Monday, 8 September 2014

Garrison, Ashted and the Old Thirteen Locks. Five miles, five hours and twenty four locks.

In 1844 the Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal was opened from Bordesley Junction at the bottom of camp Hill Locks to connect with the Birmingham and Fazeley at Salford Junction. It became known as the Bottom Road by the working boatmen and was generally considered, even by those less than fastidious chaps, to be the filthiest stretch of canal to be found anywhere.

On Tuesday we turned onto it under the M6 at Salford Junction and moored on the pontoon at Star World, an entertainment complex on the sight of the old Nechells power station. Decent secure moorings and surprisingly quiet considering how close the motorway is. Plenty of eateries there, we chose Nandos, jolly good peri-peri chicken.
Yesterday morning we set off for central Birmingham, the canal is still less than salubrious,

The first lock of the Garrison flight, the lock cottage has been torched and they've tried to burn the beam on one of the bottom gates. As this stretch was never part of the BCN it has the normal double bottom gates on the five locks of the flight.

We were puzzled by the way the water came into the locks as you raised the paddles, it appeared to come in at both ends. Do they have a culvert carrying some of the water to the back of the lock? Any one out there with that information?

We've just turned right out of Bordesley Junction onto the Digbeth Branch of the BCN and behind us

the bottom lock of the Camp Hill flight, leading off south on the Grand Union and eventually London.

At Proof House Junction there is an old stop lock originally known as Warwick Bar. It is now disused, but it has two sets of gates at each end so it could operate in either direction, intriguing.

As you emerge from the junction there is a short arm leading to Typhoo Basin, once home to that well known purveyor of excellent tea. Who remembers the two thousand little perforations? Apparently it is now produced somewhere on the Wirral.

Under Curzon Street Station and it's another six locks.

Proper BCN ones with the single bottom gate.

Passing Aston Junction where the Aston Locks provide the alternative route to Salford Junction.
Then all that is left to tackle is the Old Thirteen, a.k.a. the Farmers Bridge Flight.

One of my favourite flights. Having conquered them you arrive at

Old Turn Junction and the fleshpots of central Birmingham. We stopped a bit short of the junction as there was space at Cambrian Wharf so we are snugged in here for a day or two.

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


nb Chuffed said...

Nice to see you again on the Farmer's bridge locks - we went down the Aston flight which seemed quite salubrious compared to the way you came!
Debby and Dave

Graham and Jill Findlay said...

We've ticked the bottom road off now and in future it will be the Aston flight for us!