Sunday 4th September 2016
Good deed for the day – we recovered a fishing pole from the canal.
Wildlife of the day – herons and kingfishers abound in the quieter bits.
It was nice to drive forwards from Star City down to Salford junction although I must admit that my line through the dis-used lock was better going in reverse. As you travel beneath Spagetti junction it is amazing the amount of sheering up that has been done to the concrete structure holding the roads up, they have drilled and installed hundreds of bolts to stop the horizontal beams spreading – scary!
On arrival at Perry Bar bottom lock, I found the pound above completely empty of water and so let Brenda into the bottom lock while I wandered up and ran water down through the second. With both sets of paddles open it only took about 10 kinutes to get enough water into the pound so I could start filling the bottom lock. Once through both we then had a mile long battle with ever increasing amounts of weed and rubbish to get through.
Into the main section of the flight and the weed was worse, Brenda had a difficult job keeping the prop clear for long enough to transit between locks. The higher up the flight we went, the worse it got. Finally we made it out of the top lock by 1pm and so pulled over to the sani-station. There is a lovely collection of weed here that has been removed from above the top lock. The last time we were here on the 2009 BCNC Explorer cruise, Brenda had an incident with the shower that is related just after the 13th August entry on http://www.jannock.org.uk/2009.html. This time the shower worked fine and we both took advantage of plenty of space to get clean. We also had lunch, I did a weedhatch visit and filled Jannock’s water tank whilst we were there.
Then onto Rushall Junction where we had to continue on as the Rushall lock flight is closed for urgent gate maintenance. Once we had crossed the M5 we were in new territory as we have never been further than the aquaduct before. Verdict – the Tame Valley canal is boring, dead straight for most of the way with very little to see. Luckily we were soon at Ocker Hill junction where we turned right onto the Walsall canal. This is a much more interesting canal with lots of dis-used arms going off both sides into tree lined ditches or bricked up factory entrances. We passed under the M6 and then at Pagetts Bridge, a couple of Sikh gents stood on the bridge enquired where we were from. Once told they invited us into the adjacent Gurdwara for a drink but unfortunately we didn’t have time to join them.
At Walsall junction we turned into the town arm and made our way to the basin at the bottom. It has pontoon moorings that are right next door to the High St and so a wide variety of shops are very close by. Of course, they were closed by the time we arrived on a Sunday evening but that didn’t stop us having a wander around the town centre to admire some of the old architechture that still remains amongst all the modern development. The railway station is very close to the basin as well although you cannot hear the trains due to the tall buildings that surround the moorings.