Saturday, 3 January 2015

Locks and Junctions into Birmingham

Last night we ventured into Star City, it was heaving I reckon the whole of Birmingham was there. Its a shame you couldn't actually see anything unless taking part, I'm thinking the mini golf in particular it was a bit like a shop front and once you paid you went through to the back. Unless you are going to actually take part in an activity there wasn't much to see. There was a visiting funfair outside and also a Circus. We thought we'd go to the Harvester and try their takeaway taking it back to the boat, just a stroll away, watch a film on telly and veg out in front of the fire, but the waiting time was over half an hour so we settled for KFC instead.

This morning we were up with the lark, actually, not sure about the lark bit but it was early, James had some porridge on the go by the time I had eased myself out of bed and we were off before sunrise enjoying the porridge before the first lock of the day. We didn't actually see the sun rise, it was too cloudy and it wasn't long before the rain came and stayed with us throughout the whole journey.

The first lock of Garrison was in our favour, but then thinking about it a boat had arrived at Star City Moorings well after dark, it had gone 6pm so hopefully if the gates didn't leak too much they would all be with us. As it turned out the bottom gates on the others were left open. I know it shouldn't be done but it did help our progress quite a bit. Again there was loads of rubbish and particularly worrying a lot of plastic bags just asking to be wrapped around the prop. I fished the few I could reach out as the locks were filling then I remembered we had a grabber so armed with my windlass, grabber and black bag up the locks we went catching all the plastic bags I could get my hands on and some bottles if I had time before the lock was full. If I collected all the rubbish on the way up it would have taken hours more.

After the five Garrison locks I jumped back on for the short distance to Bordesley Junction where we turned right onto the Digbeth branch of the Birmingham and Fazeley, then another right turn, turning left here takes you to Typhoo Basin, then the Ashted flight of six locks led us to Aston Junction. This time a left turn and back onto familiar waters and the 13 locks of Farmers Bridge. 

Bordesley Junction

Looking towards Typhoo Basin

All the gates were closed on this flight and all but two were in our favour. There was hardly any rubbish around either so I left the grabber and full black bag back with James. We had been looking out for the BT tower and it wasn't until we got closer that we realised we hadn't been able to see it further back as the top was in mist. At the top lock we had a cheery wave and quick hello from Peter on Blackberry Way. James then reversed LJ onto one of the pontoons at Cambrian Wharf and we were tied up by 12:30.

The rain had leaked through my waterproofs and I was literally soaked to the skin, so a nice hot shower for me whilst James got on with cooking lunch.

We didn't see another moving boat at all and not many people either. Despite the weather it was an enjoyable trip and great to be back in Birmingham again, I think James is looking forward to spending some time in the library next week while I'm out working.

4.5 miles and 24 locks
Total 16 miles and 38 locks

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