Monday, 3 February 2014

Cannock Extension Canal


This week we are moored just off the Wyrley & Essington,on the Cannock Extension Canal,a couple of hundred yards or so before Pelsall Junction.The Cannock Extension was a bit over five and a half miles long when it opened in 1863 but now there is just under a couple of miles left.The very reason for it’s existence,the coal mines,were the cause of it’s demise.Breaches and mining subsidence resulted in the top two thirds being abandoned in 1963,and later Opencast Mining obliterated the Northern bit almost completely.We went as far as we could along the canal yesterday afternoon before we winded at Norton Canes Boatbuilders and now we’re staying here for a few days.

Cannock ext 1 015  Cannock ext 1 021

Pelsall Junction where the Cannock Extension,lower left,leaves the W&E.The two of us moored short of the Stop House and the stop,that’s the house and narrow bit before Friar Bridge in the distance.

Cannock ext 1 007  Cannock ext 1 010

Almost the end of the Extension,Norton Canes Boatbuilders has a paint shed just beyond the boat shell on the left,it’s possible to “wind” in the entrance to the paint shed,just !!!! A view along the Extension,dead straight.

We left Anglesey Basin last Tuesday morning and had a gentle cruise,for an hour,back to Brownhills Visitor moorings where we intended to stay a day or three to top up with water and groceries.On Thursday Lisa and I decided to go and take a look at the Aqueduct that has been erected over the M6 Toll for the proposed restoration of what will be the Lichfield Canal.We had studied the maps and Google Earth and discovered that it was possible to get close enough for a picture or two so off we went.It started to snow just after we set off but,hardy souls that we are,we didn’t let that stop us and we were rewarded by some good pictures.Sadly though,there is hardly any trace of what was the Wryley & Essington between Ogley Junction and the aqueduct.Just the tree line to indicate where it used to be.

Anglesey Branch 002  Anglesey Branch 004

Snow as we walked along the Anglesey Branch to Ogley Junction,it didn’t bother the swans.Our first view of the Lichfield Canal Aqueduct over the M6 Toll.

Anglesey Branch 005  Anglesey Branch 008

What would it be like to be approaching the aqueduct when it’s full of water? Another view of it.

Friday was one of those days that we seem to be having a lot of lately,it was very wet and windy,so,a lazy day in front of the fire was the answer to that.On Saturday out came the Bus Passes and off to Cannock we went for a bit of retail therapy somewhere different.We thought Cannock was a nice place,clean and tidy with a good selection of shops in the town centre.For lunch we had two meals for less than £7 in the local ‘Spoons,so all in all not a bad day out.

The Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust are currently working to restore some of the Cannock Extension Canal but on a different route from the original,so today I thought I would have a look at where they propose to connect to the W&E.It’s less than a mile,from here at from Pelsall Junction,to the Lord Hayes Branch and there are little bits of that canal still visible though not in water. 

Pelsall Junction 001  Pelsall Junction 003

The entrance to Lord Hayes Branch at Fishley Junction.This branch was just under a mile long with no locks and gave access to Lord Hayes coal mines.A short stretch of the dry canal bed that was abandoned in 1954.

That’s all again for this week I’m afraid.Since last week we have cruised for 8 Miles and Lisa has had no locks to work,so we now have a Grand Total of 582 Locks and 1005 Miles since we set off in October 2012.Please take care everyone.

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