Friday, 13 June 2014

To the “Dog & Doublet”

Yesterday evening I went for a walk along the towpath towards Birmingham.  It was partially a recce to check the location of the pump out facilities at Fazeley Mill Marina and then I walked on to the Drayton Footbridge.

We first came upon this unusual looking bridge in 2007 when doing the Warwickshire ring.  Then we next went under it in 2009 doing the Stourport and Black Country Rings.

The Geograph website states

Birmingham & Fazeley Canal: Drayton Footbridge and Swivel Bridge

This elaborate structure of two staired turrets with crenellated parapets with a footbridge joining them over the canal is a gothic folly. Although the main road south out of Fazeley is immediately to the right there is not, and never appears to have been, anything other than open fields to the left. In earlier times the swivel bridge may have been kept in position across the canal, and on the odd occasion when it needed to be shut to allow a boat to pass would have also been the odd occasion when the footbridge would have needed to have been used.
The footbridge and the swivel bridge on the right, which is now left swung back to allow canal traffic to pass through without hindrance, are both Grade II Listed structures. The National Heritage website describes the footbridge as late 18th Century implying that it was contemporary with the opening of the canal in 1789.

I just had to walk over it and then made my way back to Waiouru via the A4091 road where I passed the entrance to Drayton Manor Theme Park.

This morning it was a rather late start as I needed to return to Ventura Retail Park to buy the last of the food and a chisel from Homebase.  The reason for the latter purchase will become obvious in a few days.

Three Ashby Hireboats passed us just as we were preparing to depart the mooring.  The first really bashed us around.  The reason was obvious as they were towing a white knuckled water skier. The other two passed at a more reasonable ‘tick-over’.

I surprised myself by doing the turn onto the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal in one bite and without having to use the Girlie button (oops sorry Marilyn) bow thruster.  This is the view immediately after the junction.

One lone boat on the 7 day moorings.  The previous times we have been this way they were all full.  There is a wool shop and cafe in the building to the hard left of the photo.  It’s rather unfortunate they don’t have any signage and there is no access from the towpath.  Jan would have liked to have a look!

On the opposite side is a Methodist church.

A little research on google revealed the following information from the Methodist church website

In the late 19th century the Free Methodists felt that The Hut did not meet the needs of the ever-growing congregation. A plot of land was available in Aldergate and purchased for £250. The memorial stones were laid at Easter 1886. Instead of inscribing the names on the stones themselves, leaving them to be erased by the elements, they were instead engraved on a brass plaque, which can still be seen today in the entrance to the Church. By late summer 1886, the building had been completed, resplendent with spirelet at a cost of £2250 (a more modest affair than The Temple) and was opened for worship on 29th September 1886. 

I noticed the majority of the boats on private moorings along the offside and near the church had BCF (Boaters Christian Fellowship) marking or decals and wondered if these mooring belong to the church?

We had a very good pump out at Fazeley Mill Marina.  The staff were very friendly and obliging.  Actually the tank had only reached the first orange LED but every inch counts (or so I’m informed) and we decided to raise Waiouru’s stern by a couple of inches before heading in to Birmingham.

It wasn’t a long cruise to the “Dog & Doublet” pub only stopping to top up the water tank below Bodymoor Heath Bridge. 

One of three locks today

Another of those attractive former lock keeper cottages

We’ve stopped at the pub in the past but this is the first time we’ve been able to moor on the 48 hour rings.  It was a late lunch in the pub (2.00pm).  Jan must have been dehydrated after working Waiouru up the three locks because she had twice her usual intake of alcoholic beverage.  Fortunately she won’t have to cook dinner.  But then “garbage guts” her husband would eat anything put in front of him.

A longer and harder day tomorrow as we want to reach Salford Junction (spaghetti junction).

No comments :