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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Back in Brum.

This morning didn't start out as it finished yesterday. There was no sun and the wind was a bit chilly.

We were soon underway and here is Helen heading to open the bottom gates on lock No.1. The Pensnett Canal led off to the right. Somebody had tried to jam an opened paddle on the bottom lock by ramming bricks etc into the cogs. It took a bit of fiddling about but I managed to get everything out and we were soon down an alongside at Blowers Green Services, dumping the rubbish and topping up with water. For 'Peeky Blinder' fans it seems that the bottom lock house and toll bar was used in the first series for filming.

I'm not sure if these geese are a recognised breed but they must be up there with the ugliest I have seen, definitely on a par with the Egyptian geese.

We were soon at Windmill End Junction and heading through Netherton Tunnel. We saw our first moving boat almost exactly at the halfway point in the tunnel!

It too us 40 mins to pass through. It would be pretty galling if you had walked through to find that the towpath gate at the far end was locked! The pier in the middle of the canal is the centre span of the Tividale Aqueduct where the Old Main Line passes overhead.

Once we got on the Main Line it was a straight line of nearly 2.5 miles. We were lucky that the wind was behind us. Once again the Virgin Train drivers proved themselves much nicer than other companies as when waving to approaching trains on the line next to the canal it was only they that tooted as they passed! This is not the only reason that you should travel with Virgin Trains.

This is the Steward Aqueduct where the Old Main Line crosses the New Main line again. The M5 crosses just before. The reason for the photo will come later.

Just to the east of the Steward Aqueduct lies this big factory. The closer bridge is an old access bridge to it. A little beyond is another bridge that looks to me like another aqueduct.

The structure of the second bridge is much more substantial than the first so must of taken a load. The hand rails look the same as those on the Steward Aqueduct. Looking on Google Earth there is no obvious remaining route shown to the Old Main Line although it is on the same level.

This the Engine Arm Aqueduct and the hand rails are not the same as the other two aqueducts.

On the cutting between the two entrances of the Icknield Port Loop are railings with different local themes that certainly add to the view rather than just plain rails.

We were soon moored up just before the Barclaycard Arena, on the 48 hour moorings, and after lunch headed into town for a bit of shopping. We had never been through the Great Western Arcade so headed down it. It reminded us of those in Leeds. Mind you it did have a Gregg's at the end! It brought us out on Colmore Row so it would have been rude not to stop off in the Wellington for a pint.

In Broad Street I liked the reflection of the Alpha Building plus a new structure going up in the Hyatt Regency Hotel mirrored windows. We should be here for a couple of days.

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