|We are not alone: Nb No Problem comes into view|
We met them just as we burst out of the seemingly endless housing estates that throng the canal and into open countryside with trees and birds and grazing cows, as bucolic as you'll find anywhere on the system. Ironically, half a century ago most of it would have been dusty collieries and smoking steelworks.
|Pelsall in the sun - a chance to put the washing out|
|Sneyd Junction where we moored last night|
|The first old lock of the abandoned Wyrley Branch canal|
After boat hooking various plastic bags off the prop we left Sneyd for a rather soulless stretch of water past fenced off factories and floating rubbish of every sort. But at last the water was deeper and by coasting in neutral through bridgeholes we kept the prop free of most mess.
|Birchills Junction where the Walsall head off to the right|
|Far distant views once the canal is clear of housing|
|Ruins of the vast old copper refiners at Goscote|
|We could be anywhere on a quiet country canal but this is the Black Country|
|Pelsall Junction where the Cannock Arm leaves|
|The short remains of the arm once full of collieries are now quiet, countryside|
|Boatyards at the end of the Arm just before it is chopped off by the A5|
It's salutary to see how little is left of the old industries after such a short time and how they have simply been absorbed back into nature. There's industrial history all around but so little of it left to see.
|And this is how Pelsall was: Steve Dent's evocative painting of the ironworks|