The Midlands March, onto Oldbury.

Having ground to a halt in the ice we decided that Dudley Port wasn’t too bad a place to moor, except that every time a train went past we lost TV signal. And what we saw floating past the boat wasn’t all that inspiring either, we counted at least a dozen used syringes in this one debris island.

Another reason not to fall in the canal

But at least the ice was melting and the titanic was still afloat, so we set off to complete the next two miles of our aborted trip to Oldbury.

Another reason not to fall in the canal

A work boat had broken enough ice for us to cruise without concern along the Birmingham Canal Navigation (BCN) New Main Line, past Dunkirk Stop Island and turning right onto the Gower branch.

Turning right at Brades Hall Junction

We reached Brades Locks, only to find the pond drained, fortunately the CRT team were already on site letting water down the staircase locks. Though unlike most of the team, I can’t say I was very impressed with these guys, as soon as there was enough water to traverse the pond, they left, leaving all the paddles raised, and me needing to set the locks. Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by too many helpful people, perhaps they had an urgent job to attend to, perhaps they were just cold and miserable. But not to worry, we were also cold but cheerful so got on with it.
We turned left onto the BCN Old Line for the last mile to Oldbury, where there are mooring bollards and a Sainsbury’s only 5 minutes walk. It doesn’t qualify as a pretty mooring but it’s adequate, And I liked the Bridge is called Whimsey Bridge.

Whimsey Bridge

And one of its claims to fame is that it’s where John Judge lived, and he wrote Its a long, long way to Tipperary.


Oldbury town is part of Dudley and Sandwell which has a railway station and a direct like up to the Lake District. So knowing that Eric could look after himself, I took advantage to hop on a train to spend a few days with Mum. We’re not sure why there is a peacock outside the station but he’s very impressive.

And when I stood on Platform 2 I could look back to the Turners Hill transmitters, that we had walked up to from the Bumble Hole.

after a few days counting the sheep, no Herdwick lambs till March or April I’m back on Firecrest

2 miles and 3 locks by boat, and about 250 miles by train