We may not have gone far but it took Jan quite an effort to work Waiouru down the Farmers Bridge and Ashted flights before going up the Camp Hill flight A total of 24 locks. There wasn’t another moving boat, which in some ways made it easier.
Some parts of the Farmers Bridge Locks are rather gloomy. However the upper portion is much improved having been subject to redevelopment. The buildings are mostly office blocks or residential apartments.
This is actually a bridge over the canal but you might think it was a tunnel.
Although we have been up and down the flight a number of times this was the first time I’ve noticed the steel ‘H’ beams fixed above Lock 10. The building has been built over the canal and there is no vehicle access. The beams have been installed above the lock gates and one assumes they are used as part of any repairs or replacement.
At the bottom of the flight you pass under the Barker Bridge.
It was constructed from cast iron in 1842 and consists of nine girder arches with a plated carriageway.
We made a right turn at Aston Junction following the main canal instead of descending down the 11 locks of the Aston Flight to Spaghetti Junction. Jan then worked Waiouru down the six locks of the Ashted Flight. When we first did this flight the area looked very dilapidated. On our last visit the area either side of the canal was being cleared ready for regeneration. Many of the new buildings are part of Birmingham University and it’s the canal that is starting to look in need of some TLC.
When I walked this way the previous day there was a male dressed in black wearing a ‘hoodie’ standing inside Curzon Street Tunnel. He looked very suspicious and I took particular care when passing him. I now suspect he was a lookout for a group of youths further along the canal at Digbeth Junction. Their actions appeared to be very nefarious!
We didn’t make the mistake of continuing straight ahead at Digbeth Junction and entering Typhoo Basin. I wonder how many hire boaters have made that mistake?
It’s only a short walk from here to The Bull Ring so we’ve actually completed a large semi-circle around the Birmingham CBD. We turned left at Digbeth Junction passing through the Warwick Bar.
We’re now on the Grand Union Canal (Digbeth Branch) and cruising up to Bordersley Junction where the Grand Union turns left to Spaghetti Junction or you can continue straight ahead up the five Camp Hill Locks.
The first thing Jan noticed was the locks are back to having two gates at the lower end. They were all empty (in our favour) and we steadily made our way up them to the top at Sampson Road Wharf where we found a small fibreglass cruiser on the 24 hour moorings adjacent to the CRT services block. Whilst the area isn’t all that attractive these moorings are private and secure behind a locked gate. The services consist of water, rubbish, elsan, toilet and shower, although the boater informed us the water tap wasn’t working(we still have to check that).
We reversed around him to moor in the arm on the far side of the services block.
The plan is to wait here for the forecast bad weather to pass over before heading further south.