We awoke to a cold day with the first signs of ice on the inside of one of the Houdini frames. This tends to happen because we place an insulated foam bung in each of the portholes and the Houdini hatches.
It got even colder when we attempted to move off the mooring. Something was around the prop causing a lot of drag. Nothing for it but to strip down and place those lovely warm arms into the freezing water. It felt like a tube was wound around the blades. Some cutting with the bread knife assisted in its removal. The water temperature had numbed my hands and I needed to be careful not to slice them with the knife.
At Gorse Farm Bridge there is an indentation in the western towpath side of the canal which we suspect is the remains of the entrance to the former Hampstead Colliery Canal Basin. Beyond it is one of those gauging islands where the south bound loaded boats from the basin would have been gauged to calculate their toll.
Chimney Bridge is rather interesting. It is quite high and our initial thoughts were it was a railway bridge. However a pedestrian was walking across it so it had to be a footbridge. But why the wide piers?
As we cruised under it we realised the original spans had been replaced with reinforced concrete.
There’s a road at either end so it can’t have originally been a railway bridge.
At Rushall Junction we turned west towards Ocker Hill. The busy M5 Motorway accompanied us for the first part of the journey before branching away and heading north. The canal is on an embankment here whilst the M5 is on raised columns.
We passed over the River Tame as it heads north.
Things became interesting at the M5 Aqueduct. This is the only aqueduct on the canal which isn’t original. Waiouru drifted over the aqueduct whilst we took photos.
We’ve now been up that motorway a few times and have never seen a boat on the aqueduct.
One of those “we were there” photos
And on the southern side………
It then became a boring old slog in the rain down ‘pylon alley’ to Tame Valley Junction where we decided to stop and moor just before the last bridge. Of course the rain stopped and the sun came out the moment the ropes were tied.
I did have a little chuckle at this next photo (seen on Facebook)