Wolverhampton Level Cruise

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 The canal seems less industrial along here, sure there are factories, but many seem to have been replaced by modern housing developments, which I guess will continue?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.



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