Friday, 19 August 2016

I didn't think I'd get this far up the Ridgeacre Branch

We moved on from central Birmingham today, but not before visiting the Ikon Gallery with its modern art installations. You have to wonder what whacky ideas artists will think of next. We engaged fully with one particular work; details coming up.

First a summary of our travelling today. We set off after lunch, taking a quick spin round Gas Street Basin (winding at the 90 degree bend at Holliday Wharf) before returning along the New Main Line as far as Pudding Green Junction. Here we turned right along the Wednesbury Old Canal heading for Ryder's Green Locks and the Ocker Hill Tunnel Branch.

Just before the locks is Ryder's Green Junction where the Ridgeacre Branch, er, branches off. The last time I passed this way, three years ago I think, reeds were blocking the entrance. This time the way looked clear, apart from a notice advising against navigation.

The sign talks about reeds and silt but doesn't actually forbid entry, so I took Jubilee in on tickover.

Well, if boats don't navigate a canal it will be lost, so I was only doing my bit. Has anyone else been up there recently?

At one point we ran over something a bit hard, but we got through Hadley Bridge and almost up to the marked winding hole. Here the reeds closed in and it seemed prudent to stop and go back.

Up to this point neither silt nor reeds had impeded our progress. Nor had the plastic bags I removed from the prop when we got back onto the main line. The prop did stir up a lot of evil black stuff from the canal bed, especially when making correction thrusts when reversing. David at the bow with a cabin shaft helped to keep the boat pointing the right way going backwards, and it all went smoothly. I removed a decent amount of plastic from the weed hatch after that little excursion.

All the Ryder's Green Locks were against us and we stopped twice more for plastic bag removal, but the run down was reasonably pleasant. Some local lads were friendly and helped with gates at a couple of locks; a group of older people with drinks cans under a bridge looked rougher but exchanged greetings and warned Jan about the submerged trollies.

We tied up in the Ocker Hill Tunnel Branch and I got inside just as the heavens opened. Phew!

I mentioned the art in the Ikon. One piece was interactive and involved the participant climbing onto a wooden board and then propelling him/herself out of the window 20 or 30 feet above ground! Naturally I volunteered first.

I was hoping that I'd be sticking out a long way, but it was only my head which got drizzled on. And one is looking up, not down.

Here's Jan enjoying the experience.

Tomorrow we have the delights of the Tame Valley and Rushall Canals to look forward to. And a rendezvous with the Tidys. Excellent.

1 comment:

indigodream said...

So glad you verntured up the Ridgeacre - the last few times we've been in Brum it's been closed because of heavy pollution!

Got to keep these branches alive.

We're in Brum too - wonder if our paths will cross - moored near Brindley Place tonight and heading towards Wolverhamton tomorrow/Thursday - will look out for you :-)

Sue, nb Indigo Dream