Tuesday 3 April 2018


Today's Canals - Main Line, Soho Loop, Wednesbury Old, Walsall, Tame Valley, Rushall

It was raining as we set off after Andrew had made an expedition to the nearest full Tesco store - he returned with croissants and other pastries which kept us going between meals!

At Rotten Park Junction there is a cross roads where the winding original liner crosses over the New Main Line which was built as straight as possible. The Icknield Port Loop went left under the decorated bridge but we turned right under the more mundane railway bridge.

Half way around the loop is Hockley Port where another canal arm linked in. A short section is retained for a community of residential boats.

Towards the end of the loop we passed HMP Winson Green. A prison was first built on this site in 1849 adjacent to Winson Green Asylum. The splendidly built administration block is all that remains of the hospital that was later developed from the asylum. That link stays on with the name of one of the canal bridges.

Who was he? Did he escape?

Shortly after passing the prison we returned to the main line.

The Main Line is often very straight. Just before passing under the motorway and the Old Main Line (which ran at a higher level) there are two bridges that connect nowhere on either side. Originally they linked parts of Spon Lane Glass Works, a huge factory that developed on both sides of the canal. As the photo shows, a level crossing on the main electrified line would not be a good idea now!

The towpath is being resurfaced, maintaining the standard for a through cycle route. Unfortunately the works mean that at the moment cyclists have to find an alternative route!

Further on we passed a site where the towpath materials are being loaded onto boats to be taken along the canal.

We continued along the Main Line until Pudding Green Junction where we turned off along the Wednesbury Old Canal which then runs into the start of the Walsall Canal and the the eight Ryders Green Locks. Most of the flight is a straight run with very short pounds in between.

Large piles of wooden pallets are stored beside Lock 2 - alas one had fallen off and was blocking the lock so had to be pulled out before we could pass through.

After the locks we continued to Doebank Junction where there is a full set of facilities. We stopped thinking that we might have lunch here but eventually opted to have lunch on the go as the next section,  the Tame Valley Canal, is very straight without any locks.

We felt very superior to look down on the motorway where road works and lane closures meant that there was slow moving traffic in one direction.

At Rushall Junction we turned northwards, a route that we have not taken since 2008.

By the time we arrived at the bottom of the flight - seven together, then a longer pound before the final two locks to the top. At this stage it was sunny and remarkably - given the weather of the past few days - quite warm.

As we travelled between locks we realised that we had picked up some rubbish on the prop but left it until we reached the top of the first part of the flight. Clearing it, which took both Andrew and Mike, at different stages, over half an hour to clear.

As we continued on the longer pound to the top two locks we could hear the sound of thunder and saw the occasional flash of lightning. Whether it would pass to one side of us was startlingly answered just before we arrived at the top two locks. A major hail storm was so painful that we left the boat to drift whilst we took shelter until the worst of it was over and we could continue into the next lock

As we arrived at Longwood Junction above the locks we spotted a short visitor mooring with one boat already moored but enough room for another. Any thoughts of going further quickly disappeared as we succumbed to temptation and the chance to dry out.

A little later there was a most splendid rainbow.

14.8 Miles - 17 Locks

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.