Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Bentley Bridge to Birmingham

We have had a couple of horrendous weather days, wind and rain, but looking at the news I think we were probably let off lightly compared to other parts of the country.

The moorings at Bentley Bridge are so handy as you are right on the retail park and we had a good stock up at Aldi, we also treated ourselves to a visit to Cineworld and watched Fantastic Beasts and where to find them. It was great just strolling back to the boat, which was probably a lot closer than some of the other people had their cars parked.

We left yesterday morning and made our way back to the junction with the Main Line of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN). The plan was to do an hour at a time on the tiller each as we thought it would take around five hours to get into Birmingham. James took the first hour whilst I was inside tagging pens, then we swapped so I had Coseley Tunnel to get through, it's only a short one at 360 yards. 

Left turn and we're back on the Main Line

The junction at Tipton where the Old Main Line goes off

Just coming out of the middle lock at Factory Locks
We were soon at the junction at Tipton where the Old Main Line goes off, but this time we continued down Factory Locks on the New Main Line. As James was suffering a bit with a migraine I carried on steering.

Very straight and wide

That's the Netherton Tunnel Branch

And the hill that the tunnel goes through

The railway runs along side most of the way

Lots of little dead end arms and basins now

And past the Gower Branch which links the Old and New Main Lines via three locks

A few narrow bits to negotiate

Pudding Green Junction, this leads to Walsall


More dead end arms

This is Bromford Junction which leads up three locks and joins the Old Main Line 

That's the M5 and the Old Main Line also crosses on the brick bridge

Concrete supports for the M5, the brick bridge carries the Old Main Line with the railway line crossing that 


Looking back, the brick bridge carrying the Old Main Line and the M5 above that


It was a nice dry still day, but a bit chilly

Smethwick Galton Bridge railway station is on this bridge

Smethwick Pump House

That leads through to a little basin - Monument Road Basin Bridge
The New Main Line is very straight so can be a bit tedious, but I was enjoying it having the canal completely to myself, we only past one moored boat and that was at Smethwick Pump House. James took over the tiller on the approach into Birmingham and we past a few people we know moored by Barclaycard Arena, there were waves and shouts of hello, but we continued on through to Cambrian Wharf where we took the last spot and had a lovely welcome from Josh and Peter who had come out to see us. 

We needed to pop straight to the CRT office as our delivery of leaflets for the floating market had arrived and on the way back we stopped off to see Kailey and Josh on their new butty and enjoy a catch up and coffee with them. 

14 miles and 3 locks
TOTAL 711 miles and 650 locks