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BCN Marathon Challenge 2011: 8am – 12noon

Posted by indigodream on 29 May, 2011

8am – 12 noon

Oldbury Junction – Walsall Canal

Ooh, it’s been a while since I’ve done an update but we’ve been very busy and I have an achievement to announce – we have finished locking – hurrah – AND we have reached the magnificent total of 93 locks in 24 hours thanks to our tremendous team.

So, we were a bit worried about going up the Oldbury Locks – we’ve heard that it was shallow and slow, but I’m sorry now that I used the verb ‘flew’ to describe our passage up the Farmer’s Bridge flight because it leaves me no words to describe the speed of our passage up and down the Oldbury flight – “Supersonic” maybe! This arm is what you might typically expect from the BCN – more derelict and certainly the least beautiful of the sections we’ve cruised so far. Yet the towpath and locks seem well maintained and the few walkers we met were very friendly. The Titford pumping station at the top is interesting and Richard, who cycled on ahead, reported that the Titford pools themselves were charming, though we winded the boat before that point.

We then went down the Spon Lane 3 with their petrochemical tainted waters shimmering in the weak light. There was a dead fox decaying by the middle lock and alongside was a lawn edging tool – you could make a story of that, allbeit not a nice one….

We then had a brief respite along the New Main Line – just time for a round of coffees and some croissants before we turned at Pudding Mill Junction and headed down the  Ryders Green locks.

The hounds have been getting increasingly tired as the day wears on – they walked up the Aston flight and down the Oldbury flight then they had a bobble down Ryder’s Green locks – they are now all fast asleep – three on deck on their sheepskins and wrapped in blue fluffy blankets against the cold (sooo cute) and one stretched in blog central i.e. the sofa!

We haven’t seen another boat all morning so it was surprise to see nb Yeoford at the bottom of Ryder’s Green Lock – they’d already finished their challenge but had found the shallow canals a bit of a trial in their deep draughted old boat. The only other boat we’ve met was Napton hire boat nb Victoria who we last saw around 20 hours ago moored behind us at the bottom of the Wolverhampton 21 – it feels like a lifetime ago.

So, we’ve blown our original target out of the water – we have a lock-free pound ahead of us (though it was an exceptionally slow trip the last time we came this way 2 years ago). We may even arrive at our destination, the Walsall town basin, a little early, but I won’t say that because there’s many a thing that could foul our prop between now and then, but we have plenty of time – as long as we arrive by 2pm we’ll still accrue maximum points for completing the marathon.

Right, time to look at lunch – we would have done well if people had sponsored us by the number of calories imbibed! The next post will hopefully be at the end of the challenge – what a trip, what a crew!

I have to report that the crew have just reached that point of hysterical exhaustion where they’re actually looking for more locks to do – it’ll soon wear off!

2 Responses to “BCN Marathon Challenge 2011: 8am – 12noon”

  1. carrie said

    93 locks …24 hours?!!!!
    Had to go and lie down with a coffee just reading that 🙂
    What an achievement – well done the whole crew.
    Carrie x

  2. indigodream said

    WE had to lie down with a coffee as well 🙂

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