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Friday, August 15, 2008

Wolverhampton to Anglesey Basin.

Thursday 14th August.

Wolverhampton to Pelsall Junction, Wryley and Essington Canal.12.3 miles 9 hours no locks
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We had agreed the night before with Brian on N.B Kyle that we would make an early start, so having heard N.B’s Alder and Clover leave at 5.40am we were up breakfast done and boat started. Brian already had N.B Kyle warming up and was ready for the off, so he headed off with us following on behind at 6.10am. The weather was a real contrast to yesterdays. The morning was chilly, just like an autumnal morning, but the sun was out which made everything look so beautiful, even the factories and tramline.At 6.20am we were turning into Horseley Fields Junction onto the Wryley & Essington Canal. It has the reputation of being messy and weedy and they were not kidding, as we were to find out through our 9 hour cruise, bearing in mind it should take around 4 hours to do. At 7.25am we made our first of many tours down the weed hatch at Wednesfield, to bring out plastic bags, a jacket, weed and other things. After that we would be like Brian spending a lot of time getting to know the weed hatch.If it was not the fact that the weather was so wonderful, I reckon Brian would have given up. He even got out a bottle of red wine, which he drank along the way to drown his sorrows. At one point things were so bad, that he was contemplating selling the boat. Keith and I did our best to keep his spirits high, when ever he stopped we would wait for him and he with us when we stopped, it was purely in case if one of us had a problem, we had back-up. We had been one of the first pair of boats to leave and yet we were to find out that we were the last pair of boats to arrive at the Pelsall Junction mooring that was how bad things had been for us. But Keith and I were not down hearted it is a part of boating you must accept and just get on with it. The canal not only had plenty of rubbish in it, it also had Pennywort and Blanket weed, which made life hard work as well.The best part of the day’s trip was the last two miles when we had pleasant countryside views and some deeper water. We finally arrived at Pelsall Junction and found ourselves a mooring at 3.10 pm. I was going to do a lovely write up about today’s events but I am way too tired. We managed to fill five pedal bin liners with rubbish from around our propeller, I reckon we had someone whole wardrobe of clothing in those bags.We did however finish off the day on a hire note, we had a fabulous meal in The Finger Post Pub, the tables had been pre-booked for us, and we just had to arrived and order a meal. We sat with Brian and Helen from N.B Harnser and enjoyed a nice evening. The icing on the cake was seeing the sunset on the walk back to the boat.It was truly awesome, there was not a breath of wind and we could hear the coots calling across the water. It was amazing, so a perfect end to a rather long and frustrating day.

Friday 15th August.

Pensall Junction to Anglesey Basin. 4.9 miles, 3 hours 40 mins.


Having had such a frustrating day yesterday, it had been decided that we would not be setting off until ninish, so that meant a lie in for us all. I was awake at 6am and up at 7am. I wanted to cook my meatballs early, so they would be ready for the evening meal, I also wanted to strip the bed and wash the sheets, before we would fill up with water again at Brownhills. With those jobs sorted Keith and I then got Hadar ready for the off. Brian on N.B Kyle did his weed hatch and prayed it would be the one and only time he would have to do it today.At 9.05am we headed firstly up the Cannock Extension behind Brian. The Cannock Extension, was built between 1858 and 1863, it once connected with the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, we could not turn in the basin at the end because other boats were moored their and our 70ft boat would not wind, so we decided to wind just before at the terminus which used to serve the Brownhills Colliery. The whole of that stretch of canal is beautiful and at the moment the heather is our, so you see a carpet of purple, it is wonderful. The oak trees are producing their acorns; there were crab apple trees, and a plethora of blackberry bushes. Having winded we headed back to the Junction and turned left, passing The Finger Post where we ate last night.The weather was outstanding as we meandered past fields, new housing estates, woods and meadows. Summer had arrived at last. With the good weather came the gongoozlers with their mobile phone cameras, small children wanting to wave at us and fishermen out to catch the biggest fish of the day.
We arrived at Brownhills, to take on water and get rid of all the rubbish we had collected yesterday. We had no need to stop for shopping, so vacated the mooring for N.B Harnser to take over.We were now on the last stretch of the day. The Anglesey Branch last carried coal from the Cannock mines in 1967, the land is now rural and quite beautiful, we then past a lovely cast iron bridge which spans Ogley Junction, where the main line of the Wyrley and Essington once join to the Coventry Canal at Huddlesford Junction. The route which was abandoned in 1954, is now under restoration and will be part of the Lichfield Canal.
We arrived at Anglesey Basin and were greeted by some old coal shoots. We then winded in the basin, which is now a heritage site. It was the site of No 1 pit of the Cannock Chase Colliery Company, it opened in 1849 and closed in 1856, it was known as ‘The Marquis’.
N.B’s Patience and Norken Dream were already moored up, so we found a nice deep water mooring behind them and set up camp. At Anglesey basin there is the Chasewater Country Park, 700-acre of park land, which is rich in bird life. They also have a railway which is open to the public. Chasewater itself was built in 1799 as a feeder reservoir, the dam collapsed causing death to livestock and wildlife, when it was rebuilt they faced it with stone, and there have been no further problems.
We've seen loads of wildlife today, Coots, Moorhen, Dragonflies, Crickets, Common Tern, fish and much more.
We will spend a pleasant evening here and may even have the bar-b-q out for the first time this summer.

1 comment:

John and Margaret - NB Ernest said...

Thank you for clearing so much rubbish from the bottom of the cut.
It made it so much easier for us to catch up with you on Saturday.