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Friday, August 01, 2008

Birmingham to the Black Country Museum.

Friday 1st August.

Birmingham to the Black Country Museum. 8.5 miles and 3 locks.


Last night we had very heavy rain, which kept me awake. Keith on the other hand slept really well and at times was even snoring. Nothing was going to wake him from his slumber.
It was dull and windy when we got up, there was a whiff of rain in the air, but we were ready to leave at 8.45 am. We said cheerio to Chris on Fleur de Eau, as he peered through his cabin window.We set off along the Birmingham level main line and having left all the new apartments we were reminded of what was once Birmingham’s industrial age, which has sadly long since gone. The now desolate land has now given way to Mother Nature and her flora and fauna. We saw Buddleia, Wild Daisies, Golden Rod, Japanese knot weed, Chinese Balsam (policeman’s helmet), Honey Suckle and many more species of plants. The Heron was very evident as well, although it was getting a lot of grief from the seagulls, who kept dive bombing them.We past Winson Green and under the Winson Green Turnover Bridge, where lies what is left of a gauging booth, it is now more like and over grown island, and for those who do not know its history, they would think it was just an island.
There was no shortage of joggers on their daily run, with their puce red faces and pained expressions on their faces, they constantly remind me of why I never took up jogging. I have never met a happy, smiley jogger. Have you?
The weather was not really up to much, we had a constant gusty wind, with drizzly rain on and off though out the mornings cruise.
We did the 3 Smethwick locks, joining the Birmingham Level Main Line to the Wolverhampton Level. To operate them we needed the handcuff key to undo the locks.As we reached the top of the 3, we met our first boat of the day, which was a hire boat. The lock was already full and in their favour, so I opened the gate to let them in and proceeded to help them do the lock operation of which they were very grateful. I felt as if I had done my good deed for the day. At the top lock there is the Toll House, which has sadly been defaced by mindless vandals, not only have they spray painted rubbish on the walls, they have even tried to rip the tiles off of the roof. Shame on them.The Birmingham canal is like a rabbit warren it has lots of other canals off of it, that branch off in all directions, we hope to cruise around them all some day.After the locks we then went through Galton Tunnel 122 yds long.We were then in the shadow of the M5 for quite some distance. It became our roof and shelter from the wind and rain. It’s imposing pillars, standing like giants holding the roof up. Continuing along the Wolverhampton Level we edged past, Round’s Green, Brades Village, Tividale. At Tividale we stopped on the aqueduct to empty the loo, but it was blocked up with leaves and had been vandalised, so we moved off heading to Tipton Junction, where we had to turn left to head for the Black Country Museum. That proved somewhat problematic as the wind was blowing straight across the canal, so the bow was doing its own thing. Not only that two lad were out in two rubber dinghy’s, paddling around having lots of fun. Now they did not get in our way as such, but due to the windy conditions they were something we had to keep an eye on whilst manoeuvring around the bend. It has to be said when I asked to keep well away from the boat, they did comply.
We made it to the Black Country Museum and found a mooring, during the afternoon we took a boat trip into Dudley Tunnel on one of the trip boats.It was really awesome and well worth doing if you ever come to the Museum. Nigel who was our guide, gave us a lengthy talk as we took the 40 minute trip, he even got a couple of volunteers to do some legging on the way out. If you are planning on getting married and you want somewhere completely different to your friends, then why not book Dudley Tunnel. Yes they perform weddings actually in one of the caverns. Also whilst in the tunnel you get to watch a short film about how the limestone was formed, plus all about the tunnel itself.
The evening was spent on and off the boat, enjoying the evening’s sunshine. Tomorrow we look forward to looking around the Museum.

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

Nice way to decorate your walls. I have never done that. My effort to beautify the walls in my house was to order big-sized canvas prints from wahooart.com, from images of western art. I use the same angel motifs in all of the rooms painted by different painters, such as this one by very interesting English artist Stanley Spencer, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT7K6.