The return down Farmer's went as expected but I decided (without consulting the crew) to make our way via the Garrison flight rather than the Aston flight just for a change. We were off to Coventry Beer Festival but weren't in a rush. So turn off at Aston Junction onto the Digbeth Canal and we were confronted with Ashted Tunnel, a flooded basin and a very tight squeeze. Rather than do the sensible thing and let water out, I ploughed on regardless and managed to sever the TV areal cable that was hanging over the side of the boat. Oops. In fact all of the pounds were flooded all the way down.
It was obvious this is not a well used branch but very easy nonetheless. There was quite a bit of flattened building material around but you can tell there will be a fair amount of rebuilding around these parts in the very near future.
The locks were well oiled but we passed no other boats either moored or moving until we reached Bordesley Junction where we nearly bumped into a hirer looking shell shocked. It was a very interesting part of the system from an industrial architecture perspective. At Bordesley Junction we turned onto the Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal and headed to Garrison Locks. These were a different kettle of fish and there was much graffiti, rubbish and signs of urban decay. Really quite disgusting in places although it is more used than the Digbeth Branch it is a lot more unpleasant.
At Salford Junction we had a problem turning onto the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal as there isn't a lot of room. There are signs that others had similar problems with the concrete wall opposite with great chunks taken out of it where the bow of boats had collided and a sigh saying not to hit 'our wall'. I considered moving down to the Birmingham and Fazely and Tame Valley junction and winding there but with much tooing and frooing we made it around.
Arrived back at Alvacote the next day without any further issues just in time to complete the various administration tasks we needed to do. On the Friday we made our way up the Athestone Flight. This put the Garrison flight into perspective and we appreciated this flight more than ever. The sun was out, in the countryside, easy locks and friendly people. You really have to journey through unpleasant areas to place the rest of the system into some kind of perspective.
We arrived at Coventry Basin on Friday afternoon and prepared for an evening of beer sampling. Terri and another friend, Matt, joined us for the evening and much joviality ensued only slightly spoilt by Lisa having to run the pair of them to Luton airport to return to their acting job in Germany at four am the next morning. If we could't drink much on the Friday evening, we made up for it on the Saturday afternoon session when there were just Lisa and I.
|Well I never.|
Reading this post back, it is dreadfully boring. It reads more like some other boating blogs out there (you know which ones I mean). Sorry about that. I'll try to do better next time.