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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day 1 BCN Cruise. Birmingham to Wolverhampton.

Wednesday 13th August.

Birmingham to Wolverhampton. 14.3 miles and 3 locks.

Having had a night of very little sleep (no idea why), the alarm went off at 7.00am, although we were already awake. So this was the day when it would all begin, we would be taking off on the BCN Explorer Cruise, we knew are destination for the day, after our group get together last night and we have our map. Brian on N.B Kyle was also up early, although it seems that some had left at 6am. We did not leave our mooring until 7.45am, along with Brian.The first order of the day on our sheets was to navigate around the Oozells, Icknield Port and Soho Loops. We left out the Oozell loop as we were pointing in the wrong direction. So we carried on to the Icknield Port Loop where there is a BW yard over looked by the Rotton Park Reservoir.No sooner had we done the Icknield Port Loop, we crossed straight over to the Soho Loop. This loop is the longest of the three, it runs for over a mile in an arc, and along its course we came to Winson Green prison and Asylum Bridge, aptly named I think.The water quality differed so much in places, from a dirty black colour to clear as a crystal, where you could see the plant life and fish. In the dark deaths the water smelt of oil and other horrible things. Certainly not somewhere you would want to take a dip that’s certain. Coming out of the Soho Loop and back onto the mainline, we discovered we had something around the prop, which left us with poor steering, so we stopped and Keith got down into the weed hatch. He pulled out plastic bags, nylon jacket and weed, so already we had half a carrier bag full of rubbish. Brian had waited for us, so we set off again and headed along the main line, under the engine arm aqueduct bridge, which is stunning.The weather really could not make its mind up, one moment we had sunshine and then it was pouring with rain, this is how it continued throughout our trip, not knowing whether to don the waterproofs or not. Still what is a little rain between boaters?
We did not use the Smethwich Locks they were being used by group One, we carried on past Spon and Brades Locks which were an option, towards Factory locks, which we did with N.B’s Kyle and Harnser. British Waterways had laid on some help at the locks so it meant my job was made easy. At Factory Junction we carried on along the main line through Coseley Tunnel 360 yds long and along the Wolverhampton level. At Deepfields Junction we could have turned into the Bradley Arm, but decided to give it a miss, as we were told by the BW guys it was weeded up and we would be checking our weed hatches ever two minutes, so we gave that a miss. At Ladymoor it was Brian’s turn to get rubbish around his prop, so we stopped whilst he took on the mammoth task of removing the obstruction.N.B Patience with Elaine and David onboard had caught us up, as had N.B Bluemoon, so we now had a convoy once again. No sooner had we set off then we had to stop due to another thing around the prop, this time it was weed and plastic bags grrrrr. We arrived in Wolverhampton at 2.30pm and moored up opposite the Sanitary Station with N.B Kyle. The one drawback with our mooring is we cannot get to the other side of the canal at all we have our own private space, so no going to the pub for us ha ha ha. It has been an enjoyable days cruising in great company, not even the weather dampened our excitement. What struck me about the trip was the difference in scenery. At times it was really lovely, old industrial land had been taken back by nature, so we were seeing lots of wildlife and flora, such as Evening Primrose, Golden Rod, Ragwart, lots of species of grasses, and in other areas, it also looked like a war zone, with piles of rubble and dirt everywhere. It is clear they are trying to use the old industrial land, but in the meantime it looks like a bomb site, which a bit of a shame. There were many disused factories along the route today, an industrial ear gone by the board, never to return it seems.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh no !! I missed you guys coming through tipton..didnt think you would be here thats soon...any way have a good one.Hope i meet you one day!!
the troll of bridge 77