Thursday, November 28, 2013

A dull day but a close encounter!

Rain overnight, dry but grey this morning. Still very mild, though, for the end of November.

We filled with water and emptied the loos before we set off this morning, Graham Palmer Lock just 5 minutes away.

Graham Palmer Lock…SAM_7286

…and the man himself.
Volunteers from The Waterway Recovery Group were instrumental in the reopening of this section of the canal. Graham Palmer was one of the founder members, and this new lock has been dedicated to him. It’s a pity some oik decided to deface the memorial stone…

The lock only drops the canal about 18 inches, but made the restoration that much easier. The banks are reinforced with gabions, wire baskets filled with stone.

Perry Aqueduct marks the start of a straight, shallow embankment, with overhanging trees on the offside.

Perry AqueductSAM_7290


I’d just said to Mags that it looks like good kingfisher territory when….
I couldn’t believe it when he made no move to fly off till I was right alongside!
Still slightly off focus, but the best I’ve taken to date.

The entrance to Rednal Basin is crossed by a now fixed swing bridge. The basin itself is completely overgrown now. SAM_7293
The basin was built to service a bone works and transhipment wharf to the adjacent railway. The section to the basin is also known as the Bone Works Arm. Bone meal was used as a fertiliser.

The towpath swaps sides at Heath Houses, where the railway crosses as well as the roving bridge.

Heath Houses

The building to the left was a passenger terminal for fly-boats operating between here and Newtown. The low bankside gave easy access to the boats.

At Queens Head the busy A5 crosses over the canal, on it’s way from London to Holyhead. When I lived in Leicestershire this was my regular route to walking and climbing in Snowdonia. Queens Head made a useful point to break the journey.
In those days I didn’t have a car that was comfortable (or reliable) enough to do the 175 mile trip in one go…

Queens HeadSAM_7298
There are moorings here, on the left in the shadow of the building, but they’re alongside a fairly busy minor road. Anyway, having been out in the sticks for the last couple of nights, civilisation would come as a shock! So we decided to try for a mooring near the three Aston Locks.

Aston Top Lock, no chance of mooring above here.SAM_7299

Restored horse boat Saturn is moored below the top lock

Between Locks 1 and 2 the channel is narrow, overgrown with reed banks on the offside.

Below Lock 2 the banks are heavily wooded, so we dropped down the bottom lock.

Aston Lock 3SAM_7304


Beyond the canal is a nature reserve, created when the canal was restored. The lock-keepers hut has a basement, now flooded, probably with seepage from the lock.
I’m not sure of it’s function, the construction of the top frame doesn’t match those of the windows or door.

Mags waiting for me below the lock.SAM_7306

We tried unsuccessfully to get in below the lock landing, but did finally moor just before Park Mill Bridge. There’s a winding hole here, this was the limit of the restored navigation in 2000.

Once again we’ve not seen another boat today, I wonder if we’re the only visiting boat at the moment? We’ll find out tomorrow, as we’re going to the end of the navigable canal to have a look at the next leg.

Locks 4, miles 5


Adam said...

We can highly recommend the Navigation Inn at Maesbury Marsh.

Geoff and Mags said...

Thanks Adam
Might well give it a whirl...