Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sunny skies after snow…

Rain this morning turned to snow for half an hour, fat slushy stuff that had no chance of settling. We waited till the day started to show some improvement, getting away just before midday.

Just around the corner is Huddlesford Junction, once giving access to the Northern Birmingham Canal Navigations, now a short stub occupied by the Lichfield Cruising Club.

Huddlesford Junction and LCC mooringsSAM_8196

SAM_8201The canal swings around the edge of the village of Whittington, where there’s a marker indicating the junction of the Coventry and Birmingham and Fazeley Canals.

The Coventry Canal was built to link the coalfields of Nuneaton and Bedworth to the city, and ultimately to connect to the Trent and Mersey and points north. The first section, up to Atherstone, was completed by 1771, but by then support and financial resources were dwindling and the canal stopped at this point.

The Birmingham and Fazeley Canal was started in 1784, one of this company’s aims was to join the Coventry Canal at Fazeley (hence the name). One major drawback was that the Coventry hadn’t reached Fazeley, and seemed unlikely to do so.

So an agreement between the two companies was reached, whereby the CCC would undertake to get their canal to Fazeley, and the B&FCC would continue the line up to Whittington Brook. In a rare spirit of co-operation, the Trent and Mersey Company would then build the link up to Fradley Junction, thus completing the scheme.

The whole route was finally finished in 1790, bringing immediate benefits to all three companies involved. The Fradley to Whittington section was later purchased by the Coventy Canal Company, else we would probably know it today as the Whittington Branch of the Trent and Mersey.
For convenience we now call all the canal from Fradley Junction to Coventry the Coventry Canal, but this bit we’re on now is actually the B&F. It should really be the Birmingham and Whittington Canal, eh?

The Birmingham and Fazeley Company were unusual in that they gave their bridges names, rather than the prosaic numbers others used.

The skies continued to brighten, sunny spells lengthening as we approached Hopwas. We even saw several boats on the move, including these two, one towing the other. SAM_8202
A bit of a project, maybe?

The sun was shining out of a clear sky as we chugged alongside Hopwas Wood, with the very swollen River Tame on the other side.

Hopwas WoodSAM_8211

I decided to pull over at Hopwas, mooring just before School Bridge. We were thinking of heading for Fazeley, but I needed to chop some wood and thought I’d take advantage of the fine afternoon. I don’t think I’ll be cutting any tomorrow, in fact we probably won’t be stirring far from the boat at all…more rain, snow, ice and wind due to hit us.

Hi Rita and Scooby, good to hear from you. Bill and Ginny, Wilvir, send their regards. How’s the paint job looking?

Locks 0, miles 4

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