Monday, 21 November 2016

Walsall Canal

There has been some discussion on Waiouru whether (or not) to turn right at Tame Valley Junction and complete the Walsall Canal.  Whilst at Wolverhampton in 2013 a local CRT employee cautioned us to “Stay away… it needs dredging!”  Two years have elapsed and we’ve been wondering if the situation has improved.

Just after lunch we noticed a boat in the junction heading up (north) the Walsall Canal so I decided to walk the towpath and see how the boat coped.  By the time I’d donned my warm clothing and disposed of the rubbish at the CRT services the boat was well out of sight.  I’ll refer to the map extract below when describing my observations.

Walsall

Waterway Routes Map

You can see the green mooring icon by Leabrook Road Bridge.  In this next photo the first of the mooring bollards is on the right but also notice the nice looking moorings on off-side.  I wonder if there is sufficient depth to moor?

IMG_1107 Just beyond the next mooring is the remains of an old arm,  Paul shows it on his Waterway Routes map as Gospel Oak Branch.

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When I reached Monway Bridge I could see what looked to be a very attractive mooring area with bench seating and mooring bollards on both sides of the canal.

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They are not shown on the Waterway Routes map and which made me wonder whether there was a security issue.

Moorcroft Junction is just beyond the bridge in the above photo.

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This is where the former Bradley Branch linked the Walsall Canal with the Wednesbury Oak Loop and the existing CRT Bradley Workshops where they manufacture lock gates.

I caught up with the boat I’d seen at the Tame Valley Junction just beyond this point.  The boat was well aground and no amount of reverse was getting it off the bottom.

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Eventually the crew had to revert to the “boat pole” method in order to reverse off the bottom.  The crew decided there was little point in attempting to continue on and decided instead to reverse back to Moorcroft Junction where they would winded (turn).

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Trying to get off the bottom

I walked on the the next bridge (Holyhead Road Bridge) where I came upon a large amount of hard rubbish which had been dragged from the canal and dumped.

IMG_1114Including bike frames, scooters, a dog card and a large coil of steel wire rope!

I’m pleased we learned something from another boaters experience and the Walsall Canal has been crossed off our list.

4 comments :

Chris Thorn said...

Greetings,

We did a bit of the BCN this fall. This was our 6th hire boat trip and we had the last week of September and the first two weeks of October. We had initially intended to follow the northern route up the Rushall canal, but had to follow the Tame Valley canal instead. We actually did the whole length of the Walsall canal - first turning south to the up the Ryders Green locks and winding at the junction with the New Mainline and heading all the way along the Walsall canal - mooring in the Walsall basin that evening. It was a long day. The Walsall north of the Tame Valley junction is shallow, but the bit between Ryders Green locks 8 and 7 was even worse. Lots of shopping trolleys and other obstructions.

Heading north on the Walsall we did pick up some mooring rope on the prop. That did require 30 minutes down the weed hatch with the bread knife. Walsall basin was good spot and we tried the Black Country Arms with 17 real ales on tap. That was worth the time down the weed hatch. I had heard from a CRT working that the Walsall locks were in rough shape, but we had no problem. All the locks were being well maintained.

Very much enjoy your blog. We only get to spend 2-3 weeks every 12-18 months. Living vicariously on the cut through blogs like yours makes living the states bearble.

Chris

Andrew Tidy said...

The spot where the boat is aground is probably the worst for depth on the whole canal. I went up to walsall at the tail end of 20 boats in May and whilst is was very slow, especially when towing, it was completely passable. The open area at Moorcroft (with benches) is an ok(ish) mooring but for the lack of bollards or rings. The Explorer cruises use metal plates tapped between the bricks.

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Chris,

Repeat hiring was how we got started. But the long flights for a fortnight got to us in the end (along with the narrowboat bug!). We're still loving it.

Andy,
If you made it through should I consider you a boating "lightweight"? :-) I'm not sure if I want to run the risk of placing my fragile arms into freezing canal water in the middle of winter. Thanks for the advice regarding the moorings.

nb Chuffed said...

It sounds as though you have made up your minds .....

we came down the curly wyrley from the Wolverhampton end the year before last and then down the Walsall to the Main Line.
http://nbchuffed.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/the-21-and-curly-wyrley.html
There was a lot of floating bits of weed and tree in places, and a couple of fridges, but apart from clobbering something underwater at one point we had no trouble with depth, mooring or stuff round the prop.
enjoy it, whatever you choose!
Debby