Monday, 13 July 2015

A long and winding road

A trip down the Curley Wyrley
July 2015

Our trip to Kings Norton festival hit a snag even before we had started. 

There are three alternative routes :

1. The direct route down to Salford Junction and back up the farmers bridge. Very short but with the better part of 40 locks - about 12 hours.

2. The less direct route via Ryders Green which is longer but has 17 locks - about 9 hours

3. The long way using the Wyrley and Essington via v Wolverhampton - only 3 locks but 17 hours.

Pelsall Common at dawn

No guessing which route we wanted - but Ryders Green top lock was closed with a split balance beam. As I was to be single handed for the day the Salford Junction option was impossible. Nothing for it but to hit the W&E and settle in for a long haul, literally.

Watch out in Harden!

I teed myself up on Wednesday evening by moving the boats to Walsall Wood and then it was up and away at 5.00am - so I was cruising into Sneyd before 10.00am. The sun shone and the boats gluided over gin clear water, fish flitting in and out of the weeds beneath me. During the 10 hours I was on the W&E I passed just one other moving boat, and then was right at the end. That's not to say there are no boats, only last week I found myself behind Atlas and Malus as they made their slow way home from Longwood Festival.

The W&E is a canal of many parts and most of them surprisingly pleasant, especially the section from Longwood to Bloxwich.

Pidgeon at Sneyd

But my trip didn't end at Wolverhampton. I pressed on to Tipton where I picked up Helen and then we moved on the Central Birmingham, rolling in at about 8.30pm - after 15.5 hours at the tiller. A great day but perhaps a trip which is better split into two!

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