Sunday 28th May; Birmingham to Hopwood
I didn’t get much sleep last night – the traffic continued till well after 3 and revellers from the clubs and the Pride gigs were still walking home over the bridge at a quarter to four. That’s a Saturday night in the city for you! The blackbird which has been singing solo most beautifully from the other side of the canal started up at 3.45 too.
Quite a lot of boats went by at first light. We thought they must all have been doing the BCN 24-hour challenge - NB Tawny Owl was moored on the other side yesterday evening bedecked with bunting and a ‘Team Tawny Owl’ slogan prominent. We were up by 7 but took our time over breakfast, getting the paper, disposing of some recycling and then going down to the facilities block at Cambrian Wharf, which we could see was free. As we were on our last cassette we didn’t want to risk not being able to moor at Holliday Wharf.
After filling the rather depleted water tank as well we were on our way not long after 9. A CRT crew was collecting rubbish in the sunshine.
The decision to use the Cambrian Wharf facilities was a good one; someone had moored overnight on Holliday Wharf completely blocking access. Our next plan was to visit the Barber Institute, the art gallery at the University, and we tried to moor near the University station. But with the water levels being rather low at the moment we couldn’t get in close enough and then had a bit of trouble getting off again. But there was depth just before the aqueduct a few hundred yards along so we moored there and walked back. The campus was very quiet as term has finished. We enjoyed our visit and on the way back took a moment to look at this massive sculpture by Eduardo Paolozzi of the 19th century scientist Michael Faraday. The coils the figure is holding represent electromagnetic force.
Back at the boat we had some lunch before another stop at Selly Oak for some supplies at Sainsbury’s and a tin of red-ox in Halfords.
It was very hot by the time we got going again. At King’s Norton junction there was a sudden kerfuffle and a lot of noise from geese; a dog had jumped into the canal to chase them. He wasn’t gaining on them at all and was completely ignoring his owners calling him out.
Wast Hills tunnel was straightforward (though rather wet) and we were through in half an hour. We took the first suitable spot on the approach to Hopwood, a few hundred yards before the visitor moorings. A beautiful quiet spot after the roar and bustle of the city. Lots of birdsong and just lovely.
Before too long there were four or five other boats nearby but there was plenty of space for us all. After the beautiful day there was a bit of rain during the evening just as the boat in front of us were having a barbecue.
8½ miles, Edgbaston and Wast Hills tunnels