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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Good grief how many boats to squeeze into C&RT Bradley Works Basin! Spring cruise part 1

So yesterday.....it was manic at Tipton for the start of the BCNS Spring cruise to the C&RT Bradley Works. Boats started arriving quite early to join those of us already moored. Nearly every boat attending had one or two guests on board including us. I had high hopes of being able to raise the cratch covers and for Mary and Alan (our two guests who had never been on a narrowboat before) to be able to enjoy the 2 hour trip. Unfortunately it rained!! So in FS they were confined and I was for ever cleaning the windows which steamed up constantly so they could look out. Poor Ian had the unenviable task of being helmsman and having to put up with the torrential rain as well as the amount of rubbish in the canal. Two other bloggers were also on the cruise, Jo and Keith Nb Hadar and Brian and Diane on  Nb Harnsar. Having travelled 2 miles or so along the main Wolverhampton line we turned right onto the Wednesbury Oak Loop and here the rubbish and weed became even more evident.. On the second part of my post tomorrow this will become very apparent.

A very wet Keith and Jo. Love the flowers, very Spring like.

Guests arriving and boats setting off

Brian on the Helm of Harnser

And Diane all decked out in wet weather gear.

Hadar winding in what was a very tight space for the working boats.

We were first into the Basin getting moored on the bank side. Hadar on it's way in and moored on the right.
And still the boats came

All queueing to get into the basin. Not all the boats would get in.

Not an inch of room anywhere. We were certainly packed in!!!
 There must have been about 26 or 27 boats all to be found a mooring. Took best part of 2 hours to get everyone finally sorted. The good news was on arrival to the Bradley Works the rain miraculously stopped and we were able to have a good look round while waiting for the doors to open.

Mary and Alan (our quests) with Ian.

Know where this gate is going!

And this one.
Walking around the works was a fascinating experience. The pictures will tell the story.

Gate paddles

Part of the morticing machine

The gate bolts and these were some of the smaller ones.

Bracing plates for the joints

Paddle reduction gear.
Bollard Moulds
 After getting back to FS and, because we were well and truly hemmed in and, because the sun had finally put in an appearance, I thought I would wash FS. No sooner had I started then Brenda asked if anyone wanted a walk to the Bradley locks. So I downed sponge and with Mary, Alan, Ian and another 30 or so folk, joined Dave Pearson for what should have been a 30 minute walk but turned out to be more like 90 minutes. Poor Brenda, who had organised it all, was having kittens as most of the quests had gone on the walk and of course couldn't be left behind, so boats were delayed in leaving to get  back to Tipton. Anyway with so much more of the day to talk about plus loads of photos,, I will leave the next part which consists of Bradley locks, all that rubbish to hinder ones passage and our meal at the Gongoozler restaurant Black Country Museum, till tomorrow.

1 comment:

Graham said...

Good evening Irene & Ian,

Thanks for the great photographs of the lock making workshops.

Many years ago the firm I worked for used to supply them with bolts & nuts. In those days they always wanted square nuts, they were easier to undo when they got rusty. It was my job to source them but,even then, they were increasingly hard to find. Unfortunately, I've never managed to get to see the workshops so your photographs are especially interesting.

I imagine that you've got your next steps planed out but, if not, could I recommend a trip down the W&E as far as Anglesey Basin. The basin is a magic place if you've never been before. The W&E is so clean in some places that you can sit & watch the shoals of fish swimming around as clear as day. In fact one fisherman told me that there were trout in the canal now.

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