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Desmond Family Canoe Trail
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In John's latest blog he shares his trip, on the highest part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations, to a boat rally at Titford Pools.
On Saturday morning I was on the Gower Branch of the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) where I'd tied the previous night. I decided to do something about the small saplings growing out of the towpath wall.
So I spontaneously volunteered and got my saw out and dealt with them (they were too small to have birds nesting in them). One hour later, all done. For those who don't know it, the Gower Branch is not very long - maybe half a mile - so not that difficult. But it is typical of the BCN today - lots of greenery as nature has reclaimed it.
I'd left the Museum at Dudley the evening before, stopping in Tipton to shop - see photo above. Then down Tipton Factory three locks (no empty bottom pound this time - but do report it if you find it empty as numbers of reports matter) and so to a quiet night time mooring on the Friday night.
After my volunteering effort, I went up Brades locks (did you know here is the only staircase lock on the BCN?) and then up the easy to work six Oldbury Locks on the Titford Canal.
This is the highest part of the BCN at over 500 ft. The estimable BCN Society (I'm a member) was holding another of their annual rallies around the historic Pumphouse. In recent years, there has been an added impetus as, with others including Canal & River Trust, the Society has been promoting civic and other improvements to the Titford Pools which are about a mile above the top lock. There's a pub there too!
The Pools used to have an unfavourable reputation but over a dozen boats went up there this weekend, ranging from the delightful wooden JEMIMA to the ex working boat ATLAS as well as my HELEN , drawing 3 ft - see photo above right. There's some good wildlife too. My photo of the two herons, right, doesn't do justice to the scene as there were four in a row.
I've left HELEN at Titford, readily positioned for the BCN 24 hours Challenge in two weeks . Watch this space .
John Dodwell was formerly one of our 10 trustees. He owns Helen, a 51ft old BCN tug/icebreaker which draws 3ft and is based near Stourbridge, West Midlands. His waterways interest goes back to the early 1960s.
John’s been involved in the waterways since the early 1960s and he enjoys all aspects of the waterways. To pick out one oddity, he was pleased and surprised to see about a dozen herons this June around the BCN Main Line, including two under the M6 motorway!