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Monday, August 18, 2008

Top of the Ryders Green Locks to Top of Oldbury Locks.

Monday 18th August.

Top of the Ryders Green Locks to Top of Oldbury Locks. 3.6 miles and 9 locks.

It was a dark, drizzly morning which greeted us early starters. The plan was to set off at 6am, because with 30+ boats to do locks, someone needed to be off early. So once again it was us on N.B Hadar, Brian on N.B Kyle and Roy on N.B Gerald No13 who set off first, closely followed by N.B’s Clover, Alder, Temeraire, and Tenacious. There is little in the way of scenery on our trip, it is very industrial, with factories and old disused factories, probably waiting to be demolished all along the route. With the drizzle coming down thick and fast N.B Gerald No13 left us at Pudding Junction, he had an appointment with the vet in Oldbury, as Thomas his whippet had hurt his foot. So we waved him goodbye and turned right onto the Birmingham main line where at Bromford Junction we turned and made our way up the three Spon Lane Locks with Brian a head, Paddy was allowed off for his morning walk, and despite the fact it was raining, he was eager to run up and down the towpath. After the locks we had to make a sharp right turn at Spon Lane Junction, which made for an exciting time as the wind was now getting up. So I took the bow rope and followed Keith’s instructions. We got Hadar around the sharp bed with ease and followed beneath the M5 for a while until Oldbury Locks Junction. Brian overshot the junction and had to reverse N.B Kyle back, by which time we had run aground, due to the strong wind, whilst waiting for him to get into the junction. We were now onto the Titford Canal, which climbs up the Oldbury flight of six locks, when the heavens opened for a short time. We all had a good system going up the flight. Brian would set his lock and move into it, he would then set the next lock ahead for himself. After leaving the first lock, I would then shut the gates behind him and then set it for us. It worked like clock work, until three locks from the top we noticed the pounds were down like yesterdays had been, so we set about letting water down, this did not take long and it was not long before we were at the top. Titford Canal serves as a feeder from Titford Pools to Rotton Park Reservoir. We both winded our boats and moored above the locks, as we will be making another early start in the morning back down the flight. At the top of the flight is the old Titford Pump House, which is the BCN’s headquarters and houses the BW sanitary station. It was sods law that as we got to the top the rain stopped and the sun came out.It was not long before the others were joining us, so we went lock wheeling again to get everyone through. What I love about doing the locks, is that you get to chat to everyone that you may have not seen that morning, or get to see later in the evening.We had two casualties on this part of the journey. Roy on N.B Gerald No13 got stuck in a lock due to a tyre behind the gates that was soon sorted out though. Brian on N.B Kyle has blown a head gasket, and as I type he is having it repaired, by people who work at Russell Newbery. We are supposed to be going to a bar-b-q at the Titford Pump House later. It is not bar-b-q weather, its cold and raining at the moment, just as well they have erected a tent and opened up the meeting room for this evening.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. That sounds like quite a journey! A lot of hard work and dirty weather. What do you do when the canals flood?

I have some catching up to do - I haven't managed to get over here for my narrow boat fix for a while!