Thursday 16 September 2021


 Today's Canals - Daw End, Wyrley and Essington, Anglesey Branch

Today began with a wonderful bright blue, cloudless sky. The water underneath us at the mooring was now very clear so before disturbing it we opted to take another look at the prop. Yes, there was a little more plastic rubbish which we duly removed. But this time would see that we had cleared it all away.

We could also see across the fields to the east of the canal.

One of the advantages of allowing the canal-side vegetation to develop is that along sections like much of today, the industrial works only a few metres from the bank are actually well hidden. Only rarely could we see what was actually being done - here is an exception: concrete mixing.

This area had been brick and tile making for a long time. Many of the former works have long since disappeared and many clay pits have been worked out. However, the area to he west of Aldridge still has a large, working pit but we never had  even a tiny peek look down inside. Just before Clayhanger Bridge we noticed this inset layby. This often indicates that there was a loading facility here. Back at the start of the 20C there was yet another brick works y the canal but by 1915 it is labelled as disused.

It was almost noon when we arrived at Catshill Junction and turned right onto the  Wyrley and Essington.

We immediately noticed a difference in that residential areas were generally quite visible to the canal. A little later we passed some estates where the gardens backed right onto the canal.

This pontoon mooring is attached to a primary school. In 2018 we noted in our blog that we saw a splendid floating classroom, based on a narrowboat. We questioned whether it really was value for money and would it get the use that justified such an expense .This time the boat is nowhere to be seen and the pontoon seems unused.It certainly would need some work on it before passing a school H&S inspection. It seems that our 2018 concerns may ell have been a realistic assessment. Or maybe it is just off on a field trip!

At Ogley Junction the canal becomes the Anglesey Branch.

As we approached the A5 Freeth Bridge we saw this For Sale sign. We nearly rang the estate agent but quickly realised that CaRT might accept our offer too quickly!

We had been moving quite well but since Ogley realised that we were much slower. However it was just as we passed underneath Freeth bridge that we realise that there was a problem with the prop - the water was coming out sideways. There was no choice but to drift to the bank before tackling the problem. 20 minutes later we had removed this pile of assorted rubbish, after which we made much better speed!

As on our last visit in 2018, we were disappointed that nothing has been done to make it easy to moor at Anglesey and to encourage boaters to cruise here as a destination. After turning around in Anglesey basin we managed to find a place to tie up for lunch alongside the remains of the wharf.

We then locked up the boat and walked up to Chacewater and the visitor area. The outflow from the reservoir into the canal was but a trickle.

Alas, there seemed to be very little happening - a small refreshment shop was open but with just a handful of customers - they only sold very ordinary factory-made ice cream - even the 'doggies' fared better with their own special brand!

Even the water sports centre looked very closed. Let's hope they all do better at the weekend.

Over lunch we found that where we had moored here was almost no mobile signal on either of the networks we use so we opted to move on, nit sure how far we might need to go kin order o have a quiet mooring and a good signal. The A5 and M6 Toll are both busy and noisy so we wanted to not be near either of them.

Under one of the road bridges we spotted these two graffiti messages on an anti-vax theme. Whilst someone may have written more for fun than real concern it is worrying that they do lead too many people to question well-founded science and medicine, occasionally with disastrous consequences.

This time we managed a photo of Ogley Junction and the start of what was once the Lichfield Canal hat joins the Coventry at Huddlesford. Good work is being done to keep the restoration moving forward - albeit at what may seem like a snail's pace. Once finished it will make so much difference to the canals we have been on for the last three days.

We made a couple of attempts at coming alongside for an overnight mooring but to no avail - at one of them we were really stuck for several minutes. We were closing in on Catshill Junction - with not a lot of options for some distance after that - when Mike decided gingerly to try yet another piece of bank. As he homed in, he noticed just before that there was a short section of Armco - boater's gold! Would we get in? Well, almost! Good enough - we knew that no-one would be coming back the way we were heading (none of the three moored boats along the whole length looked like going anywhere tonight) and a bed of reeds ahead protected us against anyone who might be coming up the branch - very unlikely. At least we were near enough to get onto the bank to chain up to the Armco.

9.9 Miles - 0 Locks

1 comment:

  1. It’s only now that the canal from Ogley Junction is called the Lichfield Canal — it’s actually the mainline of the W&E. I guess the restoration society felt that people who be more likely to support a scheme with names they’d heard off.

    We were also disappointed at not being able to moor right at the end of the Anglesey Arm. We could when we visited six years ago, but now there’s that barrier across, for no apparent reason. I think the trickle of water, small though it looks, might make for a disturbed night though!