Wolverhampton Level Cruise

April 29th, 2012

Life’s been busy and it seems I haven’t posted a video in a while (in fact as I’ve got several unprocessed journey’s I haven’t bothered capturing recent trips out), but I’ve missed doing them, so as I had a few spare days, decided to process another.

The last video took us in a circular route inside the BCN as I went along the Tame Valley Canal and ended up at the visitor moorings at the end of the Engine Branch – how many of you have been down there? Nice and secure, though amenities outside the yard were just a couple of distant take-aways. For this day we were setting off and heading up to Wolverhampton, since we were moving the boat to new moorings. As we were already on the Wolverhampton Level (having come up via Spon Lane Locks the previous day)  we decided to stay on the Old Main Line and take this route to Wolverhampton.

After leaving the Engine Branch we headed back past the pumping station and under the M5 motorway which it continues to dance under and out of after we pass Spon Lane Junction until shortly after Oldbury Junction. I’ve not been along the Titford Branch either, hmmm, something for a future venture? The canal seems less industrial along here, sure there are factories, but many seem to have been replaced by modern housing developments, which I guess will continue? We passed the junction with the Gower Branch, which we’ve taken in a past year when we’d stayed at the Black Country Museum moorings and then over Tividale Aqueduct – not been through Netherton Tunnel either and another on the must-do-sometime list. The aqueduct is quite unobtrusive from this vantage point and it can easily be missed as it looks like those aqueducts you get taking a canal over a small stream – the view of the aqueduct when looking down the branch from the Birmingham level new main line is quite different (a mass of brick).

Next up, Tipton Junction, where if you head left along the Dudley Tunnel Branch you’d get to the aforementioned black Country Museum as well as the trip boat that takes you into the tunnel, but we head right and onto Factory Junction where the Old and New Main Line’s meet back up to take a single route. Lots of industrial buildings still remain on the route and the canal meanders around these. As we reach Horseley Fields Junction with the Wyrley & Essington Canal (one we have been down previously and that has amazingly clear water!) we encounter a boat reversing out of the junction (maybe they were just turning round??) and follow them, before they turn off into a boatyard.

We have now reached Wolverhampton visitor moorings and ahead of us lies Wolverhampton Locks. As its 21 locks over quite a short space some people may avoid this route, but we ploughed through at a fair speed. With one crew member getting the next lock ready to minimise waiting times in between we only took three hours. Once through we headed on the Staffs and Worcs canal until we could find some moorings, and stopped overnight opposite the Oxley Moor Boat Club – nice place for an evening pint. This meant we would be able head up the Shropshire Union Canal the following day.



Handrail at Bumblehole Lock

February 28th, 2012

Following on from my previous post, here is one of those temporary handrails over the lock walkways


How does this help?

Slow boat to Kinver

February 27th, 2012

My initial thoughts for this week were to go down to Kidderminster and back, but that wasn’t set in stone. We wanted to spend some time going on walks around the canal, so Saturday after a little walk we set off to Autherley Junction. We moored just after we went on to the staffs & worcs and went shopping to Morrisons. Had a late lunch and decided to stop here.
Sunday morning we made a short cruise to Compton, mooring just below the lock. From here we going on the staffs railway walk (having found details on the AA website last week). The route of this walk is formed by the old railway line and the canal, with a footpath link from Monarchs Way to Mops Farm Bridge. It was a very pleasant day and we decided to extend the route a little bit, staying on the railway route and coming of for Dimingsdale lock.
We had lunch when we got back on board, another late one, and then set off southwards once more. We moored just above Bratch Locks, very quiet and spent the evening watching some DVDs.

Hey that lawn is moving!

February 24th, 2012

We got to Norbury for half two and unpacked and bought some coal. They must have been curing the grass upstream as it had collected around the wharf area, making the cut look like a moving lawn. You may be wondering why I mention this. Well it was the first time on the boat for Jake, Michelle’s dog, and properly jumped off the side of the boat onto the moving lawn. We picked him out and dried him off, but I’m not sure whether the look on his face was from the impromptu bath or because of our howls of laughter.
We set off southwards reaching Wheaton Aston when’ve we decided to more and pop out for a curry.

First outing of 2012

February 23rd, 2012

Heading out from Norbury tomorrow. Aiming to do a return trip to Kidderminster.