Monday, 5 November 2012

Oops - didn't post this blog!

I had written this blog when we arrived in Birmingham, but didn't post it for some reason.  It's of our journey along the BCN from Merry Hill and into Birmingham City Centre.   Bit late now - but here it is anyway.....

We left NB Fragil (Frank & Gill) at Merry Hill, and hoped that Generator Man wouldn't be quite so horrible with them as he was with us.  We had eaten in Weatherspoons the night before - armed with our 50p off a pint CAMRA vouchers.  Steak AND a pint for £6.50.  Bargain. 

We retraced our steps through Blowers Green, where we had attended the Park Head Rally a few weeks before.  It was a bit quieter now!

 This sign is on the Blowers Green Pump House - a sign of the times!

These lovely signs, telling the history of this part of the canals are all along the Dudley No2 canal, and thankfully haven't been vandalised.
Up the locks at Park Head to one end of the Dudley Tunnel, no longer open for boat traffic, other than trips operating from the other end of the tunnel by the Dudley Canal Trust near the Black Country Museum.

I didn't expect to see that!  Goats on the side of the canal between Park Head & Netherton.
Into the black hole that is Netherton Tunnel

2768m doesn't mean anything to me - but put it in old money and its 1.7 miles long.

Light at the end of the tunnel
Dave checking the time - yes, it took 40 minutes to get through.
Just as you exit Netherton tunnel, the Tividale Aqueduct carries the Wolverhampton Level canal
Right turn - onto the Birmingham Main Line

Bromford Junction, with Spon Lane Locks to the left, taking you back up to the (old) Wolverhampton Level
We've got all types of transport here - we're on the Birmingham Main Line, with the Stewart Aqueduct in front carrying the Wolverhampton Level canal, the railway line is on the right, with the M5 spanning the whole lot.
There was another boat passing overhead, we could just about make out some arms frantically waving at us, but by the time we came out the other side & I got my camera, they'd gone.
Smethwick Pumping Station
Ah - not far to go now - once we've seen the East End Cash & Carry!  I did have a panic earlier on - we joined the main line from Netherton and the sign post said Birmingham 6 1/2 miles. After about a mile, we passed another sign saying Birmingham 8 miles!  Panic!  We're not going to get there in daylight.  After another mile, the next sign said 5 miles.  Relax.
The last 5 miles into Birmingham is full of wharves, loops and arms, some still in use, and some which are not.  They're every hundred yards or so. 
It's staggering the amount of miles of canals which would have been thriving a hundred years ago


Added bonus of a train going over the start of this loop
Approaching Birmingham

Sherbourne wharf veering off to the right

This is a pic of the where we're moored - outside the old fiddle & bone.  After umpteen attempts, this picture will not load up horizontall & ends up like this.  No idea why - it's just this one photo.  I did try turning it on its side before uploading it, but the computer sussed me out & turned it on its side again.  I've spent the last hour fiddling with it, so I'm not taking it down, you'll just have to cock your neck to the side to look at it!

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