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Tours 2000, BCN, Severn Estuary, K&A and River Wey

15 - Friday 14th July - Birmingham. Farmers Bridge Locks. Digbeth Branch. Grand Union Canal to Lapworth. Southern Stratford canal to Preston Bagot.

Weather - cloudy with a few showers, completely clear in late evening.

Left St Vincent St 14 day moorings in Birmingham at 6.50. Decided to go out on GU, then Southern Stratford, Avon, Severn and G&S. Started Farmers Bridge at 7.00 and finished at 7.50, that's a bit more like it! Aston Junction, 8.05, Ashted Top Lock 8.15, Ashted Bottom Lock 8.40. Bordesley Junction / Camp Hill Top lock, 8.55, Camp Hill Top lock 9.30. Uneventful day so far, no boats passed. At Camp Hill Top lock there was a Clifton Cruisers hire boat. When they eventually worked out there was someone coming up the lock they did the "normal" and tried to pull of in front of us. They did not make it due to an excessive amount of ropes! These were probably necessary to stay tied up her overnight! Neil shut up lock and legged it up the towpath and got on at the second bridge. We now had competitive narrowboating from Tysley. Eventually through the now very grotty cutting sections (much crud lurking in water, most of it chucked down from end of gardens), we lost them in all the crud we were kicking up. They eventually stopped at Catherine De Barnes Bridge 78. Here BW were disposing of all the floating crud they had collected. It is a shame they don't give this section a good dredge, then take the local fly tippers to court! Arrived at Knowle Top Lock at 12.45 and stopped for a quick water top up as there were some boats coming up. We were out of the bottom at 13.25. Stopped for lunch break (Gasp!) at Black Boy pub for 1 hour, not terribly inspiring. It suffered from "sticky table" syndrome. Crossed over to Southern Stratford at 15.35 and carried on to Preston Bagot bottom lock. We met some traffic on the Stratford, but not much for the time of year. We arrived for the night at 18.30 as Neil fancied the Crab Mill pub / bistro. This was a 10 minute walk up the road from Preston Bagot. It was essential to book.  This proved to be very upmarket and a good meal.


Aston Junction. Aston Locks start straight ahead. We turn right towards the Grand Union way out of Brum. Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. BCN.

Aston Junction BCN Signpost. Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. BCN.

Warwick Bar, the official start of the Grand Union. Grand Union Canal.

Fazeley Street Wharf. Grand Union Canal.

Bordesley Junction. The already traversed Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal goes of to the left. Camp Hill Bottom Lock in the distance. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Bottom Lock No 57. Grand Union Canal.

Looking back at Bordesley Junction from Camp Hill Bottom Lock No 57. Grand Union Canal.

Detail of new ornate Camp Hill Bottom Lock No 57 top gate. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Lock No 56. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Lock No 56, looking up at Lock No55. Grand Union Canal.

Looking back at Camp Hill Lock No 56. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Lock No 55. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Lock No 55. Grand Union Canal.

Narrowboat brick picture between the two new bridges. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Lock No 54. Re-sited here in the 1970's due to the road improvements. This has led to a ridiculously sharp corner. Grand Union Canal.

Starting turn in the turning basin. New road bridges behind. Grand Union Canal.

Looking back from Camp Hill Lock No 54. The turning basin for the new sharp corner. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Lock No 54. This new lock is much slower to fill compared with the old locks. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Lock No 54. This new lock has bottom gate paddles instead of ground paddles like the rest of the old locks. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Lock No 53. Grand Union Canal.

Looking back from Camp Hill Lock No 53. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Lock No 53. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Top Lock No 52. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Top Lock No 52. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Top Lock No 52. Grand Union Canal.

Camp Hill Top Lock No 52. Grand Union Canal.

Looking onwards from Camp Hill Top Lock No 52. The well roped up hire boat was too slow off the mark! Grand Union Canal.

Looking back at Camp Hill Top Lock No 52. Grand Union Canal.

Factories in Sparkbrook. The extensive Small Heath railway sidings were to the left. Grand Union Canal.

Grand Union Canal.

Bridge No 88F and Railway Bridge 88E. Grand Union Canal.

Ackers Trust Basin. Grand Union Canal.

The straight beyond Bridge No 88. Grand Union Canal.

The start of the rubbish filled cuttings at Tysley! Grand Union Canal.

Bridge No 85. Grand Union Canal.

Bridge No 84. Grand Union Canal.

Catherine De Barnes Wharf. BW have been collecting up the FLOATING rubbish. Grand Union Canal.

One for the graffiti collection under the M42 Bridge. It has now started to rain fairly seriously. Grand Union Canal.

Kixley Footbridge No 73A. Grand Union Canal.

Stephen Goldsborough's Knowle Hall Wharf at the top of the Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

People coming up Lock No 50. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

People coming up Lock No 50. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

Top Lock No51. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

Top Lock No51. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

We eventually get into the Top Lock No 51. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

Colin on the "candles". These ones are slightly smaller than the Stockton / Hatton "candles". Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

Peter W taking Earnest into Lock No 49. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

Peter W taking Earnest into Lock No 49. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

Get both "candles" up fast and you can make some pretty ferocious water. This also leads to the lovely characteristic sucking sound as the lock finally empties. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

Nearly down in Lock No 49. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

Lock No 48. To the left you can see one of the remains of one of the old narrow locks. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

Lock No 48. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

Bottom Lock No 47. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

Bottom Lock No 47. Knowle Flight. Grand Union Canal.

The visited Black Boy pub at Bridge No 69. Grand Union Canal.

Lapworth Junction. The link up to the Stratford Canal is under the towpath bridge. Grand Union Canal.

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