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BCN Challenge: Route Summary

Posted by indigodream on 26 May, 2014

Please support us - even a tiny donation can put a smile on a retired greyhound's face..

Please support us – even a tiny donation can put a smile on a retired greyhound’s face..

STOP PRESS: Donations we’ve received today have pushed our fund-raising total through the £1700 mark – that’s the figure you see on the Justgiving site; BUT for the total amount the charities will receive, add gift aid and deduct credit card/justgiving fees, that figure’s just gone over £2000 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday 26th May

Here we are, home safely after a quite amazing weekend of cruising -I’m still mulling it all over and no doubt there will be a few blog posts to come.

Although I tried to blog as we went along, I may have missed a few bits so I thought I’d start by summarising our route – when we put our Challenge route into Canalplan, it estimated that it should have taken 5 days! In just 24 hours, we cruised 60 miles and got through 79 locks!

Back in March we spent a lot of time with the rules, a large BCN map and a planning spreadsheet with which we plotted 10 different routes – we really were going for it this year! However, we met many boats on the “big points” sections and the rules have been changed this year, so being only 60′ long we score 17% less than 70′  boats. This might be the most competitive Challenge ever and I predict that the results will be very close – we’ll find out in a few weeks’ time 🙂

Our Challenge went to plan and we didn’t need to use any of the emergency shortcuts that we might have used if we’d had any unexpected delays. We cruised well below our hoped for 3.6mph in the lock-free pounds, but what saved our Challenge was our supersonic locking! The locking crew (Greygal, the Synth Prof, Famous knees Christine and Richard) were magnificent, with two lockwheelers and two ground crew working ahead and behind the boat. We’d estimated 6 minutes per lock in our planning but we think our actual time was nearer to four minutes per lock!

Here's a map of route - thanks to Canalplan's excellent website :-)

Here’s a map of route – thanks to the excellent Canalplan website 🙂


1. Proofhouse Junction (Digbeth) to Aston Junction

2. Aston Junction to Salford Junction

3. Salford Junction to Newton Junction (Rushall Canal)

4. Newton Junction to Catshill Junction

5. Anglesey Arm (there and back)

6. Catshill Junction to Pelsall Junction

7. Cannock Extension Arm (there and back)

8. Pelsall Junction to Birchills Junction (Walsall)

9. Birchills Junction to Walsall Junction

10. Walsall Town arm and back

11. Walsall Junction to Tame Valley Junction )Ocker Hill)


12. Tame Valley Junction to Pudding Green Junction (via Ryder’s Green flight)

13. Pudding Green Junction to Bronford Junction (Spon Lane)

14. Bromford Junction (Spon Lane) to Spon Lane Junction

15. Spon Lane Junction to Oldbury Junction

16. Oldbury Junction to Titford Pools and back

16. Oldbury Junction to Brades Hall Junction

17. Brades Hall Junction to Albion Junction

18. Albion Junction to Dudley Port Junction

19. Dudley Port Junction to Windmill End (via the Netherton Tunnel)

20. Windmill End to Parkhead Junction

21. Parkhead Junction to Dudley Tunnel Sout Portal and back

22. Parkhead Junction to Windmill End

23. Windmill End to Hawne Basin




11 Responses to “BCN Challenge: Route Summary”

  1. Greygal said

    I’m breathless all over again just looking at that summary!

  2. indigodream said

    I seems totally unreal now 🙂

  3. Kath said

    HI Richard and Sue, I am heading for that there lunnon and would like some info on safe places to moor and park car if I have to bring it all the way in. Alternatively which are the best moorings for train stations. Ta Kath

  4. indigodream said

    Hi Kath

    Great to hear from you – if you look along the tabs at the top of the page you’ll find one for the BCN Society’s moorings guide and amendments – these have been updated since, but I can’t find them on the current BCN Society website – might be worth getting in touch with them. You’ll also see a tab for “Indigo Dream’s Rough Guide to Moorings” which outlines everywhere we’ve ever moored and what we thought of it – it’s organised by waterway and we’ve spent a lot of time in Birmingham over the years so you may find that helpful.

    We’ve never used street parking in Birmingham but there are good multi-storey car parks in the centre which offer longer-term parking i..e. more than 3 hours for a reasonable fee (remember we’re used to London prices!) – we’ve used what is now the Paradise Circus Car Park in Brindley Drive which is very close to Cambrian Wharf (good moorings).

    Hope that helps – enjoy Brum – we always have, though we’re having a few weeks off now (while dog-sitting a LOT of greyhounds) but we’ll look out for you on the cut over the summer.

    Sue & the IndigoDreamers

  5. indigodream said

    The Current BCN moorings guide is here:

  6. Kath said

    All very helpful – but I am going to Lunnon not brummigan! 🙂

    Tried to save a sheep on its back today. But too late it expired just as we got to it. Even a good slosh with water and heart massage didn’t bring it back but then I discovered that it had been seen on it’s back two hours earlier by the boaters who helped me and no one had thought to help it then when there might have been a better result . Shame.

  7. indigodream said

    Ah right.

    Too big a question, can you email Richard with some more clues, particularly how long and roughly where. Oh and will you do the lumpy bit?

  8. indigodream said

    Hi Kath

    The guide to moorings should still help you – it’s got every mooring we’ve ever used on the London canals and most of the ones that we’ve used on the Thames (the Thames needs updating).

    xx Sue

  9. Kath said

    HI Richard Sue I would email but can’t find a link. could you comment on my blog with detail – I wont publish it. Yes I may do the lumpy bit if it ties in with a trip with others but not sure of dates yet. thanks Kath

  10. suenp said

    Sue the results blog has not come up, repost it.

  11. indigodream said

    Oops, sorry Sue, it’s back up now 🙂

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