Friday 22 June

Before we left the museum arm we topped up with water and then headed right for Birmingham along the Wolverhampton Level.

This was our first journey along the entire length of this stretch of canal as before we’ve only joined it from the Gower Branch before heading West.

The water was crystal clear for the first few miles and it was wonderful to see fish of different sizes swimming amongst the plants.  However, as we got closer to Birmingham the water got cloudier until eventually it was impossible to see below the water.

The M5 was built over the canal and towers over the water on huge pillars.  It’s probably just as well that the motorists above don’t appreciate how much scaffolding is holding it up underneath at the moment.

It appears that the motorway is suffering from concrete cancer i.e. where the steel reinforcement rusts causing the concrete face to blow off.

Once clear of the motorway we came first to Smethick Pump House  that sits between the Birmingham and Wolverhampton Levels.   We visited the pump house a few years ago when it was open to the public for a day.  After that we came to Smethick Locks.

At the locks we noticed that the pound between the first and second lock was extremely how. In fact there was insufficient water for us to float over the bottom cill of the first lock and I had to let a lot of water through to refill the pound so that Blackbird could reach the second lock.

After that we passed through the other two locks without incident.

Our friends Pip and Mick, on NB Oleanna, had been in touch last night to say that they’d reached Birmingham.  Last night moorings were full but today there was plenty of space and we up right behind them.   It was nice to be greeted first by a cheery wave and then with hugs and kisses.

Andy and Mandy arrived about half an hour after us and they moored opposite.

We’re planning a meal out together this evening so we can have a good chat without six adults squeezing into the cozy confines of a narrowboat.


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