My sister, Judith, and her partner, Nigel, came up to Birmingham to stay with us for the weekend. We met them at the station on Saturday at lunchtime and they suggested we stop for a couple of beers at a pub they knew on the way back to the boat. It was one of the Brew Dog real ale pubs so plenty of choice of good beers. Fortunately they allow dogs in which is unusual for city pubs - city centres aren’t really the place for dogs. We stayed in on Saturday evening and Karen cooked a really good Jambalaya.
On Sunday morning we walked back to the station to meet my Dad who had travelled down from Yorkshire. On the way back we had a look at the fish removal that was being carried out in the drained section of canal at Gas Street.
Monday dawned a bit windy and wet but we still decided to have a cruise as that is one of the reasons my father was staying.
We started by going along the three main loops near the centre. These loops were made when the New Main Line canal cut through in a straight line into Birmingham. Buddy decided to sit patiently on a bridge whilst we got the boat ready and cast off.
The first loop was Oozels loop where nearly all the old wharves and warehouses have been removed and replaced by city centre apartments. This loop has no tow path so we all had to stay on board.
The second loop was Icknield loop which runs around the edge of Edgbaston reservoir and, again, it has no towpath.
The final loop, Soho loop, has a towpath and the first half goes past many derelict warehouses and wharves. It then runs through Winson Green residential area and then right alongside the Winson Green prison walls.
We stopped for lunch at Smethwick just as the weather turned and we had heavy sleet for a while. We then went up the three Smethwick locks and turned round at the entrance to the Engine Arm. The entrance to the arm is actually an aqueduct over the New Main Line.
Dad went for a quick walk across the aqueduct while I was turning the boat round.
We went back down the three locks and Dad walked back part of the way to warm up.
My Dad left on Tuesday after we walked round Birmingham for a while. We didn’t cruise anywhere as it was too windy but the outlook for Wednesday is better so we should get on the move again. We went for a long walk and also went round Edgbaston reservoir so Buddy could get a good run.
When walking across the dam at the end we could see down to the Ickneild loop that we had taken Dad along the day before.
We are both desperate to get out of the city and built up areas as it makes us feel claustrophobic. The plan is to start heading for Stratford, albeit by a rather roundabout route due to the Gas Street closure and various other locks closed for winter maintenance.