Friday, April 15, 2011

Getting Broody

A lot of the ducks have already had their first brood, but there are still some optimistic drakes chasing the females around.

Yet more ducklings

The swans and moorhens are still waiting for their happy events.

Swan

Moorhen pair

We toddled off around 10 this morning, bright and sunny as we passed alongside Hopwas Wood

Hopwas Wood

To the right can be seen a WWII blockhouse, part of a defensive line running along the River Tame. There’s another further north in the water meadows.

Cloud started to build up as it got towards noon, but it stayed mild.

Whittington is a handy stop, with shops and pubs, but we went straight through today. Spotted the resident gnomes near Bridge 79.

Gnomes of Whittington.

Remember that series The Gnomes of Dulwich? Used to have me in stitches.

In Whittington we moved back onto Coventry Canal waters. The Coventry Canal Company was in financial difficulty by the time they dug their way to Fazeley, so the Grand Trunk Canal Company (owners of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal) took over, continuing northwards from Fazeley on the original route. This wasn’t philanthropy; completing the canal up to the Trent and Mersey gave them a link between the Potteries and the Warwickshire coalfields.

The CCC later resumed construction up to Fradley, so the section from Fazeley to Whittington Brook is actually the Birmingham and Fazeley, and the section from Whittington to Fradley is an isolated stretch of the Coventry.

The Wyrley and Essington or Lichfield Canal was built in 1797 to connect the Coventry with the Anglesey Branch of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. It joins the Coventry at Huddlesford Junction, but currently is only navigable a short distance, used by the Lichfield Cruising Club. There’s an active restoration project under way however. I hope the LCC don’t begrudge the loss of their moorings if it comes to fruition.

LCC moorings at Huddlesford Junction.

I think BW have been having a bit of a sort out along here. The moorings near The Plough were always full with “continuous moorers”, but today they’re nearly empty.

The Plough moorings at Huddlesford.

There does seem to be a community of boats appeared just south though, next to Bowman’s Bridge. So they’ve not moved far…..

Just before we cruised the noisy bit alongside the A38 we passed Streethay Wharf. They seem to specialise in restoring burnt-out boats.

NB Banjo Boy awaiting attention.

NB Reckless (of The Boat That Guy Built fame) falls into this category. She was relined, replumbed and rewired before the BBC got hold of her. She’s now back at Streethay, on brokerage for £41,500.

NB Reckless, just peeking out from behind another boat.

Another couple of miles saw us pulled in at Bridge 90, about a mile short of Fradley Junction. It’s nearer the village here, and I’ve some shopping to do in the morning. Just as well, when I took Meg for a walk this afternoon the moorings on the Coventry just before the junction were full, as were most of those opposite the cafĂ©. There was the odd space up at Shadehouse Lock, and that’s where we’ll be heading for tomorrow.

Mark left a comment on yesterday’s post regarding lock flights. My own view is that if a group of locks is given one name and the individual locks are numbered, then that constitutes a flight. Hence Glascote Locks 1 and 2 constitute a flight, but the 5 Fradley locks (lower case!), all with individual names, do not. Unless anyone has other ideas…..

Locks 0, miles 7

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