Saturday, 21 September 2013

Day of the Triffids (or the weed taking over!)

Walking around the Brownhills area last night gave me the impression that the town fathers are doing their best to present the town in a positive light but the local economy is struggling.  Many of the shops on the high street appear to have closed along with the local market square.  However the area around the canal was well maintained and the town has an interesting statue on the main road junction.

If you have click on the above hyperlink you will have read Brownhills has been struggling since the local coal mines closed several decades ago.

My evening walk took me to the Catshill Junction.

I walked along the towpath back to Waiouru stopping to photograph a high rise apartment block on the town side.

Waiouru was safely moored on the opposite bank

Today’s cruising plan was to turn left at Catshill Junction and go up the Anglesey Branch to the end and then return turning left on the Daw End Branch.  We planned to stop for the day on the mooring above the first of the Rushall Locks at Longwood Junction.

Anglesey Basin was full of weed (top red arrow) and the section between the other two red arrows on the Daw End Branch (map above) were also shallow and full of weed.

The length of canal to Anglesey Basin was mostly deep and clear with rural views to the east. 

At Ogley Junction the Anglesey Branch turns left but the overgrowing trees don’t make that clear.  We almost went straight ahead into the abandoned Litchfield and Hatherton Canals.

Oops… make sure you turn left

It would be great if they could complete the restoration and include a link to the Trent & Mersey or the Coventry canals.

We were both slightly amused when it passed under the M6 Motorway as we have probably driven over the canal on a number of occasions without realising it!  The M6 also passes very close to the end of the Cannock Extension and Norton Canes but yesterday we thought Waiouru was far from the hustle and bustle of modern life! Smile

We had planned to stop at Anglesey Basin and walk around Chasewater Reservoir but the basin was choked with dense weed making winding extremely difficult. 

Anglesey Basin with Chasewater Reservoir earthen dam in the background

By the time we had been able to wind and exit the basin the engine smelt very hot and Waiouru could only crawl irrespective of the throttle position.  I saw little point in attempting to clear the propeller whilst in the basin and we managed to limp out stopping under the M6 bridge for 20 minutes to remove a huge “weed ball” from the propeller. I also lifted the engine hatch to allow the compartment to cool. 

It was a pleasant cruise back to Catshill Junction where we turned left heading towards Longwood Junction.  The section of canal between Aldridge Marine and Longwood proved to mostly be shallow and weedy with rushes closing in from both sides.

Most of this section of canal was done on ‘tick-over’ with numerous bursts of reverse in an effort to clear the weed from the propeller.  Eventually it got so bad that another trip down the weed hatch was required.  The reason I was unable to clear the propeller with bursts of reverse became apparent when I discovered the remains of a large jute bag.

We arrived at Longwood Junction around 2.45pm to find the 48 hour moorings vacant.  Another trip down the weed hatch and we are prepared for tomorrow.

Moored at Longwood Junction

I wandered down to the top lock and the former lock keepers cottage to look for the facilities before taking a photo back towards Waiouru.

The remainder of the afternoon was warm and sunny so we spent the time catching up on minor maintenance tasks; including Jan cutting my hair.  The clippers have now paid for themself.


Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

I really like the way the word "being" is bolted onto the sign which says "being restored by...".

Great confidence that the word "being" can be unbolted one day.

Tucker said...

Love your pictures of the BCN.
Although it is in our local area we have not explored them in the boat yet so must put it on our to do list.
Bob and June

Tom and Jan said...

Bob & June,

You must cruise the northern BCN. It's nothing like we expected. Much of it is rural and the local boaters are very friendly!