Friday, 27 June 2014

The long haul

To Birmingham Floating Market
June 2014

After all that effort this was the first proper trip out with the butty - Calf Heath to central Birmingham for the Summer Floating Market.

Leaving the marina

Having crept into Cover and dusk we were off again at 6.30am for a rendezvous with Martin, one of our regular relief crew, at the bottom of the Wolverhampton 21. He arrived at 8.15 just as we were rising in lock 21 and was straight in the business of keeping the boats moving.

Good going on the Staffs and Worcs

As it happened all the locks were for us and in spite of some slow progress between the locks we still made it up in a very creditable 2hrs 15 mins.

Towing in Wolverhampton

Towing  from Wolverhampton to Tipton was a bit challenging, with a narrow weedy channel waiting to catch us is we strayed off the limited navigation channel. After one of two incidents where The Jam Butty decided to try and declare UDI we dropped the butty onto a 40 foot line and Martin steered. This was we made strong progress abd Wand'ring dark was better able to bight into the water and pull both boats along as at a good pace.

Jam Butty being towed through Coseley Tunnel

At Factory Locks we were caught by a hire boat who decided to but some jam - over £30 worth! A lovely bonus and a great family group. Down on the New Main Line we reverted to the cross straps and the hire boat passed us at the Gower Branch. A bit further along we came upon The Tea Junction which had broken down and was being inched to the city by another trade and we effected what was probably our only ever overtaking maneuver when towing the butty!

Catching and passing The Tea Junction (ex Hatherton Belle)

And so we arrived in central Birmingham at 6.00pm, winded at Old Turn Junction and took our spot by Sheepcote Bridge and prepared for the weekend's trading activity. Foreast for Friday is poor but picking up.

1 comment:

James said...

I think it might be worth your while looking at running blocks for working the butty- a long line is put on with a loop onto a dolly on the motor, and then run back through pulley blocks to a T stud temporarily screwed in front of the butty steerer. The butty steerer can then control the length of line, and take it in quickly if the motor stops or slows for any reason, so it can't get wrapped around the blade and the motor steerer doesn't have to worry about that as well!