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Tour 2002

Index

40 - Black Country Museum to Norton Canes. BCN Old Main Line, Gower Branch, BCN New Main Line, Wednesbury Old Canal, Walsall Canal, Walsall Town Arm, Wyrley and Essington Canal and Cannock Extension Canal.

Friday 9th August 2002.

We shoved off at 07:45 after Andrew Goodland had departed for his short trip to work in Bilston. We carried on along the Old Main Line / Wolverhampton Level as far as the Gower Branch. This short canal connects the Old and New Main Lines. The first thing of note was the Aqueduct over the Netherton Tunnel Branch. 
Arrival at Bradeshall Junction, with the Gower Branch was at 08:30 and we turned left here into the Brades Staircase locks. The third Brades Lock was just after the low Brades Hall Bridge. The low height of this bridge was due to strengthening girders having been inserted underneath the deck.
Come 09:00 we had turned right at Albion Junction, the bottom of the Gower Branch, onto the New Main Line. Just a short run to Pudding Green Junction, where we turned left at 09:10, onto the Wednesbury Old Canal. At Ryder's Green Junction (09:25), the Walsall Canal starts. The commonly called Ridgacre (Ridgeacre) Branch is off to the right at this junction. In fact this is the continuation of the Wednesbury Old Canal, as far as Swan Village. Here the Ridgacre ( Ridgeacre) Branch started, but this has now been cut off by the Black Country Spine road.
No problems going down the Ryder's Green Flight, in fact rather tidy and rubbish free. Doe Bank Junction with the Tame Valley Canal was passed at 11:00. We were tempted to go up the recently cleared out bottom section of the Bradley Locks Branch, which leaves the Walsall Canal at Moorcroft Junction (11:20). This is just after the section of canal suffering from a recent bout of "pavoiritis", between the new Monway and Willingsworth Hall Bridges. There was talk of restoring the Bradley Locks Branch. This 8 lock flight used to connect up with the end of the Wednesbury Oak Loop near the BW Bradley Workshops, the route is just about intact.
No problems through the Rough Hay section, plagued by the new Black Country Spine Road, if fact this is beginning to blend in to the landscape. The reeded up stub of the Anson Branch has now virtually disappeared, the junction could still be made out, this is just before the the Tame Valley Embankment.
After the high Tame Valley Embankment the canal goes under the M6 crossing and then under a local landmark - an office built over the canal. The next section was, as ever the most crud filled section, with most of the silt and rubbish having come from the factory beside the canal.
At Walsall Junction (13:10), just below the Walsall Flight of locks we took a quick half an hour peek up the Walsall Town Arm. This is sadly suffering from invasive Arrowhead water weed infestation, probably due to lack of use. We were soon stuck into the Walsall Flight of eight locks. About three from the top we came upon an empty pound, so let just enough water down to get over the cills and through the pounds, these were surprisingly free of rubbish and silt, we got through one pound with it still being 2 feet down!
Arrival at the top lock was at 15:00. We were greeted by a helper from the Birchills Canal Museum, who had a good talk with Martin C about it's lack of funding. Another thing that greeted us was the complete covering of the canal above, with fairy moss. This proved no problem to NB Earnest with it's keel cooling and slipper stern (nothing floating gets dragged on the prop)
We passed onto the Wyrley and Essington at Birchills Junction (15:10), turning left, bound for the open spaces of Pelsall and the Cannock Extension Canal. The fairy moss covering extended through to Bloxwich. The weed was no problem, but as usual there were many trips down the weed hatch, due to NB Earnest's slipper stern picking up the many plastic bags present through the grotty Bloxwich section. On one such occasion, we were coasting up to a bridge hole, with the power off and the weed hatch up........imagine our surprise when a boat appeared coming towards us. It was a question of Neil dropping the weed hatch back in and standing on it, while Martin took evasive action. Collision was averted and there was a good laugh on both boats! Well that was one of two boats we saw moving that day in the wilds of the Northern BCN.
16:45 saw us turn left at Pelsall Junction and head up the stub of the Cannock Extension Canal to Norton Canes. We were soon at the top, where the A5 cuts through at canal level. We stopped before the end, seeing as there was activity at the entrance to Canal Transport Services dry dock - we would wind there in the next morning when it was quiet.
After a wander across the A5 to look at the dry course of the canal we came back to an on board meal of tinned pies.


Crossing over the Netherton Tunnel Branch. BCN Wolverhampton Level, Old Main Line.


Crossing over the Netherton Tunnel Branch. Netherton Tunnel. BCN Wolverhampton Level, Old Main Line.


We have just turned off the Wolverhampton level and are going down the Gower Branch to the New Main Line - Birmingham Level. Brades Staircase Locks. BCN.


Brades Staircase Locks. Gower Branch. BCN.


The low Brades Hall Bridge, below the Brades staircase locks on the Gower Branch. BCN.


The lower Brades Lock. Gower Branch. BCN.


The Lower Brades Lock. Gower Branch. BCN.


We have just turned out of the Gower Branch onto the New Main Line. BCN.


We are turning at Pudding Green Junction onto The Wednesbury Old Canal. BCN.


Ryder's Green Top Lock. The Wednesbury Old Canal carries on to the left, ending up as the curtailed Ridgacre ( Ridgeacre) Branch. We are carrying on down the Ryder's Green Locks - Walsall Canal. BCN.


Ryder's Green Flight of 8 Locks. looking back at the top lock and The Eight Locks pub. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Looking down the Ryder's Green Flight. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Ryder's Green Flight. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Ryder's Green Flight. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Ryder's Green Flight. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Ryder's Green Flight. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Ryder's Green Flight. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Ryder's Green Flight. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Ryder's Green Flight. The long pound before the bottom lock. Walsall Canal. BCN.


The Bottom Lock of the Ryder's Green Flight. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Entrance to the Ocker Hill Tunnel Branch. Walsall Canal. BCN.


The Black Country BW Office at Doe Bank Junction. Walsall Canal. BCN.


The right hand turn at Doe Bank Junction takes you onto the Tame Valley Canal, we continue on the Walsall Canal. BCN.


Looking back at Doe Bank Junction. Walsall Canal. BCN.


The disused Gospel Oak Branch. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Opposite the Gospel Oak Branch is the Leabrook Basin. Walsall Canal. BCN.


The disused railway line has been turned into the Midland Metro Tram line. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Looking back at Wiggins Mill Bridge and the Junction with the Gospel Oak Branch. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Monway Bridge. Willingsworth Hall Bridge in the distance. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Just after Willingsworth Hall Bridge is the reeded up end of the Bradley Locks Branch. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Looking back at the towpath overbridge for the Bradley Locks Branch. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Aqueduct over railway line, junction with the abandoned Anson Branch beyond. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Looking back at the Anson Branch Junction. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Embankment over the River Tame. M6 motorway crossing ahead. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Looking down from embankment at the River Tame. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Looking back at River Tame Embankment. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Spinks Bridge beyond the office over the canal. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Woodwards Bridge. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Approaching Walsall. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Looking back at the Walsall Canal from Walsall Junction, we have turned off down the Walsall Town Arm. 


Looking up the Walsall Locks from Walsall Junction.


A new tin shed has appeared on the site of one of the side arms.


Looking back at Walsall Junction.


Entering Walsall Basin. The new building directly ahead is the new art gallery.


Starting up the Walsall Flight of 8 locks. Bottom Lock No 8. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Walsall Flight, Lock No 7, looking down on the now closed flourmill and Bottom Lock No 8. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Walsall Flight Lock No 6, looking up at Lock No 5 and Birchills Street Bridge. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Walsall Flight Lock No 4, looking up at Lock No 3. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Walsall Flight, looking down at Lock No 5 and Birchills Street Bridge from Lock No 4. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Walsall Flight. Looking up Lock No 2 from Lock No 3. This pound was dry and we just let down enough water to get over the cill and into the next lock chamber. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Stuck in the pound below Top Lock No 1 as we let down just enough water to get in the final chamber. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Looking back at Lock No 2. The two Asian boys helped us with the gates. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Walsall Top Lock No 1. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Walsall Top Lock No 1 and the threatened with closure Birchills Canal Museum. Walsall Canal. BCN.


The canal above Walsall Top Lock is infested with floating Fairy Moss weed. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Looking back at Walsall Top Lock. Walsall Canal. BCN.


Approaching Birchills Junction at the top of the Walsall Canal. We will turn right at the junction and carry of along the Wyrley and Essington Canal. Rather crud infested Birchills Sainsbury moorings to the left. Walsall Canal. BCN.


We are just turning right at Birchills Junction. Looking back at towpath bridge and Stephenson Avenue Bridge. Wyrley and Essington Canal.


Green Lane Bridge. Wyrley and Essington Canal.


The Leamore Council Estate. Much tided up........but the occasional hopeless case dwelling. Wyrley and Essington Canal.


We are now clear of Bloxwich - Pelsall Works Bridge. Wyrley and Essington Canal.


Pelsall Junction, we are about to turn left up the Cannock Extension Canal stub. Wyrley and Essington Canal.


Friar Bridge, gauging narrows and BCN cottage, at the start of the Cannock Extension Canal. Cannock Extension Canal.


Looking back at Pelsall Junction. Cannock Extension Canal.


Pelsall Common Bridge and Green Bridge beyond. Cannock Extension Canal.


Looking back from the end of the Cannock Extension Canal, now cut off by the A5 Trunk Road. Cannock Extension Canal.


Canal Transport Services boatyard. Cannock Extension Canal.


Norton Canes Boatbuilders. Cannock Extension Canal.

The Tour Continues...


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