Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Weed mountain

We set off reasonably early from Longwood Junction - at about 0815. The top lock of the Rushall flight was set for us; apart from two where work boats were coming up this was the only lock out of today's 25 which we didn't have to turn.

Passage down the Rushall Canal was slow owing to the large amount of weed, exacerbated by the low pounds.

The Tame Valley Canal wasn't much better, despite an initial increase of speed of 0.5 mph (from 2.8 ish to 3.3 ish). Our bow kept collecting vast rafts of floating weed which I kept having to dislodge with a batten. The next time Jubilee is in dry dock I must get something welded on which will smooth off the bow and remove the tendency for things to collect there.

I was encouraged to see mountains of weed removed from the canal at Perry Barr Top Lock. If it's all here then there can't be any left in the canal. Yes?

Well, no, actually. There was so much of the semi-submerged blanket weed that getting out of locks was a slow process. I had to bow haul out of one; a boat two in front was bow hauling down the entire flight. I expended a considerable amount of energy cycling down and up setting locks and opening gates etc., not just for us but for two boats in front.

At last we got to the bottom of the Perry Barr Locks and came to Salford Junction. Or Spaghetti Junction as motorists know it - or Gravelly Hill to give it its proper name. It's difficult to get a shot which gives a good idea of the complexity of the structure; this is my attempt.

A team was painting the supporting beams.

Why is this necessary? Is it for protection?

We considered mooring on the bollards just before Butler's Bridge, but I saw that the piling the other side of the bridge looked to be a better location. Unfortunately, when we moved the boat there, we discovered that the edge was much too shallow. We continued down the Minworth three locks and tied up past Dicken's Bridge on some handy piling. Our friend Helen was there so we invited her to join us for a meal. We had a very enjoyable evening.

Now I must get some sleep!

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