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Monday, 2 December 2013

New month and junctions.

With December upon us (where did November go?) I got to thinking about junctions in life and in general. My kids have started new jobs and the run up to Christmas starts and I had a look through the photo archive as I remembered taking photos of signposts as junctions.

Probably the first one, and certainly one of the most picturesque, would be Hazlehurst Junction on the Caldon Canal.

The setting with the white painted lock cottage and stone bridge make it very pretty indeed. 

I wonder when the signposts were erected as I can't believe that they were required by the working boatmen in times gone bye. They must have been needed when leisure use was becoming dominant and before the guides became cheaper and more easily found.

On the BCN they seem to have them at every junction and this maybe because there were so many junctions in a small area, and with it largely all being industrial surroundings, maybe not so discernible.

Pelsall Junction at the Wyrley and Essington Canal and Cannock Extension Canal Junction.

Salford Junction underneath M6 Motorway where the Grand Union Canal or 'Saltley Cut' and the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal meet and the Tame Valley Canal enters too.

Deepfields Junction where the BCN New Main Line cuts of the neck of the 'Wednesbury Loop' of the BCN Old Main Line. Part of the loop is retained to access the C&RT yard at Bradley. We will explore this next time we pass I think.

Digbeth Junction was quite exciting for us as you pass through Warwick Bar to get to it which would be a honey pot tourist destination if it was in a different place as the buildings and canal seem almost original hereabouts. We explored Typhoo Basin and it would make a wonderful mooring almost in the heart of the Second City. This area and the Ashted Locks are undergoing a regeneration and in a few years it could well be on the tourist map.

I suppose the junction on the BCN would not win a beauty contest, but then most junctions on the canals where purposeful rather than romantic. Some are better than others and Old Turn Junction, which is at the top of the Farmer's Bridge Locks and really at the centre of the canal area of Birmingham, is quite a good setting with the plethora of iron bridges and overlooked by the National Indoor Arena and the Sealife Centre with it's 'round-about' in the middle make it probably one of the most photographed.

Old Turn Junction on the BCN.

However for sheer WOW appeal my vote would have to go to Dunkinfield Junction at the meeting of the Peak Forest and the Ashton Canals and effectively the start of the jumping off route over the Pennines on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

Dunkinfield Junction at night taken from the footbridge over the Ashton Canal, with the reflections in Portland Basin of the warehouse housing the Industrial museum and with the crown topped chimney of the defunct Junction Mill overseeing all.

I'm sure everybody will have their favourite junction but lets say this is mine for the 2013 season as we actually went through it three times too.

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