I had forgotten to mention in my last blog that I had a disaster with my half of the walkie talkie. We had bought these 5 years ago when we did our first narrowboating holiday; and they were still working. We had thought to replace them last year as occasionally they would play up. Anyway whilst I walked on ahead to test the canal depth for mooring (this being done with a walking pole that has tape on it), I bent over to put the pole in the water and “bingo” the walkie talkie unclipped as if by magic, from my pocket and plopped in the canal (at least it wasn’t the Iphone this time!). Feeling annoyed I had to leg it back to the boat and explain to Charlie what had happened (he had wondered why I wasn’t answering it). Bearing in mind that the clip never came off when you wanted it to; but waits to do this when I wasn’t expecting it. New walkie talkie’s methinks.
We left Brownhills on Tuesday after a quick decision to move as it was raining steadily, and headed for Catshill junction to turn onto the Anglesey branch. At the end of this branch is a small basin, and apparently this is the furthest north that can be travelled on the BCN. We had an eventful journey, because as we came past Ogley junction (abandoned now, but restoration looks likely; the other end of this part is on the Coventry canal at Huddlesford junction; it would be nice if it was linked up), and through the bridge, we promptly ran aground. Charlie managed to get onto the towpath with our long pole, and he pushing and me gently reversing we managed to get off; he had to walk to the next bridge though to get back onboard. It was really raining by this time. This area was coal mining country and there are remnants of this all around. There is a miners statue at Brownhills that we need to go and photograph, to celebrate this heritage. I’ll put this on the next blog.
We made it to the end but there were 2 boats moored in the spaces available, so we turned and moored further along. Up the bank you can see in the picture there is a valve house, and behind the wall is the Chasewater reservoir, which was opened in 1799 to supply water to the Wyrley and Essington main line. It was so efficient that at one time it’s owners sold water to other companies. Though just after building the dam collapsed sending water over the surrounding fields, Watling street and into the River Tame at Tamworth. The dam was rebuilt with stone, and has remained intact ever since. This area is now the Chasewater country park, and has the Chasewater heritage railway within it’s boundary. The Anglesey basin was used for coal loading, as the colliery was nearby. There are still remnants of the loading chutes; the last coal was loaded in 1967, and the area is now green and is a site of special scientific interest.
Wednesday it rained most of the day, so not much done, and Thursday slightly better so I managed to wash the boat side and roof. Friday we went walking around the reservoir.
The reservoir is used by local boat clubs and watersport companies. The public are not allowed to use canoes etc due to health and safety issues (according to a local man we were chatting to). It also has children’s play area, crazy golf and conference facilities.
It also boasts a herd of deer, but we didn’t manage to get photo’s of them. We didn’t walk all the way around as it is quite a long way, so decided to return on Saturday and partake of a train ride.
Saturday I prepared dinner before setting off for the promised train ride. The weather was bright, but slightly chilly.
We knew it was going to be a diesel engine (we haven’t managed a heritage railway yet on our travels that had a steam engine working), but it wasn’t very expensive, and it takes about half an hour to get to the other side of the park.
While we were waiting for the train we had a look around the museum there. They have lots of rolling stock here; some working and many undergoing restoration.
It was a pleasant journey, and we alighted at the Chasewater Heaths station and walked around the tip of the reservoir, before returning to the station and getting the train back to Brownhills West. Charlie was wearing his Cornish Pirates rugby shirt, and a family on the train started chatting as they knew Newquay and the area; the husband having studied at Cornwall College as he recognised the shirt logo. When we got back to the boat and dinner cooked, we were quietly enjoying it, with a glass of red when a youth suddenly climbed over the side cover onto the deck! Think he was more surprised than us, and probably a dare as he was with a gang of girls; so now we have decided to keep the cover down completely on the towpath side.
We were joined on Sunday by another boat (a rare sight), but we decided to move back to Brownhills as will need the sanitary station soon. I have contacted all the post offices along this route and none do Poste Restante (not even the main one in Walsall); so we are having post directed to my daughter’s in Leicester as she is visiting us at the weekend. I’m also making use of it and having some parcels delivered, one of them being new walkie talkie’s!! We will stay here at Brownhills for a couple of nights and have decided to go back to Anglesey basin for the weekend as it is easy to get to for my daughter. As there isn’t alot of boat traffic we should be okay visiting it again. Today I have managed to get Izzy’s second booster injection and have my hair cut. Charlie has been varnishing the woodwork around the hatch cover and rear doors, and I need to get outside and apply dubbin to the front cratch cover to keep it protected from the elements.