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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.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

A day best forgotten.

 November 23rd

Wow look at this... lights, most unusual along a mooring. 

And last night's sunset

 Titford Pools, it's off the Wolverhampton Line and the only part of the BCN we have yet to do.  It was decided then, to go past the Black Country Museum and head there first. 

Through Coseley Tunnel, toward Factory Junction taking the right fork.

Factory Junction

As we travelled under the M5, it felt quite surreal knowing those cars and lorries were thundering  overhead. A forest of concrete pillars. a tranquil waterway and those rushing above had no idea it was even there.  It was amongst the pillars that Oldbury junction came into view, a right turn toward Oldbury Locks and the way to the pools.

 The turn off the Wolverhampton line at Oldbury Junction was not as straight forward as I expected as it goes ever so slightly back on itself and I chickened out doing it in one go, (the bank got to close for my liking) although I think I may just have made it with inches to spare. Oldbury Locks could be seen in the distance, I dropped Ian off and then noticed the smell of diesel. A thick soup of multi coloured liquid making patterns in the water, and just on this section too. Where had it come from?

And looking back after I had made the turn


Two locks up and we ran into a problem. Actually that's a massive understatement 'cos it was a huge issue as the third pound was almost dry. Hmm, looks like we ain't going nowhere! A chap walked down introduced himself as Phil and of the BCN canal society. CRT usually come every day to sort the water levels but so far today they had not appeared. He recommended that the top lock paddle be opened by half as well as the top lock bottom gate paddle by half. Any more and the short pound between lock 5 and 6 would flood. So I walked up to do the deed only to find an anti vandal key was required to lift the paddle, and who should have that? Ian! So back down the flight to be met by Ian just leaving FS waving the anti vandal key at me! Anyway these are the photos which explained our predicament nicely.

That was Ian returning to give me the bad news.

Left FS in the lock while I walked up the flight and yes I made sure she was locked.

Ian opened paddles on every lock to get the water down quicker

Starting to fill

Water levels still a way to go before I could exit the lock.

What should have taken about 40 minutes to do the six locks, took nearly two hours. We were helped by another of the BCN guys also with the name of Phil! 

Phil 2
 Anyway he gave us some good advice on where to go when we arrived at the Pools. He also mentioned the mile journey could be a bit shallow. SHALLOW...that was an understatement!!!! OMG twice we got stuck, the first time I thought we would have to call out CRT. Something held us fast in the center, even in reverse she wasn't going to move. It took me pushing hard on the pole at the stern and Ian doing the same at the bow before she broke free.


Then we picked up something around the prop. Tiller bouncing most uncomfortably and I lost steering. Straight onto the mud again with FS at a jaunty angle but this time, managed to reverse out.  Stopped in a bridge hole, the weed hatch lifted, and the haul was revealed.

Gosh, it was slow-going to the pools. It was at snails pace and making sure FS kept well into the center. So very glad when the canal opened up to reveal a fork. We took the left fork as suggested by Phil and finally FS had water under her hull.  So here are a few photos of Titford Pools

First left

And then right.

Both pools done and we are now entitled to a plaque. Blooming well deserve on as well!

Back the way we came and through the shallow narrows

and past the place where we got stuck. As the water was sucked away from the side, this was revealed,


The only visitor moorings were near to the locks. Time was getting on and didn't fancy tackling the flight again with the possibility of the water replaced on our way up having disappeared again. That will be something to look forward to in the morning.

And wildlife,


************** Brian and Diana on NB Harnser******** Maps by https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk said...

Unfortunately those locks drain when not in use. Its a real pity CRT didn't dredge the canal when they did the pools, I suspect the cash was ring fenced for the pools to improve habitat. Never had a problem mooring by the top locks but it gets noisy in the morning when the scrapyard starts work.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hello Brian and Diana,
We found out about the early noise but I thought it was the cement factory, I don't think we will be doing Titford Pools again.

nb Chuffed said...

We went up there a few years ago but had to walk round the pools, didn't dare take the boat in! But we had no trouble on the canal itself. We discovered that there had been a tar works at the bottom and the wharf was below the bottom locks. I can't imagine how appalling the pollution was in those days as it's still obvious now. We shut the dog inside when we were there, didn't want any accidents!

************** Brian and Diana on NB Harnser******** Maps by https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk said...

I shot this on our last visit https://studio.youtube.com/video/PP2g1FfBPBc/edit
its on my blog https://nbharnser.blogspot.com/2021/09/hawne-basin.html

This was the bottom of the flight some time ago https://youtu.be/0ErzC7vOyhU

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Wow, we never gave it a thought to try and get under the motorway. I don't think we would have tried it anyway because of the problem we had with the lack of water in the canal. Thank you for the links. Most entertaining.

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