Monday 17 October 2022


Today's Canals - New Main Line, Birmingham and Fazeley, Worcester and Birmingham

After two and a half days in central Birmingham, it was now time to leave. But after this time we urgently needed services, especially water and the washing machine needed to be put into action.

When we set off from our mooring, it was obviously sunny somewhere but on the canal, the sun had not yet risen above the surrounding tall buildings.

Just after leaving we passed the GoBoats that we mentioned earlier on our stay.

Recently there have been problems with the services opposite the Mailbox and so we opted to go down the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal (for about 200m) to Cambrian Wharf. It certainly took some time to fill the water tank - OK the tap is known to be a bit on the slow side but the washing machine kept depleting what we put in!

Cambrian House, where the services are located, just above the top Farmers Bridge Lock, is a local CaRT office - certainly there seemed to be a number of meetings taking place this morning. It is also supposed to be an information point for boaters and we have never been to look before. So, as we waited for the water, we looked inside but in reality there is not a lot to see. You could by a fluffy toy or an ice cream but neither quite appealed. There were a number of well-presented information leaflets, mainly for walkers and those wanting to explore the more well known spots on the canal.

We had wondered whether, although it is not marked on our maps, the entrance to Cambrian Wharf could be used for winding - we were now, of course, pointing the wrong way! However, it did not look a sensible option so we had to reverse back to the junction where we had to avoid a trip boat or two and several canoes. (In the picture, Cambrian Wharf is ahead and our mooring behind us. The way ahead leads off to the right)

We came under Broad Street and into Gas Street Basin. This canoeist overtook us three times but on each occasion diverted off to look at something to one side.

But at this point he just had to wait as we were now coming through Worcester Bar.

Now we are though and off he goes! We remember at one time the part of Gas Street in the photo was full of former working boats, mostly brightly painted. Of course, at one time the whole basin was used to deliver, collect or tranship the goods that were the life blood of the growing industrial and commercial city. Today, all those boats in the photo are trip boats!

Last year at this time, an apartment block just a short distance ahead was still undergoing remedial work to its exterior. At least it is now compete, no doubt much to the relief of the residents.

The redevelopment of University train station is nearing completion although the part that benefits rail passengers was opened earlier this year, in time as promised for the Commonwealth Games. Some events were held nearby.

At Selly Oak we saw for the first time the newly completed turning hole - it looks really smart and, to our surprise, mooring bollards have also been provided - mooring in such a place would not normally be allowed. However, this is part of a long term project to re-open this end of the former Lapal Canal.

We had heard from another boater that it is quite a walk to get to the Sainsbury store on the opposite bank so we opted for the older moorings we have long known that are just the other side of the bridge. After doing our shopping we had lunch and so this photo is just as we were setting off once again.

At Kings Norton Junction there as been a Toll House for over 200 years and was occupied until 2019. Shortly after it fell vacant, the building was badly damaged by an arson attack. The damage was more extensive then it might have been because there is no road access. See here for some more details. The restoration is now well under way and it will be good to see it back in its former glory. It has become a major icon for this part of the canal network.

We navigated Wast Hills Tunnel in just under half an hour - the tunnel entrance notices suggest it may take an hour! This tunnel is exceptionally straight and it is possible to see the other end even before you have entered it. If the above photo is enlarged it is possible to see a tiny white dot in the middle of the black hole. That is the other end not the headlight of another boat coming behind us.

We continued for a little further but we knew that by now we would not get as far as the top of Tardebigge tonight so found a mooring just after Hopwood.

10.0 Miles - 0 Locks

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