Thursday 5th July 2012
We didn't get to go out last night as planned. It was tipping it down so we stayed in and had burgers instead.
On the strength of yesterday's forecast for today we planned to move up to the start of the Wyrley and Essington. This morning the forecast had changed to showers with warnings they could be very heavy.
It was raining early on, but we set of anyway in very light mizzel. I hadn't made up my mind as to our route, would we take the New Birmingham Level Main Line (new being in canal terms, not recent) or turn off through Smethwick locks and rise onto the Old Main Line/Wolverhampton Level. When we got to Smethwick Junction, the rain had stopped and the sun even tried to come out, so I turned for the locks deciding to take the old line, which is more curly, and interesting.
The view from the canal is quite rural, with very little sign of the industry around here. The canal spends a fair bit of time weaving under the M5 elevated section, and at one point we were cruising through a place where there are 4 levels of transport crossing. The motorway over a railway, over us on the Old Main Line, which in turn is on an aqueduct over the New Main Line.
The canal then moves back into green, country looking mode. It doesn't seem to be heavily travelled as witnessed by the amount of lilys and other weed around. The propeller was clogged up many times, but luckily I managed to clear it by using reverse instead of having to dive into the weed hatch. We did come across a work boat doing some dredging, so it should improve.
Although the weather stayed fairly bright I decided not to push and get to Wolverhampton but stop at Tipton for the night, hoping to make it to Mad O'Rourke's Pie Factory for a meal. We've been before, and it was great.