Thursday, August 08, 2019

On into Birmingham

We set off at 9:20am and retraced our route back through Gosty Hill tunnel and IMG_4303Windmill End junction where this time we turned right into Netherton tunnel. Quite a busy place because we met two on-coming boats, the second of which had two headlamps both pointed straight into our eyes so that we were unable to see properly to steer past them. We certainly didn’t make out the oncoming walkers on both towpaths until we were upon them.
The first pair, a man and a child, seemed all kitted out for their (nearly) two mile walk in the dark. High viz jackets, head torches and a rucksack – probably full of fizzy pop and fish paste sandwiches (oh IMG_4304no – that’s the famous five!) What they lacked were wellies or waders as the towpath was flooded further into the tunnel. We warned them of deep puddles and uneven surfaces – keep safe!
Then an elderly gent appeared out of the gloom wearing beige slacks and a cream shirt, carrying a 1/2 candle power torch. We tried to warn him about the flooded towpath but were not sure he heard us as we got no response. Lets hope that he doesn’t fall over in a deep puddle and that he told someone where he was going.
At Dudley port junction we turned right towards Birmingham but then turned right again at Albion junction to climb the three Brades locks to get onto the Old Mainline as Graham prefers that to staying on the boring new Mainline.
Whilst looking for blackberries as we approached the bottom lock Brenda spotted a TempleBradesHilllovely building beyond the hedge and trees alongside the canal. It turned out to be the Shri Venkates (Balaji) temple but we couldn’t get a better view than this from the canal. Graham managed to harvest a few very nice plump blackberries from alongside the middle lock and so we had them inside a split custard doughnut – yummy!
Once on the Old Mainline we found ourselves amongst the scaffolding, plant and machinery that is being used to renovate the raised section of the M5 motorway. All the way along here are signs that state “ do not moor boats against the scaffolding “ however we laughed out loud when we spotted that one sign had been vandalised to read “do not moor GOATS against the scaffolding” – excellent.
M5WorksWe came into central Birmingham via the Soho and Icknield loops. Part way round the former we could hear trumpet type music and assumed there was a concert or party on locally. Through the next bridge we happened across the said musician and his yound boy walking along the towpath with Dad practicing his trumept as they walked - excellent!. We started to moor up opposite the NIA but the building noises coming from within the car parks encouraged us to move round to the Oozels St loop for a quieter night. Near the CaRT yard on the Icknield loop we spotted yet another lovely religious building ThaiTemplewhich we decided was more Thai than Indian – Google told us that it was the Birmingham Buddist Vihara temple.
Once tied up raham went down the weedhatch to investigate what was around our prop and causing us hassle with going in forwards and reverse – it turned out to be a Cagoule! Best quality rip-stop nylon complete with heavy duty zips, toggles and a hood. It took his trusty serated carving knife to get it off the prop. Whilst doing that one of the security guards stopped for a chat so we know we’ll be safe here tonight.

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