Thursday, 19 September 2013

Down the drain…..

It was rather noisy spending the night in Broad Street Canal Basin at the top of the Wolverhampton 21 flight.  More for Jan than me, which is one of the few advantages of being slightly deaf!  Around 8.30pm there was the sound of a large crowd of people singing; or yelling if you’re not tone deaf.  They appeared to be a group of approximately 100 football supporters being escorted by police away from the railway station.  Jan then heard people moving and talking outside the boat between 3-4am.  I slept on!  However I did go for a walk around the Wolverhampton CBD to get a “feel for the layout” in anticipation of taking Jan on a foraging operation shopping in the morning.  Whilst out I used the old Pentax to take a couple of night photos.

This morning we walked the short distance into the Wolverhampton CBD as Jan wanted to check out Marks & Spencers.  Unfortunately they didn’t have what she wanted.  On the way back I pointed out a newsagent where she could buy her weekly magazines.  In less than a minute she was out of the shop with an angry look on her face.  The price of the magazines was £1.98 and the shop wanted an additional 50p if she used her debit card.  The magazines can wait for a supermarket shop!

Last night’s mooring

We slipped the mooring and moved around the corner into the CRT arm where there are boater facilities.

Jan then struck up a conversation with one of the CRT staff who noticed the flag on the stern and mentioned he was going to NZ for a four week holiday in late November.  He had hired a motorhome and was planning to spend two weeks in each island.  Whilst he quizzed Jan about NZ she reciprocated by asking questions about our planned journey around the BCN.  He was able to confirm the Wyley & Essington had been dredged during the last couple of years and the weed should now be starting to die back.  He also mentioned where to moor and what area to avoid. 

Having completed the essentials we started down the BCN Main Line to Horseley Fields Junction where we turned left on the “Curly Wyrley” (Wyrley & Essington).

Turn left here……..

This end of the canal is a mixture of new high rise residential dwellings and light industry.  Whilst the water level was good the weed was already encroaching and it wasn’t long before the propeller was fouled by some of that long thin green ‘hair’ type of weed.  After clearing the propeller I managed to establish 1200rpm was about the maximum we could do without the propeller “grabbing” stuff off the bottom.

Looking back at the beginning of the western end of the Curly Wyrley.  Not much weed here!

We stopped for lunch just beyond the first of the 48 hour moorings (left red arrow in the screen dump below).  The moorings are actually in a short arm in the midst of a relatively new retail park.  Of interest to Jan were Hobbycraft, Sainsbury’s and Aldi.

Screen dump from Waterway Routes canal maps

The length of canal between the left and middle arrows mostly passed through residential areas.  The water is actually relatively clear and it’s possible to see all the rubbish on the canal bed.  As we approached one bridge hole we could see a youth throwing a plastic bottle full of water into the canal on the end of a piece of string.  He called out “I’m trying to snag a bike in the canal!” We stopped short of the bridge and gave him our boat hook which he successfully used to drag the bike from the canal.  After thanking us and returning our pole he mounted the bike and disappeared.  Somehow I suspect it wasn’t his bike!  But at least it’s no longer in the canal.

The following photo of a bridge confused the hell out of me.  One end appeared to be made of brick and the middle rippled like it was made from water?  All was revealed when we got closer.  It was clad in polished sheet stainless steel and the water effect was a reflection off the surface of the canal.

The ‘water’ bridge

Waiouru’s reflection as we pass under it

Further along there was evidence someone has been having a bath in the canal.

It was just after this that we hit something with a “whooph” and the water around the stern appeared to be full of kapok.  Steering became heavier and it felt like Waiouru was dragging a parachute.  Giving a couple of hard bursts in reverse only partially resolved the problem.

East of Adam & Eve Bridge (yes that’s the official name) the canal loses it’s residential properties and is bordered by parklands and a reserve.  The rubbish in the canal bed has gone and there are reed beds on either side.

The above is a photo of the M6 Motorway crossing the canal.  We stopped for the day at Sneyd Junction as suggested by the CRT employee back at the basin facilities.  I went down the weed hatch with the bread knife and managed to clear the propeller recovering some of the mattress cover, but unfortunately not all of it!

Sneyd Junction used to be the location of a BW workshop.  It’s no longer a workshop but the buildings remain and are being used by a canoe business.

Apparently the right end used to be the joinery shop and the left was the blacksmith.  The centre with the bay window was the foreman’s office.

There are six permanent moorings here with shorepower.  The usual CRT facilities are also available and the entire area is secured in the evening with key access (not a BW key).

Tomorrow we plan to complete the Cannock Extension Canal (an arm) and then cruise to Anglesey Basin.

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