Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Tipton to Birmingham

We haven't covered many canal miles since the last blog but we have been keeping busy.

We had a very brief trip from Tipton on the train to Coventry via Birmingham. I've had my eye on a few things from Hobbycraft to spend my birthday money on, the easiest to get to is the one in Coventry, I know it is right by the station. There is one in Wolverhampton but have never been there and as we had to change trains in Birmingham we could get to the NBTA (boaters) meeting. The meeting was held in The Victoria pub which is an old traditional pub hidden away behind the Alexandra Theatre. I don't agree with everything that was being said but they did give some useful information and we finally got to briefly meet Maffi.

Maffi in The Victoria
The most exciting news though is that after five years of being without a dog we have finally found a boating doggy. He is only five weeks old so it will be a few more weeks until we can introduce him to his new life aboard Lois Jane. Dudley is a Patterdale Terrier and Black Country born and bred.

Me with Dudley



We moved from the visitor moorings at Tipton back round to the Black Country Museum where the moorings there were completely empty so we had the place to ourselves behind the locked (BW key) gates. We stayed there for a couple of days and had really lovely weather although still a little cold. James managed to get a few more pens done.

Empty moorings at The Black Country Museum
There is a small area by the side of the facilities block which had started to be cleared, the morning after our arrival a minibus arrived with the party doing the clearing, there were six people on the Community Payback Scheme along with their supervisor. The minibus arrived about 9.30 and after half an hour or so in the bus they wandered down to the site stood around before starting to do a bit of clearing, stopping for ciggys or looking at their phones, then it was a tea break so back to sitting in the bus, a bit more work, then lunch. By 3.30 they had packed up and gone. Couldn't really see much in the way of 'Community Payback' going on, especially as its private land and only visitors to the attractions can see it. Compared to what the 'Friends of Tipton' achieve it was a very poor effort.

We were soon on our way back into Birmingham, Jess is visiting from Poole and her train arrives at New Street, so easier for us to meet her there rather than changing trains.

We went a slightly different route going along the Old Mainline then turning left down the Gower Branch. There is a staircase lock there followed by a single normal lock. I had jumped off at a bridge hole and made my way ahead of James and LJ to get the staircase lock set. When I got there the top lock of the staircase was completely empty. It was amazing to see as we could see all the culverts which are normally underwater. Once filled all was OK, I think its just the gates leak very Bradley and it seems the lock continued to empty down one of the culverts, as it probably isn't used very much it eventually empties. We were then back on the New Mainline for the remainder of the journey.

Netherton Tunnel from the Aqueduct

Empty staircase lock

Across the cill and in the second lock of the staircase

Looking down the Walsall Canal where little Dudley is

Smethwick Pump House


Engine Arm Aqueduct

Loads of coconuts floating by







On Saturday morning we went for a stroll round Edgbaston Reservoir, having never been there before. It really is a lovely place and we spent time watching the rowing club launching their boats - are they even called boats? They didn't look very comfy either.

We were just coming to the end of our walk and I spotted a Patterdale, getting excited I pointed it out to James, who being very observant noticed the other two dogs, (a Poodle and a PatterPoo) matched the description of the dogs Matt's mum had. I was working with Matt in Coventry and he had spoken of his mum who lived in Birmingham and the dogs. I went up and randomly asked her 'are you Matt's mum?' It turns out she was and luckily Matt had mentioned me to her too. So on Sunday Rebekah came over to the boat for a visit and we spent a couple of great hours chatting, so a new found friend who we will definitely catch up with again when back in Birmingham.


We managed to get to one of the free Jazz concerts in the foyer of Symphony Hall

Gving away Volvic Orange and Lemon Juices

9 miles and 3 locks

Total 89 miles and 114 locks