Our winter plan is to cruise those Midlands canals not previously covered. We have spent almost three days on the excellent moorings at Star City and in that time only saw one other boat. Today we decided to take advantaged of the forecasted good weather and make a start up the Tame Valley Canal. There was frost over the wooden decking of the floating mooring pontoon and boat gunwales so I wasn’t prepared to crab my way down the off-side gunwale to remove the Refleks stove flue. Instead we cruised down to the narrows of the former Nechells Lock where I jumped off and removed the flue as we slowly moved through it. At Spaghetti Junction (Salford Junction) we turned to port (left) passed the entrance to the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal and Cuckoo Wharf.
The gauging island at the start of the Tame Valley Canal reminds you that you’re on the BCN.
WE found it rather ironic that the first section of the canal has the M6 Motorway directly overhead. We must have travelled this part of the M6 at least a dozen times without realizing the Tame Valley Canal was directly underneath us.
There was a slight problem at the second lock when neither of our two handcuff keys would unlock the top paddles. The square shaft inside the anti-vandal lock had been worn to a round shape on both paddles. After carefully examining the towpath side paddle mechanism I realised we weren’t the first to experience this problem. Someone has given the anti-vandal lock a good belting with club hammer and had broken the mounting bracket. With some careful winding I was able to raise and lower the paddle bypassing the anti-vandal lock.
You can see the broken mounting bracket in the above photo. We have emailed CRT about the problem.
It was just above this lock (No12) that I noticed the red diesel sign.
Waiouru’s diesel tank is still half full so we didn’t bother to stop and check the price
We didn’t want to complete the entire flight today and after looking at the map decided to moor below Lock 10. If we’re lucky the internet coverage on the mooring should be good.
It was a bonus to discover the planned mooring location had bollards on the off-side. Another semi-secure mooring location.
The forecast is for rain all day tomorrow which means we’re likely to stay on this mooring until Monday. Time to start looking for a nearby pub that serves a Sunday roast!