Explorer Cruise A 2014
Each year BCNS facilitates two guided tours of the backwater canals of Birmingham and The Black Country, better known as the once mighty Birmingham Canal Navigations.
Moorcroft Moorings at capacity
Its a remarkable to see a convoy of 20 or so narrowboats threading their way around the remaindered sections of the Northern BCN, their crews becoming inspired by the diversity of these remote and underused waterways. Its even more remarkable to approach the "moorings" at Moorcroft Junction packed with boats resting three abreast under the blue skies of summers day. If I am honest the Walsall Canal almost looked beautiful - almost!
The big thanks go the the Sharratts who host these annual pilgrimages but we all like to do our bit to sing the praises of these underused waterways. My contribution is to provide a guided tour of a fragment of the abandoned canals, taking the group beyond some of those mysterious blocked bridge holes and showing them a glimpse of what used to be, and hopefully adding an extra historical dimension to the region which you can only get by walking the line and feeling the cinders beneath your feet.
This year it was a walk up the Bradley Locks Branch, a visit to the lock gate factory and then a walk back along the line of Gospel Oak / Dumaresq Branch taking in some liquid sustenance at the Gospel Oak along the way.
All in all it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Five hours in the company of BCN enthusiasts visiting some of my favourite haunts and seeing the usually deserted canal brought to vibrant life.
Thank you for letting me share a of the abandoned network with you.