Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Left Birmingham yesterday morning heading for the Black Country Museum at Tipton, near Dudley.  There is an extensive canal system around Birmingham, known as the BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigation's).  We mostly stayed on the New Main Line but took a few diversions into some of the more interesting arms and loops.

Icknield Loop is just a very industrial length of canal with old dilapidated warehouses on one side and lots of parked vans across the other.  There is no towpath and it has an air of abandonment.  But then as you come round the bottom of the loop there is a waterways office and loads of moored boats.

Turning into Icknield Loop from the Main Line.

Boats moored at the bottom of Icknield Loop

More boats moored at the bottom of Icknield Loop
 Soho Loop is much better maintained with a proper towpath and a mixture of industrial and residential areas.
A bridge on Soho Loop

Winson Green Prison is right next to the canal on the Soho Loop

Coming out of the loop and back on the the main line proved exciting due to the wind and we didn't quite make it round on the first attempt!

Approaching the end of the Soho loop with a boat passing on the main line
The only other diversion was turning at Albion Junction onto the Gower Branch.  There was a lock here with a low bridge in front.  So low that I had to take all the chimneys down.  A group of lads hanging around under the bridge directed me through and informed me that not many boats came this way.  Had a fascinated audience of people who had never seen a boat go through these locks.  After this it was a short trip to the Black Country museum where we are now moored up.

Spent a fascinating day today looking round the museum and also going on a boat trip through the limestone caverns in this area.  Had fish and chips for lunch.  Cooked in beef dripping and not vegetable oil.  Delicious, best fish and chips we have eaten for years!

Boats at the Black Country Museum

Dudley Tunnel and Limestone Caverns

Tomorrow we will be going through Netherfield Tunnel.  Think there is some history, possibly the last ever tunnel built on the canal system.  I will check it out though as not sure.

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