|This Month's Totals and Average|
|177.93 miles||69 locks||86.97 hrs||2.84 lmph|
A lot of early departures this morning, but we were up and away before both "Jubilee" and "Spring Water". A queue of three boats greeted us at Bagnall Lock, so a slight delay. Ascended Bagnall, then Common, Hunts and Keepers Locks before mooring at the service point once again. On the move again after servicing (Fhi got a coffee at The Laughing Duck café), ascending Junction, Middle and Shadehouse Locks. CRT Volunteers assisted for Keepers, Junction and Middle, but they then went for lunch. We had lunch on the move as we continued through Tuppenhurst, Handsacre and Armitage and into Rugeley. Very busy again, with no moorings free at all until we cleared Church Bridge 67 where we found a boat leaving so took its place.
Once moored up, Pat and Fhi went for stores while I did the diary, stats and maps.
|9.68 miles||8 locks||5.50 hrs||3.21 lmph|
Leisurely start to the day, but still on the move fairly early. Had intended to reverse back to Shobnall Basin to turn, but there was a crosswind so I didn't risk it. When the flow of traffic permitted (and a glitch in the tech fixed), let go and headed to Dallow Lock and descended. Left the locking crew there and went to Horninglow Basin to wind (passing "Jubilee" on the way) and returned to Dallow Lock. Ascended, picking up the crew again, and returned through the festival site, then back southwest toward Alrewas.
Fhi made her decision as to where we should drop her for her flight, and a rough plan was made for the next few days. Continued up the locks to Alrewas. The north moorings were full so, not wanting to risk finding nothing at Fradley, we moored at the first available mooring at the south end, by Bridge 48. "Jubilee" moored the other side of the bridge later in the afternoon, and "Spring Water" came in ahead of us in the evening. Had a chat with Andy & Sue.
|8.86 miles||6 locks||4.57 hrs||3.25 lmph|
Three-day festival hosted by the Inland Waterways Association , and held at a different location each year. A total of around 80 boats attended this year, along with trading and charity stalls.
We renewed contact with boating friends last seen at the Festival at Worcester 2021, and made new ones. Pat and I did stints at the BCF stand while Fhi assisted at the WoW (Wild on Water) stand (activities for children). Had a visit aboard and long chat with Ann. Attended the services on-site on Sunday. On Monday, Fhi had a visit from Steve, "Man of Honour" at her wedding.
Weather was kind for most of the weekend, with only a few drips during Monday afternoon. Great attendance Saturday and Sunday, but Monday was much quieter.
Up and on the move early for the final leg to Burton. Beautiful sunny morning with a light mist on the water. Everyone else seemed to have had the same idea. Descended Wood End Lock, then on down through Shadehouse, Middle and Junction Locks with the assistance of CRT Volunteers. Pulled in at the services to clear everything before the weekend.
Once finished, continued on down, descending Keepers, Hunt's, Common and Bagnall Locks to Alrewas. Very busy as there had been an arts festival during the week. Dropped onto the river at Alrewas Lock and headed downstream to Wychnor Lock, to find a queue due to a broken paddle. Spaced out again after the bottleneck, we continued towards Burton down Barton, Tatenhill and Branston Locks. Spoke briefly with James & Hazel on "Gabriel", and spotted "Amethyst" but with no sign of David or Sue. Arrived at Shobnall and found our mooring, meeting up with other BCF members.
Walked onto the festival site and checked in at Waterspace, then checked in at the BCF stand. Returning to "Paws", we got her ready for the weekend. Michael & Beccy on "Shorelark" moored ahead of us.
|10.04 miles||13 locks||6.23 hrs||3.70 lmph|
Despite yesterday's forecast for today saying 'no rain', we woke to a misty morning, which had turned to drizzle by the time we were ready to go. On the move promptly, heading round, through Tixall Wide, to Great Haywood Junction. Turned right onto the Trent & Mersey Canal, heading south. Descended Haywood and Colwich Locks into the pound to Rugeley. Noted a Kingfisher just after leaving Colwich Lock. Kept a good eye out as we passed "The Taft", but no sign of Peter or Julie. The drizzle had increased to moderate raain by late morning and Fhi and I were soaked through (Pat was dry and warm as she had been baking). Approaching Rugeley, we found Tony & Jacqui aboard "Timewarp" so stopped to buy a supply of fudge (and, of course, have a catch-up). We decided to stop for a lunch break before moving on, in the hope the rain would ease. In case it didn't, Fhi (since she was wet anyway) walked up to Aldi to save a second stop at Morrison/Tesco on the other side of town. I dried out, then Pat & I had lunch.
On Fhi's return, she got lunch while I let go and got on the move again - the rain had actually stopped. Continued on through the town and on through Armitage and Handsacre. We had originally intended to go as far as Shadehouse Lock, but decided that if there were no moorings there we would be stuck until late on, so moored above the lock-landing at Wood End Lock for the night. The rain stayed away and it became a lovely sunny afternoon.
With the failing twilight, bats came out to play
|12.63 miles||2 locks||5.41 hrs||2.71 lmph|
Rain set in overnight, continuing as drizzle after breakfast. On the move quickly, moving up to the services berth for loo, water and rubbish.
Once clear, started down the Gailey Flight (4 locks) then continued downwards with the spaced out locks into Penkridge. It was very busy there, and rumours abounded that Great Haywood, Fradley and Alrewas were similar. Continued down again, making good time. At Park Gate Lock, we met a queue, so were held up slightly, but once we had all got down, we were spaced out again and getting on well. Lunch on the move again. On again northwards through Acton Trussell, taking in the locks as we went. Continued round to Tixall, taking the first suitable space after Tixall Lock (just in case it was crowded). Met the couple who bought "Dilly Dally" from the Dilnots - they are thoroughly enjoying their cruising.
The earlier drizzle cleared during the morning, giving sunny spells during the afternoon. It returned just as we moored up, so a good day.
|12.05 miles||12 locks||6.79 hrs||3.54 lmph|
Problems overnight - around midnight, we were subjected to a group of very noisy youths who persisted in setting off their own car alarms (or they had a toy which sounded like a police car), and shouting and laughing outside the pub. Someone eventually shouted back and told them to move on. They got in their cars and did doughnuts before leaving. Half and hour later some of them returned on foot, taunting the person who had shouted, but getting no reaction, they eventually left by 01:00.
Slept well after that and we were up slightly early, ready for a heavy day of locking. On the move promptly and headed back out to Horseley Fields Junction, turning right into Wolverhampton. Set off down "The 21", all the locks against us. We did meet up with a couple of boats coming up, but realised another boat must be ahead when we came across empty locks again. Found out about ¾ of the way down that the leading boat was "Delta". We ended up assisting them, which helped us.
Clearing Bottom Lock, we turned right at Aldersley Junction onto the Staffs & Worcs Canal, heading north. Lunch on the move. Noted "Bimble" alongside at Autherley Junction, but no sign of Bob. Continued north, but were forced to pull in around Cross Green to check the weedhatch for a fouled prop. Weed removed, continued again towards Gailey. "Bimble" caught us up at Hatherton Junction and we formed a convoy of 4 boats through the section by the chemical works. Eventually reached the 1st visitor mooring at Gailey and immediately pulled in for the night. Had a chat with Bob as he passed.
|11.63 miles||21 locks||7.25 hrs||4.51 lmph|
After a quiet night (needed after the busy time over the weekend), we were up earlier than usual hoping to get moving quickly. At the point we were ready to go, another boat was on the services berth so we had to wait. Eventually reversed back, serviced and winded "Paws".
Finally on the move, we headed back towards Bentley Bridge. The weed seemed thicker than ever and it took us longer to get back. Arriving at Bentley Bridge, we found that the Arm was full but that there was space outside, behind "Delta", one of the trading boats "The Beanie Boat" . Nici gave us a hand alongside as the prop fouled.
Pat & Fhi went shopping while I cleared e-paprwork. When they got back, Fhi gave me a hand investigating the fouled prop - a ladies fabric shoulder bag with webbing straps, bundled up using a piece of electric cable! Celebratory dinner at Cosmo (celebrating Fhi attaining her degree) - excellent as usual.
Day started out sunny but cloud built from lunchtime and drizzle arrived mid-afternoon. Not as bad as we expected, so a bonus.
|13.35 miles||0 locks||6.50 hrs||2.05 lmph|
Two days of Canal Festival. We went "open house" during both days, inviting towpath walkers to come aboard and see a modern residential narrowboat. Had a visit from Richard Alford of Waterways Chaplaincy . Sunday went to the Methodist Church for morning service. Very busy both days, with plenty of visitors to "Paws" - the children in particular love coming on board.
Weather kind both days - despite rain in the forecast, none came during open hours.
Fhi arrived aboard at 08:40, tired after the flight and bus ride. Lovely sunny morning, with a fresh light breeze.
Spent the day preparing the boat to go "open-house" over the weekend - BCF banner up, anchor re-stowed in the forward hatch. Also collected my medications, and went shopping for items for Fhi. Reversed up to the services berth for loo, water and rubbish (that should tide us over the weekend without further movements).
Jade into hospital for a daybed. Short full anaesthetic and chip removed. Home by mid-adternoon, none the worse.
Heavy rain again during the early hours had cleared by breakfast. Engine, shaft and seal checked, no apparent damage
On the move fairly quickly, continuing eastwards. The boat which left before us was having great difficulty with the weed and we caught them up fairly soon after departure. They allowed us past but we were still slowed by the weed. Continued through the eastern parts of Wolverhampton, the northern parts of Walsall, and through Bloxwich to Pelsall Common. Spotted a kingfisher just south of Sneyd Junction. The rubbish decreased from Pelsall, but the weed problem continued right into Brownhills. We headed straight to our berth so that I could get my prescription to a pharmacy today - we will reverse back for services tomorrow. Met up with John & Judith on "Serena", moored astern of us.
Cloudy day with sunny spells. Rain set in just before dinner.
News from Fhi was that she had landed in the UK and would be getting the overnight National Express coach via Birmingham. She would join us tomorrow morning.
|13.38 miles||0 locks||6.34 hrs||2.11 lmph|
The overnight rain had decreased to a light drizzle by morning. Just ready to move off for services when another boat came in and went on first - slight delay, but no problem .
On the move once the other boat cleared, serviced then headed out on today's trip. Returned north to Factory Junction and turned left towards Wolverhampton. Weed pretty bad, slowing us up by about ⅓. Passed Deepfields Junction (leading onto what used to be the Wednesbury Oak Loop, now the Bradley Arm). Noted that the family of Little Grebes were still in residence, and had chicks. Lunch on the move. Continued on but ended up with bad noises from the shaft, suggesting a fouled prop cutting off the cooling water to the stern seal. Emergency stop just before Dixon's Street Bridge. Cleared the prop of a large ball of weed and a small amount of plastic. Allowed the shaft and seal to cool a little, then continued. All appeared OK. Turned right at Horseley Fields Junction onto the Wyrley & Essington Canal, continuing to Wednesfield Junction where the Bentley Canal turned off. Only a very short arm still exists and has been turned into a mooring.
Once moored, we headed off to Sainsbury's and other stops for necessary stores.
The drizzle died out just as we were leaving, although it remained damp and cool for the whole day.
|6.65 miles||0 locks||3.19 hrs||2.08 lmph|
Another cool night, but the forecast rain never materialised. Up and on the move promptly, moving round to Sherborne Wharf where we took fuel. Once ready, we continued back westwards, passing the junction for Netherton and continuing on to Factory Locks. Ascended the flight (3 locks) as one boat came down. At the top, we turned left on the Wolverhampton Level (as it is now known - it is actually a continuation of the Birmingham Canal we were on in the city centre). Passed through Tipton and turned right onto the Dudley No.1 Canal and headed in to the visitor moorings at the Black Country Living Museum. This is far as most boats can go - only electric boats can pass through the Dudley Tunnel to Parkhead Junction (where we were on our visit to Merry Hill). Moored up for the day. 'Fixed' the vacuum which 'was broken' - blocked pipe!
The forecast rain finally arrived late afternoon and continued overnight, with some very heavy showers.
Jade seen at ENT and told to come back on Friday if was still stuck.
|8.86 miles||3 locks||4.32 hrs||2.75 lmph|
A cooler night, and a cloudy morning. Up and on the move promptly. I had realised that the fuel had now gone below half a tank, and calculations suggested we would not be at a location to get fuel for about 10 days, by which time we would be in a rush to get from Brownhills to Burton (due to the closure on the Daw End Branch). We decided to kill a little more time by returning to central Birmingham today and fuelling at Sherborne Wharf. Retraced our route from last Friday, returning to the same mooring at Brindley Place.
Fuel is only available between 09:00 and 12:00, so we'll get that tomorrow morning. Pat took a walk up to the Sainsbury's Local for a few items to tide us over.
Teddy is now officially famous - one of the trip boats going past announced that if the passengers looked at the next boat, they would see a teddy waving.
The cloud cover remained for the whole day, bringing temperatures a good 4°C-5°C lower than of late - very pleasant cruising .
Panic phonecall received late evening from daughter - she flies in from Italy on Thursday, but her train on Friday (not a strike day) has just been cancelled. Fortunately, we have managed to find a solution by bus so she should still be able to join us and not waste the holiday sitting in our house. Look forward to her arriving on Friday.
Also received a text from Kenney that his younger daughter had stuck a chip up her nose and they couldn't get it down. They were off to A&E. (Referred to ENT tomorrow).
|9.09 miles||0 locks||3.63 hrs||2.51 lmph|
Good night's sleep again, despite the heat. Up promptly, then went to Cole Street Methodist Church for their morning service. After coffee and a chat, walked back via the Bumble Hole & Warrens Hill Local Nature Reserve visitor centre. Had ice cream and a chat before returning to "Paws" for a light lunch. Quiet afternoon in the shade.
Had a visit from Ellie in the evening. Great to catch up again - always a pleasure to have her aboard.
Clouds starting to build by late evening, hopefuly a sign of a change in the weather.
A very quiet night, except for the Canada geese who got spooked around 02:00 and woke us all.
Mid-morning took a daunder out past Withymoor Island and Blowers' Green, and south to Merry Hill. Superdrug didn't have the item required (Selly Oak hadn't had it in four visits over 7 days). Had a lazy lunch before returning north. Stopped at Blowers' Green for water then returned to Bumble Hole. Miraculously, our berth from last night was still free so moored up there. Noted that there were a number of coot families in this part of the system.
|7.70 miles||2 locks||4.02 hrs||2.41 lmph|
Awake early, so up to allow Pat to get to the Bullring early, then to St Martin's Market for opening time. She rang me on her way back and I took "Paws" round to the services berth at Cambrian Wharf.
Once Pat was back aboard and servicing finished, we let go, reversed out to Old Turn then headed west along the 'New Main Line', stopping for gas at Sherborne Wharf's fuelling station. Continuing along the New Main Line" (comprising the "Birmingham Canal" to Smethwith, changing to the "Smethwick Bypass" round to Bromford, then joining the Wednesbury Old Canal to Pudding Green Junction and onto Telford's 'Island Line'), we proceeded as far as Dudley Port Junction. Turning left onto the Netherton Tunnel Branch, we headed underneath the old "Birmingham Canal" (now known as the "Wolverhampton Level") and through the Netherton Tunnel to join the Dudley No.2 Canal at Windmill End. Moored on the grassy side.
|9.31 miles||0 locks||3.63 hrs||2.56 lmph|
Up promptly and on the move (finally). Winded just south of the mooring and headed, for the last time, northwards into Birmingham. We just dawdled, allowing faster boats to overtake, and were held at Edgbaston Tunnel while a convoy of boats came south. Found that there was a mooring available in Brindley Place, so reversed in and moored up just before lunch.
Pat decided she would go to the Bullring in the morning as her herb & spice supplier would be at St Martin's Market as well. A quiet afternoon.
|3.60 miles||0 locks||2.05 hrs||1.75 lmph|
The Admiral announced that she wanted to do a load of shopping, and we would be staying here tonight .
Apart from the shopping trip in the morning, a very quiet day.
A quieter night than expected considering it was the closing ceremony for the Commonwealth Games. The next heatwave is starting to make itself felt - warmer than we would have liked overnight.
Spent the morning at the Sealife Centre . Had a great time in general, but the highlights were the sea-otters. Unfortunately, they do not have a café so we had to leave sooner than we would have liked.
Lunch aboard, then we went for a walk to the Lego shop. On return, we let go and headed back to Selly Oak - same mooring as before.
Collected both the parcels, and settled in for (hopefully) our last night here.
|3.34 miles||0 locks||1.34 hrs||2.49 lmph|
Up promptly for a trip for services. Set a load of washing as soon as we were up so that the 'old' water was used up, then headed back into the centre as we did on Friday. Unfortunately, whilst letting a faster boat through, we picked up a 'puffer jacket' in the prop. Fortunately, it came out easily and didn't delay us too much. Elected to go to Cambrian Wharf this time in order to clear rubbish as well.
Once finished, reversed back to Old Turn and checked Brindley Place - no moorings available - noted that the single 7-day mooring was free at Symphony Court so put "Paws" on that instead. A quick lock-up and off to Costa for a very late lunch.
While at Cambrian, a lady told us that the Games 'Bull' was in the square at the Art Gallery, and was doing a 10-minute display on the hour until 18:00. After lunch, we walked round and watched the 15:00 show - very impressive! Walked back to "Paws" and had a quiet remainder to the afternoon.
News through during the day that both our parcels were ready for collection so intend to return to Selly Oak tomorrow afternoon to collect.
|3.79 miles||0 locks||1.84 hrs||2.05 lmph|
Still sat awaiting parcel, although I have received a dispatch notification.
Routine chores on Saturday.
Long lie on Sunday. Three-way telecall with Kenney in Kirkcaldy and Fhi in Italy.
Another cool but sunny morning. Took our time getting ready, then headed for the centre of Birmingham to get services. Headed north through the University district and past the Queen Elizabeth hospital, "The Vale" and Edgbaston, to Holliday Wharf where we moored for services.
Once complete, we decided to continue to Brindley Place, intending to moor if there were a space. Unfortunately, no spaces available, so turned and headed back through the centre again. The centre was very busy with visitors, all having a good time. The bridges had been decorated with flower baskets and it looked very festive.
We returned to Selly Oak for a late lunch aboard and another quiet afternoon waiting for the Herbalife parcel.
|6.66 miles||0 locks||2.66 hrs||2.51 lmph|
Up early this morning (call of nature!) after another quiet night. On the move promptly, returning northwest towards King's Norton Junction. Passed through the liftbridge at Shirley, through Warstock, then the tunnel at Brandwood. Disappointingly, we didn't see any bats this time, although that was partially mitigated by noting a muntjac deer in the undergrowth just north of Shirley. At King's Norton Junction, we turned right on the Worcs & Brum, north, for Selly Oak, where we moored again at the visitor mooring.
After lunch, I walked round for my Amazon parcel, then Pat went for a walk into the town while I caught up on e-paperwork. The parcel from Herbalife is still outstanding so we will have to come back after clearing the loo tomorrow.
A much cooler day, although the sun was still out.
|8.38 miles||1 locks||3.64 hrs||2.58 lmph|
Lovely mooring, beautifully quiet - heard tawny owls calling during the night. A 'bitty' day planned.
Pat decided that she wanted to do a load of washing before we left, then top up the water later in the day. She went round and cleaned all the port-glasses while the washing was on. On the move mid-morning, continuing southeast. lovely rural feel running down the avenue in the dappled shade. Went as far as the M42 motorway bridge, then winded "Paws" at Rotherham's Oak, returning to Bridge 20 and mooring up. Went to Wedge's Bakery for bread, cakes and other goodies, and stayed for lunch - they do sandwiches and baked potatoes, all for take-away (although you can sit in and eat from the container if you wish).
After lunch, we got under way again, intending to stop at Lady Lane Wharf for loo and water. On arriving, they advised that they were sinking a new water borehole and could not supply, and that the loo would cost £10 per cassette - we elected to pass on that, and returned to our mooring from last night.
Parcel from Amazon ready for collection so moving back to Selly Oak tomorrow. Delay in parcel from Herbalife so may have to make a second return (Saturday) after clearing the loo in central Birmingham on Friday.
|4.89 miles||0 locks||2.35 hrs||2.08 lmph|
An unexpectedly quiet night on the towpath, the only sounds filtering through being the ambulances and the heavy rain on the roof. Another prompt start, returning south to Kings Norton Junction, and turning left onto the North Stratford Canal. Having passed through the guillotine-gated stop-lock (originally a 1" rise, now open through), the scenery rapidly changes from the unkempt banks of industrialisation to shabby but servicable backs of "council-style" housing, then out into tree-arched avenues and more up-market houses and back into rural scenery again after Shirley. As we passed through Brandwood Tunnel, we were 'buzzed' by several bats, which was an unusual experience for us. Were assisted through the liftbridge at Shirley by another boater.
By the time we had reached Dicken's Heath, we realised we were running late on our hope for lunch at Wedge's Bakery at Waring's Green so moored up between Bridges 14 and 15. Lunch, then a (fairly) quiet afternoon - we did have a family come aboard for a look round (3 children aged six can be a little noisy).
The wind picked up during the afternoon, and we had a couple of light showers.
|8.39 miles||1 locks||3.38 hrs||2.78 lmph|
Lovely sunny day to start the new month. Up and on the move promptly. Moved past Bridge 47 and stopped again at the water point, then got on the move properly towards Birmingham. Transitted Wast Hills Tunnel in around ½-hour and continued north to King's Norton Junction. We had intended to empty the loo cassette but couldn't find the Elsan point - it may have been in the CRT junction building, but that is currently a building site. Continued on to Selly Oak, the canalsides becoming more industrialised and the canal more dirty. Noted two 'lads' on trail-bikes roaring along the towpath just north of the junction (incident report sent to CRT). At Selly Oak, we winded "Paws" and reversed to the visitor mooring for a major storing at Sainsbury.
Storing complete, and after a late lunch, Pat decided we would be better overnighting here, rather than returning to Kings Norton as originally planned. The remainder of the afternoon was spent putting shopping away and chatting with the couple astern, who were marshal volunteers for the Games. Orders placed with Herbalife (through Kenney) and Amazon, both for delivery here later in the week.
We sent a second incident report to CRT, this time concerning a bicycle ridden too fast, nearly hitting a child. An email of complaint was also sent to Countrywide Cruisers concerning one of their hireboats travelling too fast past moored boats.
The sun continued throughout the day but not too hot to make it uncomfortable (either that or we're getting used to it ). The cloud then built during the evening, with rain setting in by bedtime.
|5.55 miles||0 locks||2.33 hrs||2.38 lmph|