Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Black Country Musium

Captains Log Canal Date 13th July 2010 Travels Miles 11.5 Locks 22 Current Location Black Country Museum OS Ref SO 949 918 The weather has deteriorated; rain and drizzle are the order of the day. Just like a proper English summer. At least the rain is warm and the canal banks were starting to look a bit parched; however the canals themselves are still quite wet! As we completed the final leg of the Shropshire Union canal, we were travelling through considerable weed banks, a sign of the previous warm weather no doubt. The water is as murky as can be, you can not see into the water at all. At the end of the Shroppie you join with the Staffs & Worcester for a mile or so before we turned onto the BCN. What a difference! Instant locks, one after the other – 21 of them all in a row. The forecast had promised rain later so we set off early. Very early by our standards, we were moving by 10.00!!! It worked well; we had completed 19 of the 21 flight before the rain started. After 3 ¼ hours of lock wheeling we had reached the summit in Wolverhampton. The water in the BCN is very different to the other canals we have travelled this year. I would expect it to be about the worst possible, as it runs through a very heavily industrialised area but no, it is crystal clear! You can see the bottom of the canal where the plant life allows. Fish were swimming everywhere you looked ranging from small fry to whoppers! I am not much into fish but these had scales & tails, fins & eyes so you know what they are now. The rain continued through the afternoon until we reached our destination. When we arrived at the Black Country Museum it changed from rain to a downpour. Still I am quite used to getting wet here, this time I do not intend to fall in though. It’s far too warm for that. Captains Log Canal Date 11th July 2010 Travels Miles 15 Locks NONE AT ALL Current Location Wheaton Aston OS Ref SJ 855 130 What a change from previous day’s travels, today we have travelled 16 miles lock free. Pam will be getting soft, still all this will change when we get to the Wolverhampton 21 flight. The weather has remained fine with temperature in the high 20’s and just enough breeze to cool things down. We travelled non stop today, even had lunch on the move. Not because we are in any particular hurry, more because when lunch was ready there was not a suitable mooring space. Even though this is a return of the previous trip, things look very different when approached from the opposite side. Only the odd land mark standing out as a reminder of an earlier trip. We are moored in the centre of the town/village. Not much here but then we don’t want much either. We shall fill up with diesel as it is as cheap as it gets here. We will find some bread and cake tomorrow before we set off. Until then, this will do us fine. Captains Log Canal Date 10th July 2010 Travels Miles 15 Locks 22 Narrow Current Location Wharf Tavern Inn Cheswardine, 4 miles south of Market Drayton OS Ref SJ 706 292 We have a plan! We are not very good with pans but we do have a provisional plan and timetable for our return to gods own county of Worcestershire. We have worked out that if we can keep to a rather punishing regime of travelling 4hours every other day we should make it by next weekend. As with all plans there may be a flaw. The first thing is my inbuilt aversion to travelling in anything other than sun shine; another is that we will stop at any good mooring, just so long as it has a nice pub and away from housing estates. As we shall be soon approaching the Wolverhampton and Birmingham conurbations, that may cause problems. We set off on phase one of the grand master plan the plan was to get as far as Market Drayton last night. We had a continuous flight of locks to start the day, we are grand master of locks now and have a well tried and tested routine. I found out that no matter how good you are with locks you are just as slow as the idiot in front and boy did we have an idiot in front! First two locks took just under an hour. After that they sorted them selves out a bit and things went a bit more smoothly. Towards the end of the first flight of 14 locks the clouds changed from nice and white to very heavy dark grey, however, the threatened rain once again did not happen. We arrived at Market Drayton as planned but it has a lot of houses so we did not stop other that to empty the waste tanks and refill the fresh water. In stead we continued our journey up even more locks! We found a spot just outside a pub, no housing estates. This will do for us. Still no internet, still poor phone coverage, still no TV, looks like the pub tonight. Captains Log Canal Date 9th July 2010 Travels Miles 10 Locks 9 Narrow Lift Bridge 1 Current Location Audlum OS Ref SJ 658 435 We continued our journey on to Audlem. Once again the weather is hot and humid, the sort of summer weather that usually ends in a storm, Again the clouds built up during the afternoon and again no rain to speak of. There are 2 things we need from Audlum. First and foremost there is a craft shop that Pam wanted to look at again, (just in case something has changed in the last few weeks) and we wanted some more meat from the roving butcher, his produce is just the best. Whilst there we did a short re stock of the food cupboard and as we were moored in-between two pubs we had to decide which one to frequent. The “Shroppie Fly” won the day and yes it was just as good as last time.

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