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D3 Urban Birmingham on the GUC

We stopped for a very quick lunch, see my previous post for details of the morning trip, it had being prepared on the move as we didn’t want to delay too long. Catherine-de-Barnes is seen as the last place on the GUC to be able to moor safely on non-secure moorings and advice seems to be to stop overnight before taking a full day to head into Birmingham. It was just after noon, was it too late to attempt, bearing in mind its March, so dusk is 6pm.

Well we weren’t going into the city centre and had used moorings at Aston Science Park before. Ideally, though, we were heading for Cuckoo Wharf and hope there’s space (previous times it’s being full, so maybe we’d ask to double moor if needs be). I’d been told at a push there was a secure pontoon at Camp Hill locks, so if we were delayed, that’s a back up.

So off we set, the weather was sunny, though the strong wind still gave a chill. For a few miles the canal is in a tree lined cutting, so it isn’t as urban as you’d expect looking at the canal on a map, though every so often patches of litter, would be urban lilly pads, greet you, and ever wary of getting snared and another trip down the weed hatch I put the boat in neutral and coast through. The canal then gets increasingly industrialised, less of the town houses hidden behind foliage, and more the warehouses and industrial units peering over the canal bank asking you “wot you looking at”. All this exposed industrial brickwork is a canvas, no longer blank, but covered in spray paint, by one time youths inking out where they was, though they are probably now settled down somewhere with a family and either a steady job or steady dole cheque.

Despite the urban and industrial surroundings, its a fairly quiet canal and a nice trip in the sunshine. We reached Camp Hill locks by 2.30pm, so carried on – still plenty of time. A British Waterways boat had just come out of the lock below when we got into the first, so it meant these locks should all be set for us. Camp Hill locks are on a strange S bend, which I assume means they were rebuilt at some point when the major A roads were modernised.

As we entered the last lock a hire boat came though Bordesley junction and then came up to the lock gate. I can only assume they thought we were going up, but at least we could say “Boo” when the lock gate was swung open. So which way now? As we hoped to go along the Tame Valley canal tomorrow, then continuing up the GUC seemed best. Next up was the litter collecting Garrison Locks, which we soon got through, though the strong wind was still present, so holding the boat from the tow path whilst waiting for the next lock did seem best on the exposed parts. It was now after 4pm, but we were almost there. Once through the locks it was the final stretch and although there were moorings at Star City, we opted not to use them (they were completely empty and the small gate-less fence meant it wasn’t convenient to access, nor was it completely secure. Round the corner, or round Salford Junction, was Cuckoo Wharf, which we reached just after 5pm.
[youtube width=”598″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRofurRwyaI[/youtube]

One Response to “D3 Urban Birmingham on the GUC”

  1. Isaac Says:

    How did you embedded the map’s pointer and move the map on your video-editing software. It’s very well done.

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