Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

  • Blog Index as a pull down

  • Recent Posts

  • Meta

  • Recent Comments

  • wordpress counter

BCN Marathon Challenge (5) – Sunday 5am – 8am

Posted by indigodream on 31 May, 2009

Pelsall Junction (5.05am) to Rushall Top Lock

When the alarm went off at 5am it was fully light and the mist was rising off the water like steam off a witch’s cauldron. The mooring had been quiet and trouble-free.

Richard leapt up and got us underway, stopping for a brief chat with a boater who was towing his broken down boat towards a boatyard. I got up on deck at 5.30am, having done the decent thing and showered first! Fulbourne had obviously caught up with us during the night and were moored nearby – I wonder when they arrived, there was no sign of them when we went to bed at 11.30pm.

Despite our fast getaway, we weren’t early enough to beat working boats Malus and Atlas, who must have started out from Sneyd Green in the wee small hours to get to the junction by 5am. We followed them for a while, taking advantage of their slow pace to give the dogs an early morning run down the towpath. Blue and Lou were surprisingly  cheerful given that they’d normally laze around in bed until 10.30am at home.

But it was a joyful morning with clear blue skies and the mist burning off quickly to give the promise of another fine day. It was chilly at first, but I’m gradually divesting the layers as the sun gently climbs towards its zenith. This may be the nicest time to cruise on a hot day, though I do love the treacle thickness of the twilight water.

We eventually walked forward and had a word, then overtook the working pair outside the giant Tesco at Brownhills, where enterprising locals had managed to foist a whole line of linked trolleys into the water – enterprising! There were good moorings here though.

Shortly after came the turn onto the next canal at Catshill Junsction. We were now on the Daw End Canal and very interesting it is too. We passed nb. Time Well Spent, who was moored up but obviously on the BCN Challenge as they had a very smart painted board advertising the fact. Their sign matched their boat’s livery and was decorated with traditional canal roses. Let that be our inspiration for next time.

We also passed nb Golden Eagle, ng Griffin and tug Joanna, who we’d last seen at Spon Lane Locks – it feels like an eternity ago, but it was only yesterday!

The canal’s tremendous here – light industry on the offside and dramatic views over the towpath – sometimes over the red rooftops then suddenly over the awesome drop into the local quarry which mines the vivid red stone/clay. We found out later that this VAST hole in the ground (we never saw the bottom, even from the boat roof) is attached to a brick-making works, probably Ibstock. We enjoyed the surreal sight of a positively medieval castle wall of brick pallets – if you’ve ever had trouble imagining what a million bricks might look like then come here and see them for yourself.

Daw End Marina was a welcome sign of boating life and the 48-hour moorings just beyond looked good. Definitely a good place to moor as the towpath side otherwise can be very shallow. It’s one of those dilemmas – why should BW dredge out the sides of a canal that’s barely used; on the other hand, if it’s difficult to moor because the edge is shallow then how can we encourage more boaters to come here?

There are some wicked skew bridges here with blind turns into and out of them – watch out for Latham’s Bridge, literally, keep a lookout and go slow, it’s quite a turn!

The canal’s reminiscent of the Kennet and Avon in places – lined with reeds and surrounded by verdant fields. It certainly matches the K & A for narrowness in places with thick reedbanks either side. Who’d have thought that part of the BCN could have anything in common with it’s rural cousin in the South.

Just past Daw End Bridge we caught up with Saltaire and had an incoming boat – Shropshire Lass who we last saw on thOld Main Line yesterday.

This is a very nice bit of canal!

<!–[if !mso]> <! st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } –>

Pelsall Junction (5.05am) to Rushall Top Lock

When the alarm went off at 5am it was fully light and the mist was rising off the water like team off a witch’s cauldron. The mooring had been quiet and trouble-free.

Richard leapt up and got us underway, stopping for a brief chat with a boater who was towing his broken down boat towards a boatyard. I got up on deck at 5.30am, having done the decent thing and showered first! Fulbourne had obviously caught up with us during the night and were moored nearby – I wonder when they arrived, there was no sign of them when we went to bed at 11.30pm.

Despite our fast getaway, we weren’t early enough to beat working boats Malus and Atlas, who must have started out from Senyd Green in the wee small hours to get to the junction by 5am. We followed them for a while, taking advantage of their slow pace to give the dogs an early morning run down the towpath. Blue and Lou were surprisingly joyful given that they’d normally laze around in bed until 10.30am at home.

But it was a joyful morning with clear blue skies and the mist burning off quickly to give the promise of another fine day. It was chilly at first, but I’m gradually divesting the layers as the sun gently climbs towards its zenith. This may be the nicest time to cruise on a hot day, though I do love the treacle thickness of the twilight water.

We eventually overtook the working pair outside the giant Tesco at Brownhills, where enterprising locals had managed to foist a whole line of linked trolley into the water – eneterprising! There were good moorings here though.

Shortly after came the turn onto the next canal at Catshill Junsction. We were now on the Daw End Branch and very nice it is too. We passed nb. Time Well Spent, who was moored up but obviously on the BCN Challenge as they had a very smart painted board advertising the fact. Their sign matched their boat’s livery and was decorated with traditional canal roses. Let that be our inspiration for next time.

We also passed nb Golden Eagle, ng Griffin and tug Joanna, who we’d last seen at Spon Lane Locks – it feels like an eternity ago, but it was only yesterday!

The canal’s tremendous here – light industry on the offside and dramatice views over the towpath – sometimes over the red rooftops then suddenly over the awesome drop into the local quarry which mines the vivid red stone/clay here. We found out later that this VAST hole int eh ground (we never saw the bottom, even from the boat roof) is attached to a brick-making works, probably Ibstoick. We enjoyed the surreal sight of a positively medieval wall of brick pallets – if you’ve ever had trouble imagingin what a million bricks might look like then come here and see them for yourself.

Daw End Marina was a welcome sign of boating life and the 48-hour moorings just beyond looked good. Definitely a good place to moor as the towpath side can be very shallow. It’s one of those dilemmas – why should BW dredge out the sides of a canal that’s barely used; on the other hand, if it’s difficult to moor because the edge is shallow then how can we encourage more boaters to come here?

There are some wicked skew bridges here with blind turns into and out of them – watch out for

The canal’s reminiscent of the Kennet and Avon in places – lined with reeds and surrounded by verdant fields. It certainly matches the K & A for narrowness in places with thick reedbanks either side.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.