Thursday we moved again along the Wyrley and Essington canal towards Pelsall junction. We had decided to travel up the Cannock Extension canal and have a few days there as it is nice and quiet. Before turning at the junction I spotted a deer in the field ahead, not phased at all by the boat.
Our journey since leaving Longwood Boat club has been in countryside, and has been a pleasant surprise. The Cannock Extension canal opened in 1863 to serve the Cannock coalfield. This is the area known as the Black Country, due to the many coalfields that once were around this area. It used to be 5 miles long but mining caused alot of subsidence so it became abandoned. There is probably approximately a mile of it left. We went as far as we could go; our old book saying we could turn at the end. We did manage to turn (just), by the boatyard entrance, but we should have checked our more up to date book as we were supposed to turn in one of the arms along the way.
After turning we found a quiet spot to moor, and still no other boats moving.
Saturday did see some boat movement though. It was the BCNS (Birmingham Canal Navigation Society) 24hr Marathon challenge. Suddenly things weren’t quite so quiet! This is an annual event that any boat can enter, starting anywhere on the BCN at 8am on the Saturday, and finishing at 2pm on the Sunday at Hawne Basin on the Dudley number 2 canal. The idea being to travel to every little bit of canal possible.
Many boats came by flying the Black Country flag, and as it was 24 hours 3 came past during the night. The old working boats have a distinctive sound that we refer to as chuggers. We will probably be on our way tomorrow toward Sneyd Wharf, getting washing done as we travel, then we can top up the water tank. Will things get busier being half term? Who knows?