Today 10.3 miles
Total 16.9 miles
On 1st March our winter mooring at Cambrian Wharf had come to an end, as if three and a half months in Birmingham wasn’t enough we wanted to stay another couple of days for two reasons, firstly I was working until 2nd March and secondly I wanted to go to the Chinese restaurant the Ming Moon for my Birthday dinner so we moved the half a mile onto the moorings between the NIA and the Sealife centre.
|On the pontoon at Cambrian Wharf|
|Nice sunny spot near the NIA|
We had a great day yesterday, my birthday, and in the evening met up with our fantastic Cambrian Wharf neighbours Peter and Heather on Blackberry Way. We had a pre-dinner drink at the Dragon Inn in the Chinese Quarter before heading off to eat and we certainly got our money’s worth. We had a lovely evening with great food and great company. I want to say thank you to everyone for my Birthday wishes and the cards that I received - I know it’s not easy sending a card to someone without a postal address!
So onto today, it was time to say Bye to Birmingham and off we headed after a last visit to the library to print off a couple of letters we need to send. The sun was out and the forecast was cloud and sun, thankfully no rain for our first proper cruise for a few months, at least we were broken in again gently.
|Bye Nick and Emma, hope to see you again soon|
We were heading for Windmill End and decided to break up the long straight of the New Mainline (Birmingham Level) by going down the two loops of Icknield Port and Hockley. The Icknield Port loop passes by the Rotten Park Reservoir where there also appears to be a CaRT yard with lovely buildings.
|Nice CaRT office?|
|CaRT yard with Rotton Park Reservoir behind|
Back onto the Mainline there are a few maintenance jobs being done by CaRT, firstly some dredging works and then bridge painting on the Gower Branch junction. A little further on we turned off left down the Netherton Tunnel branch and through the said tunnel, a short distance out and we had reached our destination of Windmill End.
|Back on the New Mainline|
|Engine Arm Aquaduct|
|Our first Heron siting of the year|
|Plenty of headroom under this bridge|
|The M5 over the canal|
|Rinsing the barge after emptying the dredged material|
|Holding the barge to the edge for us to pass|
|The light at the end of the 1.71 mile Netherton Tunnel|
|One of the many air shafts|
|Moored up at Windmill End|
Just a little info on the tunnel: Netherton Tunnel was the last canal tunnel to be built in Britain during the Canal Age. After just over two and a half years of construction the tunnel was opened in August 1858. It was built to relieve the wait at Dudley Tunnel which is very narrow and has one way working, waiting times could be eight hours or more and on occasions could be several days. Netherton Tunnel is 1.71 miles long and is wide to allow two way working and has towpaths on both sides. The tunnel was fitted with gas lighting over the towpaths, which was later converted to electric and now it is unlit.