May 2nd 2013
Windmill End to Birmingham
Another wonderful sunny day. We left the moorings and made for the Netherton Tunnel a few hundred yards further on, past the pretty bridges over the entrances to the Boshboil Branch and the way to Halesowen opposite. The ruins of the Cobb Engine House stand on the hill above the junctions at the entrance to the tunnel.
At the northern end of the tunnel we passed under the Wolverhampton Level. You can see the northern portal of the Netherton tunnel through the arch of the Tividale aqueduct.
Once we joined the main line, we could see a boat waving for help; they had run aground and were asking for assistance. Luckily it was a straightforward job to tow them free.
A while later we were waved down by a workman with an air horn, and had to wait while workmen crossed the canal in a dinghy as they constructed scaffolding by this bridge. The workman had nothing else to do but wait for boats – it had been very quiet, but as he said the sun’s shining and at least it’s a job.
This is Smethwick station, unusually located right on the viaduct, seen through the Galton bridge.
The lovely aqueduct carrying the Engine Arm above the main line
Last year we went to Birmingham on the Wolverhampton Level, seen here crossing the main line and about to pass along below the M5.
We arrived in Birmingham in the late morning and called in to Sherborne Wharf in the Oozell’s Street loop for diesel before mooring up near the Sea Life Centre. We had no bread so walked round to the café/bar opposite Gas Street Basin at Worcester Bar for lunch. Not quite warm enough to eat outside, though we took our pints outside after eating.
We went to the City Museum this afternoon for a quick visit; we saw the Staffordshire Hoard items on display, and were pleased to see this fascinating and spooky exhibit was still there:
The figures are life size, all carved out of single pieces of wood and painted. The spooky bit is that all the teeth are real! The artist is Anna Maria Pacheco. The pictures (on my phone) haven’t come out too well unfortunately.
Man with his sheep, Anna Maria Pacheco
During the evening we spent a fruitless hour trying to get a web connection fast enough to use – and failing – then went for a meal at Strada.