Thursday, 14 October 2010

Tales from Tipton Pt1

Tales from Tipton
10 October 2010

This was the weekend of Mr Hamstones 50th birthday celebration, or more accurately this was the weekend when Mr Hamstone took up my offer of a trip into Tipton via his native Wolverhampton.

Wolverhampton bottom lock

We were away from the marina by 9.30am, heading west on an overcast Saturday and turning into the bottom of the Wolverhampton at 11.30am. Amazingly, we were the first boat through and all the locks were set in our favour, a state of affairs that led to a record breaking 1 hour 55 minute ascent and we found ourselves pulling into the BW waterpoint a mere two hours after leaving the Staffs and Worcester.

This proved to be a fascinating trip through Wolverhampton, with Mr Hamstone explaining what used to exist then he was a boy 40 years ago. Where I saw wastelands and concrete pads he saw gassworks, power stations, steelworks and foundaries. He had walked the towpath every day in the 1970's and here there was a pipe spouting great gouts of steaming water and there a doorway which revealed factories employing thourands of men toiling over molten steel like a scene from Dante's Inferno. It was a magical mystery tour into the area's history - far better than any book.

This rapid progress through the Wolverhampton 21was balanced out by some particularly slow movement out to Coseley. The canal bed weed is dying off and has floated to the surface making areas of thick Srargasso Sea, blown into rafts by string winds. These sections of canal persisted for 100 metres or more which made the "rev up and drift through" approach rather difficult. In the event we made no less than six trips down the weed hatch, clearing handfuls of thicky woody weed which formed great balls twisted onto the propshaft. 

Wolverhampton Sargasso
I don't think we were ever really free of weed but as we were making some progress we kept on, finally limping into Tipton with a vibrating transmission. A final trip down the hatch revealed a shirt loosely enveloping the blades. A problem quickly solved with the offending article consigned to the nearby skip.

Moore 2 Life

Ann and Chas Moore
A look around the Black Country Museum moorings revealed Chas and Ann of Moore 2 Life tied up opposite. I had been looking at their galley iimprovements on line and was given an opportunity to view the quality finish first hand.
The day ended with a near obligatory trip to Mad O'Rourkes where we sampled the ales and the steaks - both of which were up to their usual standard.

1 comment:

Bogwoppit said...

Ahh Mad O Rourkes, great pies nice real ales. Make a point of visiting every time we visit the area, mostly in March April for the BCN (WRG) clean up.