Saturday, 14 June 2014

Star City and the Solo Boater

Both of us woke up early and we were cruising by 7.30am quietly slipping away from the overnight mooring at the Dog & Doublet.  Hopefully we didn’t disturb our neighbours.

There was mist on the water from the view out the side hatch as we sat down for a cold breakfast.

A boater had passed us going in the opposite direction just on dusk last night and it proved to be our day as some of the locks were in our favour.

First lock of the day

Curdworth Lock 6 was very familiar.  As we approached in in 2009 a vehicle appeared and the BW worker went forward and set all the locks for us.  Very helpful!

Go girl!

I noticed a couple of the Curdworth locks had recesses in the side walls with a horizontal steel bar.  Why are they there?

I remember Curdworth Tunnel from our previous trips but couldn’t place it.  What I remembered was the gap between the mouth of the tunnel and the bridge.  Last time we passed this way there were two boats moored in the gap.  Today the section was empty.

Looking back through the bridge hole to the mouth of the tunnel.

As we approached Minworth Middle Lock we could see a boat had arrived above the lock.  To our surprise a member of the crew turned the lock against us and proceeded to fill it.  Oh well, we’re not in a hurry.  The edge below the lock was very shallow and it took some effort to enable Jan to disembark (getting nautical here).  When Jan reached the lock she found a solo boater in the lock with the lower paddles raised.  When he observed Jan approaching he left the bottom gate without a word and climbed back on his boat.  Obviously he expected Jan to work the lock for him!  I’d have turned around and walked away, but Jan just opened the gate and closed the paddles.  He didn’t say a word to her as he left and just stuck his nose in the air ignoring me as he passed. 

Dear steerer of nb Hummingbird….. we know why you’re solo…. who would want to be with you!

We almost thought we’d discovered new toilet facilities on the off-side near Wood Lane Bridge

Could these be “long drops”?  No!  It’s a Highways Maintenance Lorry.  Slightly further on is the factory situated over the canal.  This is something we both remembered.

But why build a factory above a canal?

A good place to wait for the rain to pass but too dark for painting the boat.  Further on is Salford Junction.  Also referred to as “Spaghetti Junction”.  The reason why can be explained by the following map screen dump.

There are four levels of transport here.  The canal junction at the bottom and three road grade interchanges above.  You feel like you’re in the bowels of the earth passing underneath all that concrete.

Paul (nb Waterways Routes) had suggested that rather than attempting to moor at Cuckoo Wharf on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal we reverse down the Grand Union and moor at Star City.  It’s the furthest we’ve ever reversed Waiouru!  I thought Star City might be a casino but Jan looked it up on the internet and it an indoor amusement park.  Sometimes known as “Stab City” <gulp>.

It took us almost six hours to reach Star City, which is longer than we’d normally cruise in a day.  However it means tomorrow will be a much shorter cruise.

The afternoon was spent on maintenance.  I did a more permanent repair on the horn switch wiring and then replaced a spade connector on the headlight switch.  When doing both tasks I realised the decklight wasn’t working.  Another faulty joint!  I should point out this is a small bit of the wiring that I didn’t do when Waiouru was built.  We shouldn’t have any further problems with this wiring.  Back in the boat Jan was done on her hands and knees worshiping my feet sweeping the carpet with a hearth brush.  It’s been a hot day… Must be beer o’clock!


John said...

Hi Tom,

You missed a mode of transport at Salford Junction. It is also a junction for several railway lines. So three forms of transport all have junctions have the same place canals at the bottom, rail next and then above the other two road.

Although the popular name for the road network junction is 'Spaghetti Junction' Its official name is The Gravelly Hill Interchange.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi John

Well I hadn't realized there were rail lines and never saw or heard a train. We must have passed over the canals by road on a number of occasions without realizing the significance of the location!