Monday, 12 March 2012

We get to Queens Head where we are viciously attacked on the towpath.

Heading out for Queens Head you soon come to Graham Palmer Lock, named after the founder of the Waterways Recovery Group who have contributed so much to the restoration of the waterways.

The stone memorial was vandalised several years ago and I believe a fund was started to replace it but nothing seems to have been done so far.

It's not the deepest lock on the system and originally there was not a lock at this position. During the years the canal was closed the surrounding land, mostly peat, was drained and as it dried it shrank so there was a discrepancy in the level of the canal bed, the lock was put in to allow for this.
It was between here and Perry Aqueduct

that the major breach occoured in 1936 which effectively closed the canal, although it was 1944 before it was officially abandoned.
At Rednal there was a transhipment basin between the canal and the Great Western Railway,

the basin is at the end of this side arm, it is now a nature reserve, its commercial days long in the past.
Also long out of use is the canal side warehouse at Heath Houses,

it started life as the terminus of a passenger fly boat service from Newtown, the idea was that you caught a boat to here and then transferred to the train, it would appear that the idea never really caught on and the boats only ran for a short while.

Queens Head moorings, they are o.k. but we prefer to go through the bridges and down the first of the Aston Locks where the Saturn, the restored Shroppie Fly boat, is moored, and tie up out in the sticks.

Having moored we set off up the towpath back to the pub for lunch, unfortunately the towpath has been taken over by a pair of thugs who dispute the passage of anyone who trespasses on what they regard as their territory.

So persistent were they in their attack, hissing and honking, that I was forced to hiss back (I didn't try honking, a bit outside my vocal range I feel), this seemed to take them by surprise and having called their bluff they eventually they allowed us through and we made it to the Queens Head

where the application of a couple of pints of Stonehouse Brewery's Station Bitter and a hearty lunch put fresh heart into us.

Watch this space...............

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