Tuesday 3rd September 2013
This flabby gut of mine isn’t gonna disappear of its own accord, so today I donned the lycra shorts and headed out on the bike along the local canal towpaths. I never tire of walking or cycling beside our local waterways – We’re so lucky to have them, but so many local people either know nothing of them, or think they’re still the dirty, smelly dumping grounds that they undoubtably were in the 1970’s and 1980’s. My route took me along the Wyrley & Essington, Walsall, Wednesbury, BCN Mainline, Titford, Birmingham & Fazeley, Tame Valley and Rushall canals, with a little road cycling between Oldbury and Edgbaston, as the Titford Canal is a dead end. Rather than describe the route here is a link to the GPS track recorded by my Garmin :
After the unfortunate demise of my beloved Canon G12 I only have the camera on my iPhone with me on my cycle rides nowadays, as I’m not gonna expose my precious 5D dSLR and lenses to the bumpy surfaces of the local towpaths.
Anyway, these are the shots I took during the day. They’re not perfect – the iPhone camera is hardly a world-beater – but they’re OK . . . .
<<< Click on any photo to view its location in Panoramio >>>
My day started out on the Wyrley & Essington canal as far as Birchills Junction, where I joined the Walsall Canal :
I took a slight detour at Great Bridge to check out the route of the now disused Balls Hill Branch Canal. The canal is completely gone now, but pointers to where it was once located remain :
Back on the Walsall canal I noticed the quaint Latin plaque on Hempole Bridge :
The short stretch of canal above the Ryder’s Green locks – between Ryder’s Green Junction and Pudding Green Junction – is actually a stretch of the Wednesbury Old canal, which is always confusing. At Pudding Green Junction I joined the BCN mainline heading southeast towards Birmingham :
At Bromford Junction I took to the old branch (Wolverhampton level) of the BCN canal, in order to gain access to the Titford canal. A flight of 3 locks raises the canal 20 feet up to Spon Lane junction, and the old canal actually passes over the newer main BCN canal on the Stewart Aqueduct. Its a strange sight to behold here – 2 canals, a railway and the busy M5 motorway, all stacked on top of one another :
Following the Wolverhampton level towards Oldbury (which is a strange experience, as the canal is located directly underneath the M5 motorway) the junction with the Titford canal was soon reached. The Titford canal, a dead end, acted as a feeder for the BCN. It steadily climbs 38 feet up a flight of 5 locks and terminates at the very pretty Titford Pools.
At Titford pools it was back to road cycling. I wanted to head into Birmingham city centre, but I took a higgledy-piggledy route, as I rarely follow a map. I cycled up onto the high ground of Warley woods, just to check out the views, then made my way to Edgbaston Reservoir.
After the “Rezza” it was back onto the BCN and into the city centre.
Heading NorthEast out of the City the canal (now the Birmingham & Fazeley) drops steadily, via the Farmer’s Bridge and Aston locks. I soon found myself under the M6 at Salford Junction, where I headed NorthWest on the Tame Valley canal. The Tame Valley Cut is a real gem – surprisingly rural. One can soon forget that the heart of The industrial Midlands is within touching distance.
At Rushall Junction all that remained of my day on the towpath was a short run along the Rushall canal as far as Sutton Road, where I left the canal for the pathways of Walsall Arboretum, then the busy roads back home.
A great day. I returned home quite knackered – anyone who thinks that canal towpaths are flat & level should take a trip along the canals I’ve mentioned – those locks are hard work . . . . .
- Increasing The Range…… (stevegwilcox.wordpress.com)
- Along The Regents Canal . . . . (stevegwilcox.wordpress.com)
- Cycling from West Bromwich to Birmingham city centre (birminghammail.co.uk)