Berthed at Birmingham

Monday 14th May

Up and away by 10 past 9 today and we had the remaining seven Curdworth locks under our belt by 11:00. We found these locks quite heavy and offset some way from  the towpath, it was then an hour’s cruise into Minworth. It’s hard to believe you are so near Birmingham as the countryside was still very rural, and as we approached Minworth we had farmland on one side and a lorry yard on  the other.

The three Minworth Locks were notable by the amount of rubbish in them and as we left the last one and went under a bridge we stopped dead, investigation found the cause to be a hi-viz jacket around the propeller!

We were now definitely surrounded by industrial buildings, which was the reason for the canal in the beginning, we actually passed under one factory.

Salford Junction was reached at by 2 o’clock and we reversed 500 yards into the  Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal and found ourselves the only boat on Star City visitor moorings for a while. These are secure moorings with gated access to the attractions of Star City where we got ourselves a selection of Southern Indian street food for tea.

Tuesday 15th May

Off at 8:15 this morning as we had 24 locks to do but we hadn’t moved a 100 yards before we had a fouled prop again! That cleared we turned left at Salford Junction back onto  the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal and the eleven Aston Locks. All these locks were empty for us and we didn’t see another boat until we reached the top at 10:30.

After just about half an hour’s respite we were at the bottom of Farmer’s Bridge flight and were pleased to be greeted by a Volunteer Lock-Keeper who offered to help us up the whole flight, an offer we gladly accepted.

From the bottom we could see the BT Tower and we wended our way between and even under buildings most of the way up.

Reaching the top we thanked our helper and shook him warmly by the hand. We then turned left passing Gas Street Basin to find ourselves a mooring just past Worcester Bar, NOT a pub but the site of a trans-shipping point between rival canal companies.

According to Wikipedia: The Birmingham Canal, completed in 1773, terminated at Old Wharf beyond Bridge Street. When the Worcester and Birmingham Company started their canal at a point later known as Gas Street Basin the Birmingham Canal Navigations Company (BCN) insisted on a physical barrier to prevent the Worcester and Birmingham Canal from benefiting from their water. The Worcester Bar, a 7 ft. 3 in. wide straight barrier 84 yards long was built perpendicular to the run of the two canals. Cargoes had to be laboriously manhandled between boats on either side.

Once moored  up at 12:40 we treated ourselves to tapas and drinks at Bar Estilo at The Mailbox.

Tomorrow we will have a rest from boating while we wait for Paul & Rosemary to arrive.


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