Monday, 1 July 2013

Back to Brum.

Monday 1st July, 2013 at the Black Country Museum.
It felt like coming home again! We're getting to know the city a little, and to like it a lot.
We collected MM from the Marina on Oozell's Loop and set off about 2:30. It immediately started to rain! Would you believe it?!  One layer became two, then three. Wrap up warm, its July!
Despite the cool and showery conditions, it was an absolutely fascinating journey. Canal junctions, beautiful cast iron bridges and aqueducts galore, canals criss-crossing over and under each other.
And wonderful verdant cuttings where the high banks were a riot of wild flowers, in particular foxgloves and lupins.
Could this really be the middle of Birmingham? One cutting has even been designated a nature reserve, but in reality, all this area is a natural reserve. Lovely!
However, we soon came back to reality at Spon Lane Junction. We were on the Birmingham Level Main Line, above us the Stewart Aqueduct carries the Wolverhampton Level (canal) across, next to which run the train tracks, and above that lot, the M5 crosses high up supported on slender concrete pillars. A veritable meeting of transport systems and quite a sight!
At Tipton Green, we encountered the first locks for some time. The three "Factory Locks" were quite pretty but required a special Birmingham Navigation "Key" to work them. Luckily, R had purchased one at Sherborne Marina before we left.
From Tipton, the Dudley Canal branches off to the south and suddenly the murky water of the Birmingham canals gave way to clear water full of yellow water lilies.
We moored up next to the Black Country Museum, where we intend to spend the day tomorrow. We were just a few yards from the mouth of the two mile-long Dudley Tunnel. You can just see the small white arch of the tunnel mouth in the middle of the photo.
We also intend to take the trip boat to see the limestone caverns inside. Unfortunately, we can't do it on MM as she is just four inches too big to go through the length of the tunnel.
Today: 9 miles, 3 locks and 4.7 hours.
Trip: 167 miles, 128 locks and 134.2 hours.

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