Saturday, 26 September 2015

Update - Part 2

Fazeley to Huddlesford
7 miles
We spent a couple of days in Fazeley before heading off to see the historic boats and traders at the Huddlesford Festival. We weren't sure how far out we would have to moor as we hadn't booked for this one as it was really a last minute decision to go, but as we were heading upto Birmingham afterwards along the Birmingham and Fazeley canal we decided to go right to Huddlesford Junction, wind and then we would be able to moor up facing the right way. On the way up we passed Keri walking George, they had just arrived after picking up their new (well old - but new to them) butty Lyra from Gloucester.

Butty Lyra
We managed to moor up not far out of Huddlesford and in a nice open spot, we then had a wander back up to say hello to Keri and Dan and we saw Barry too on the Home Brew Boat. The time flew by and before we knew it, it had got quite late and we were discussing what to eat, it ended up with Keri and Dan coming back to LJ and James knocking up a nice risotto. It gave us a chance to try out our new seating arrangement which worked very well.

Saturday morning we had a wander round, there were trade boats, historic boats, stalls were set up in the field with displays of classic cars and a few Romany caravans. At lunchtime we said our goodbyes and headed back to LJ where we decided to move on again.

Huddlesford to Fazeley
7 miles
We enjoyed a nice journey back to Fazeley, James wanted to get a few pens prepared for turning as he had some commission to do, so I took over steering whilst he was busy inside. At Hopwas we said a quick hello to Yvonne and Roger on Fizzical Attraction as we passed by. At Fazeley we continued onto the junction, turned right and moored outside the Mill.

On Sunday we popped in to the Mill where the two remaining business' there were packing up as their leases had come to an end. Apparently they had all been given notice in June, after they had sold a lot of stock off cheaply in closing down sales the landlords then decided that they could stay another two years, I don't think anyone took them up on this offer. It seems the Mill is going to be converted to flats but now sounds like that won't be happening for a couple of years.

Fazeley to Bottom of Curdworth Locks
3 miles
We wanted to stop again by the water park, I think it's a great place to stop and I had a lovely walk with Dudley round the various lakes. On Monday it was pouring with rain we so hibernated for a while, a few familiar boats and faces passed by, Adam on Adrian on Briar Rose said a quick hello after they had come down the flight and then a few of the traders on their way up to Birmingham for the floating market.

The ornate Drayton foot bridge

Moored at the bottom of Curdworth Locks

One of the many lakes

Curdworth Locks
2.5 miles and 11 locks
In the afternoon the sun came out so we made our way up the locks, we started off as usual with James steering and me working the locks, after a couple we swapped and I steered and James worked the locks, then we swapped back for the top couple. I much prefer working the locks to steering, I'm quite slow getting into the locks but I suppose that's down to practice and I don't particularly like being down in the lock, its not too bad coming up though. We stopped at the top where we were going to spend a couple of days so James could get on with the turning but when morning came it was a bit damp and forecast rain later so we decided to push on into Birmingham and he could catch up on the turning once we were there and the weather better.

Curdworth Top Lock to Birmingham
9.5 miles and 27 locks
Tuesday we headed off first it was through Curdworth Tunnel and then onto the Minworth Locks. At the middle lock I dashed into the cafe, got a couple of bacon sarnies and caught up with James again at the top lock. This one is a bit of a pain as you have to leave it empty otherwise the lock cottage gets flooded. As James carried on with LJ I walked along with Dudley for a while, after we jumped back on I got some dough ready for proving, before I knew it we were at Salford Junction turning left staying on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. Just as we approached the bottom lock of Aston it poured down, under the shelter of the railway bridge James dashed inside to get his waterproofs on as I got the lock ready, by the time we were out of the lock the rain had eased a bit and then stopped altogether. We continued up the flight passing a couple of boats coming down so the remaining locks were all in our favour.

At Aston Junction we turned right keeping on the Birmingham and Fazeley and after half a mile or so we were starting up the Farmer's Bridge Locks. These were all full so a boat must have been ahead of us, after a couple a CRT volunteer came our way and was getting the locks ready for us, he was emptying them and opening the gate of the next one as I closed the gate of the one LJ left, by the time I got up he was closing the gate and going on forward as I opened the paddles to raise LJ. We continued this way up the rest of the flight and made good time into Birmingham.

Keri and Dan were following on a couple of days behind us with their boat and butty and were due in Birmingham on Wednesday, we said we would help them up the Farmers Bridge flight so wandered down and waited for a while at Aston Junction, no sign of them so we continued onto Digbeth Junction and waited, still no sign so off to Bordesley, we finally caught up with them half way up the Garrison flight.

We were making good progress getting the two through and started the Farmer's Bridge Flight just as dusk was setting in. We got the motor through the bottom lock and just resetting it for the butty when Barry on the Home Brew boat joined the queue, Sandra was away so he was single handing. After we got the butty through I turned the lock and opened the gates for Barry then went up to join the others. A few of the other traders had turned up to help so I continued to help Barry up. As we all continued up the flight in the dark more people were joining the party, by the time we all arrived at the top, at gone 9pm, there were nine of us helping the two boats and butty through. So not content with doing our own 38 locks over the last two days we did another 20 today.

We were pleased we took Dudley with us as we had left at 1:30pm and it would have been too long to leave him. He was a very tired boy though as we had done about 8 miles in the 7.5 hours we had been out.

This hotel was just being refurbished last time we came this way

I am now up to date again and we are getting ready for a great weekend in Birmingham with loads going on.

563.5 miles and 464 locks