We are now moored at the top of the Perry Barr Locks on the Tame Valley Canal which is part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations.There are thirteen locks here at Perry Barr which lift the canal 106 feet and the old boatmen are said to have called them “The New Thirteen”,the Old Thirteen being the Farmers Bridge Flight on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.
The Inside of The Bartons Arms in the Newtown area of Aston.A lovely pub built in 1901 for Mitchells & Butlers.Laurel & Hardy once stayed here.We just nipped in for a pint or two,only in the interests of historic research of course.
Last Tuesday we left the the moorings at Aston University on the Digbeth Branch,cruised down through the Ashted Locks and then turned left at Proof House Junction on to the Grand Union,formerly the Birmingham & Warwick Junction Canal.We made our way down through the Garrison Flight to Star City where we once again moored on the pontoon on the offside.We’d stayed here on our way into Birmingham back in November so we knew it would be a good mooring.Tuesday was also New Years Eve and we had planned a great time as we were still in company with Andy and Di off NB Fenakapan, we celebrated well into the early hours of New Years Day.
Approaching the Ashted Tunnel on the Digbeth Branch,a bit less water this time so the top of Chyandour wasn’t as close to the roof.The Proof House at the junction with the Birmingham & Warwick Junction Canal.It was here that Gun Barrels were proofed,ie.tested.
Approaching Warwick Bar,a former Stop Lock.Some better Graffiti alongside the canal.
On Thursday,Lisa,myself and Chyandour set off into new territory.I’ve wanted to cruise the BCN for years and so now,together with Andy and Di,who’ve been this way before,we were about to get the chance.Turning left at Salford Junction and under Spaghetti Junction,we headed up the Tame Valley Canal and into the unknown.The first thing that struck us was the awesome sight of Spaghetti junction towering overhead with it’s roads going in every direction.We’ve driven over Gravelly Hill Interchange,to give it it’s proper title,on a number of occasions ourselves and,along with thousands of other motorists,we were not aware of what lay beneath.We steadily made our way up the Tame Valley and started working our way through the locks.Having been cruising with Fenakapan since the beginning of December,we’ve got a steady routine worked out to get both boats through locks and we were getting into the swing of things and thinking of stopping for lunch.It was then that things turned out to be a bit different,the Lift Pump for the fuel on Fenakapan died just as we got her through lock 11.At first it looked like we would have to pull the boat up the other 10 locks but Andy managed to get the engine running on a gravity feed and away we went again,not far though.Two more locks and then the water level in the Quarter Mile pound below lock 7 was so low that Fenakapan wouldn’t go more than a few yards out of lock 8 before running aground.We then had to wait the best part of two hours to get enough water down the flight to resume our journey,three of the lock pounds above lock 7 were also very low so water had to be sent down from the very top.It was dark as we did the last few locks and,as this was my first experience of cruising in the dark,I have to say that working locks at night is not the best of experiences.
Just a few pictures from beneath Spaghetti Junction.
Anyway,we made it to the top of the flight with no further delays and we’ve been moored here ever since.Andy ordered a new lift pump which finally arrived this afternoon,an electric one this time because the mechanical one had failed on a previous occasion and also,the electric one is cheaper.We’ve spent our time tidying both Chyandour and Fenakapan and also exploring both Perry Barr and Great Barr,both of which are only an half hour walk away.
Lock 13 on The Tame Valley Canal and Fenakapan grounded above Lock 8.
The approach to the last 7 locks on the Perry Barr Flight just as it was getting dark and the two boats outside the water point at Perry Barr.Lisa and I watered both boats and it was easier to pass the hose across by using Chyandours bow.We haven’t seen another boat since we got here,other than a Waterways boat with some old lock gates on,that is
We had a visit from a former work colleague on Saturday evening.Roald and I worked together on the Megabus,he worked out of Aberdeen and I worked out of Perth so we only saw each other occasionally.We chatted so much the time flew,so he stayed over and set off back to Aberdeen,and work,on Sunday morning.I know you’ll read this Roald so we hope you had a safe journey and aren’t being worked too hard.
Well,that’s all again for another week.Since our last blog we have done 24 locks and 6 Miles,giving us a Grand Total of 572 Locks and 983 Miles since October 2012.Take care everyone.