|Longwood Junction with the stub of the original canal now boat club moorings|
The first half is wide, deep (well, mainly), pretty straight and decidedly urban. The second is winding, shallow, often narrow and remarkably countrified.
We'd returned from Angelsey Basin to Brownhills last night for some shopping and boat stuff so we retraced our route for the half mile back to Catshill Junction where we swung right under the bridge and onto the Daw End. There's another fine piece of sculpture on the offside at Catshill, though it's half submerged in the undergrowth now so easy to miss.
|Somewhat overgrown but still a handsome piece of sculpture|
For two miles and more it runs in a high embankment, towering over nearby houses and the surrounding land whose gradual subsidence due to mining and quarrying has caused the canal sides to be gradually heightened to preserve its integrity.
|Dredging and rebuilding the canal offside|
|Rescue for a grounded workboat|
It was quite a surprise to discover work boats on the canal here – they were dredging the canal bed and then using the material to once again raise the level of the offside canal bank in this endless task. A little further along we did our good deed of the day by hauling a pusher tug and loaded butty from the shallows where it was stuck.
Some of the bridges on this canal are surprisingly low as well as being sited on tight S-bends. I had been too busy photographing a canalside sculpture of a larger than life angler to grasp this fact until almost too late and had to whip our back cabin chimney off only seconds before Walsall Wood bridge did it for me!
|One angler who doesn't get grumpy with passing boaters|
|The base of this vast quarry is far, far below|
|From town to country and picturesque brick bridges|
|Named after John Brawn, BCN engineer|
There are quiet, rural moorings at an old lime quarry, now a nature reserve – the huge rings are a reminder that lime was another important cargo for the canal.
Indeed its original terminus was pretty much where we are now. Here the canal ended at Hay Head lime workings but when the line was extended the spot became Longwood Junction and the original arm is now a stub used as a mooring base by the Longwood Boat Club.
It's a quiet spot with a golf course and countryside all around yet only ten minutes by road from Walsall where we will be heading tomorrow by bus.