Friday, 2 January 2015

Minworth to Star City

After yesterday poor LJ's weed hatch needed a little attention, this morning James removed the old seal around the top, sanded it down and put on a new one. It had been a job on his winter to do list when I'm out working but needed to be bought forward because when we replaced the weed hatch yesterday it was with a bit of luck it didn't leak. So with James outside I set to and gave the inside a much needed thorough clean, it is amazing how dusty the stove makes everything.

Our Minworth mooring in daylight
It was a lovely sunny morning and nice and bright when we set off for the three Minworth locks, the wind had died down from yesterday but it still felt quite chilly. The locks were actually in our favour today which really does make a difference, all three had an amazing amount of rubbish collected at the top gates funneled down by the wind. James was just leaving the first lock when he felt the prop slow down and stop again, straight away it was into neutral and again we pulled LJ back into the lock and down the weed hatch again, this time a hugh amount of heavy duty plastic but luckily as James had stopped as soon as he felt resistance it wasn't wound tightly round and I managed to just pull it off.

Onto the second lock and a CRT empty barge was stopped at the top lock landing, I say stopped and not moored as it was only held to the bank by one thin piece of rope at the back with the rest drifting across the lock opening. The other end had a length of electrical wire hanging off it and another piece over a bollard, as it is plastic and stretchy it obviously just snapped with the weight of the barge.

Possible/potential breach??

James using our pole to get the work barge back to the side
At the third lock the same an empty CRT barge on the top lock landing with one thin rope holding it in place. There was a sign on this lock to leave it empty, I remember when we passed through a couple of years ago the guy in the old lock cottage came out and asked if I would empty it as when left full it flooded his cellar. James carried on slowly whilst I emptied the lock again then caught him up.

We carried onto Salford Junction, under the M6 and took the first turning left onto the Grand Union Canal and new water for us, we had just made the turning when another boat emerged from the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal the other way so that was good timing. Its been the only boat we've seen moving since Drayton Park. Salford Junction reminds me of a poem James wrote when we came this way in September 2012 Click here for the link to it we carried on the Birmingham and Fazeley that time.

Warehouse over the canal

Approaching Salford Junction under the motorway

And onto the Grand Union under the original canal bridge
Our intention was to stop at Star City moorings which we've never been to, but I remembered reading about it on Nick and Emma's blog Marpessa, I had a quick look back last night and saw we needed to look out for a floating pontoon. We soon spotted it and moored up with the sun still shining brightly, thanks Emma for your detailed description we would have probably gone the other way again.

Long straight 

And the floating pontoon

It's been a lovely sunny day, but still very chilly

5 miles and 3 locks
Total 11.5 miles and 14 locks

We'll be heading into civilisation tonight, it seems quite an interesting place, this what what Wikipedia says about it:-

Star City is a family leisure and entertainment complex in Birmingham, England. It is located in the north east of the city very close to Junction 6 of the M6 motorway (Spaghetti Junction), and Aston railway station.

This former derelict industrial land was developed as part of a regeneration scheme for the Heartlands area and to change Birmingham's image for the 21st century. Its centrepiece is the 25-screen Vue cinema, at the time the largest cinema in Europe. The construction was carried out by Wolverhampton based firm Carillion.The complex was formally opened in July 2000 by actorsGeorge Clooney and Mark Wahlberg to coincide with the UK premier of The Perfect Storm. With some 392,000 square feet (36,400 m2) of leisure space, it is one of the largest leisure complexes in the United Kingdom.

A 22-lane Megabowl bowling alley was revealed when Star City opened and has remained since - however, this has now been re-branded as Tenpin. By the end of 2003, it was the largest leisure park in the country ahead of The Printworks in Manchester and The Mailbox in Birmingham city centre.

A Goals soccer centre opened in 2007 with fourteen floodlit pitches situated on the roof. Goals also incorporates a Sports Bar which shows year round sporting events on both Sky and Terrestrial TV.

The centre underwent a major redevelopment in 2008. England's first indoor 36 hole adventure mini golf course, 'Adventure Island Mini Golf', opened on 11 June 2008.


  1. Star City, aka 'Stab City' in some circles.
    Former site of Saltley Gas works where the National Union of Mineworkers defeated the Heath government in 1974. (HOORAY!)
    Not bad for an overnight mooring but I wouldn't leave the boat there unattended.
    You will have discovered that you need a BW key to get off the pontoon. If you want to buy a newspaper remember that the WH Smiths branch doesn't open until 10:00.
    Frankly the 'entertainment' available there is my idea of hell. Reckon the land was much better used as a gasworks!

    1. We thought it was a great overnight stop. We did recognised the standard BW padlock on the gate, which is a little added security measure but as its a low gate it can be easily climbed over anyway, I thought Star City itself would be great for the cinema or bowling, but neither were on our agenda for stopover - just food :)