Day 10 of our Big Summer Cruise of 2014. Here are some stats for the five hours of cruising we did today:
Trips down weed hatch: two.
Moving boats seen: two. No - three, there was one on an aqueduct overhead.
Barbecues had: one.
We made a leisurely start from Gas Street at 1015 and were soon out of the central Birmingham area on the wide and deep Birmingham Canal (new main line). We saw there was a boat in front of us, and were catching it up over a distance of two miles, until just past Bromford junction he waved us past. It was a curious place for the overtake as it was quite bendy and there were trees overhanging on the right. As I opened the throttle and moved to the left I was aware that the canal was quite shallow near the bank. This had the effect of giving me minimal speed advantage over the boat we were overtaking (Jura Reve). I got there in the end, just feet before a bridge hole.
Before this excitement we had the bonus of seeing a boat pass overhead on the Old Main Line or Wolverhampton Level on Stewart (or is it Steward or Steward's) Aqueduct.
Perhaps I should have waited until we'd cleared Factory Locks.
We got through Coseley Tunnel and then stopped. A visit down the weed hatch produced a large thick plastic bag from the prop. I'm always surprised by how well the boat copes with so much rubbish round the prop.
When we got back we had a towpath barbecue, then pushed the boat across to the other side to be slightly "safer" from night-time revellers. The police and ambulance sirens are slightly closer, but the trains are slightly further away. Not that you'd notice. There's a curve just to the north of the station, right opposite us. The train wheels squeal as they negotiate this curve, and the track sounds like (proper) jointed rails (not the continuous welded stuff which doesn't sound right!) I can feel the vibrations in the boat. I don't suppose all this noise will keep us awake, though. If it wakes us early in the morning we'll make a reasonably early start down the locks to beat the heat. (This summer weather is fantastic, isn't it? Long may it last!)
Oh - the clear waters of the title: here in Wulfrun* the canal bed is very weedy. This seems to filter out the sediment from the water, with the result that you can see the bottom, and loads of fish.
After we had moved across to the 24 hour mooring the other side I noticed a floating island of rubbish. This was gradually moving to our original mooring, so I went round and fished out the bottles, cans and expanded polystyrene, put them in a discarded carrier bag, and deposited it all in a bin.
*Wulfrun is apparently the old name for Wolverhampton. A case of the modern name being an embellishment of the original rather than a contraction?
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