When I went for my early morning stroll I noticed the steam powered boat President leaving her moorings. She had been breasted up with butty Kildare overnight and had to be manoeuvred to attach the ropes to tow her along. The stoker had been up since 6 am and said that the boiler kept fairly warm overnight which made it quicker to build up the steam needed to move on.They contemplated using their whistle when negotiating Old Town Turn, but it was far too early to wake residents from their Sunday morning slumbers. Especially if they were recovering from a late night out!
Away they went on their way back to the Black Country Museum.
We had really enjoyed our weekend in and around Birmingham and our 48 hour mooring time was up so we turned left onto the Union Canal towards Fazeley. To our surprise a man appeared with his windlass and set the first lock for us. Before we could thank him he had sped off to the next one. You may be able to see a fleeting glimpse of his blue shirt as he whizzed ahead setting the locks.
There were many derelict industrial sites still waiting for some sort of utilization. Down in the bowels of the past industrial areas there were many wharves that had been used for unloading raw materials from barges, then re-loading with manufactured goods for transportation along the canals. Some areas were already converted for residential use and a few had been taken up for small industrial use or storage.
Some places were rather shady and covered in graffiti, however there was one imaginative mural to brighten things up.
Eventually we did catch up with our helper with the boundless energy as we approached the BT Tower to find out that his name was Jim. As we were turning right down the Digbeth Branch we asked him if he would be heading back, but no he accepted a lift to the next set of locks at Ashted.
As Jim and I sat having a well earned drink we passed through Ashted Tunnel and past this derelict building. Jim was very knowledgeable about the area surrounding the canals and said this was a Hospital that they began to demolish before they found that it was a protected building. So after helping us with the 19 locks Jim said he must walk back and gave me one of his cards, he was in fact Jim Shead the owner of that well known website! So again a very BIG THANKYOU to Jim who helped us on our way in double quick time!
Old Austin car in hiding and a brick impressed with, ‘Wood & Ivery Albion Brickworks West Bromwich’.
After turning left onto the Grand Union Canal the moorings along this stretch were not inviting, so we ascended the 6 Camphill Locks. Eventually we moored just past the secure boaters facilities at Small Heath. Having completed 25 locks we collapsed in a gert heap with a drink while we waited for our dinner to cook!