Black Country Ring (plus a bit):
Curdworth to Fradley Junction

10 June 2009

As we descend the 11 locks of the Curdworth flight, this situation turned out to be rather more awkward than it looked from the rear of the boat - the bottom gate had accelerated as Alan pulled it, and left him on the wrong side: the beam extended past the end of the lock so he couldn't go round, and once the boat had started to move, Jane couldn't shut the gate either. Stephen took a flying leap onto the lockside and tried to help hold Alan in situ until the boat was out of the way and the gate could be shut.

The Birmingham and Fazeley Canal through the Curdworth locks parallels the M42 motorway, but it isn't too intrusive.

Lucy at the tiller on another grey morning.

An attractive old warehouse

Merry gets the next lock ready for us

An unused swing bridge above this lock has been attractively decorated

Drayton Footbridge is very unusual, the twin towers allowing pedestrians to cross the canal when the swingbridge visible next to the left-hand tower is swung open, as it normally is nowadays.

We stopped here for lunch.

On the footbridge

Stephen prepares the tripod for a group photo

Alan, Sheila, Jane, Mary, Helen, Lucy, Merry and Stephen

An old building at Fazeley

The company house at Fazeley Junction. This is now normally regarded as the end of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal as it meets the Coventry Canal, and as the name suggests, that was the intention, but the Coventry Canal Company failed to build the rest of their line north to the Trent & Mersey Canal, so the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal Company built half of it and the Trent & Mersey Canal Company built the other half.

After some sunshine earlier, the weather is deteriorating again

A severe thunderstorm is nearby with lightning crashing around us, but fortunately the worst missed us

Extensive polytunnels

Approaching Huddlesford Junction

Here the Wyrley and Essington Canal used to reach the Coventry Canal, but it was closed between here and Ogley Junction in the 1950s: it's reopening is the subject of an ambitious restoration programme by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust.

Looking up the short arm still in water, now used for long-term moorings.

Our destination for the day - The Swan at Fradley Junction, one of the most photographed pubs in the country.

Total for today: 16 miles 4 furlongs including 11 locks



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Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson