic onto the towpath. Sounds like a good idea.

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