Thursday, 8 August 2013

A walk with Ray Shill

Ray Shill in Walsall
1 August 2013

Ray is, without doubt, one of Birmingham's leading authorities on the history of the BCN, He has written book after book on the subject and every year he undertakes a guided walk for those interested under the guise of the BCN Society.

Ray expands with Martin lending an ear

After a couple of failed attempts in previous years I finally caught up with Ray as he headed off from Walsall Town Basin and headed up the Walsall Locks, sharing a detailed historical context as he went. I was in the company of about 30 like minded enthusiasts who produced a steady stream of questions which stretched even Mr Shill's extensive knowledge to the limit at times.

Q&A's at Walsall top lock

Ray's knowledge is near encyclopedic and it puts my lightweight familiarity with the network to shame. That said, I have never claimed to be a historian - more of a geographer with a liking to get my boots on wanting a historical context when I view today's remains.

 Albion Mill and journey's end.

All in all a great couple of hours in the company of some great individuals - including Mr Denny of Waterways World and Martin, one of my regular relief skippers.

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