Monday, 7 September 2015

Fifty eight up, now thirty eight down

Moored in the evening sun at the bottom of Curdworth locks
Birmingham certainly is on a hill. It took us fifty eight uphill locks to get there and only now after 38 down the other side have we reached level ground.*
Today was a quieter day than yesterday; a mere eleven locks of the Curdworth flight. We would have gone further but this is such a nice spot to be and Tamworth which lurks ahead is not an enticing alternative.
We are moored alongside one of a multiplicity of old gravel pits which form the vast, 600 acre Kingsbury Water Park. Some are for the active, with sailing and water ski-ing, but this is a wildlife area with only carp fishermen to disturb the birds. Just the distant drone of traffic on the M42 spoils an atmosphere of total tranquility.
Indeed the second half of the Brum&Faze is a very different beast to the drab, industrial wastes of yesterday. It runs through a gentle farmland landscape, surprisingly remote from habitation. Unfortunately there's always the background traffic noise of busy roads in the air; the A38, M6 Toll and M42 all slice across or run nearby.
Small but a cosy fit, the little Curdworth Tunnel
The eleven locks began a couple of miles from our overnight stop. On the way was the diminutive Curdworth tunnel; just 57 yards of it but a tight
fit and its roof festooned with masses of dangling spider webs, hanging like little stalactites.
It has been a sunny day; Seadog Brian basked on the roof while I sweated through the locks. They were surprisingly busy after the almost total absence of boats yesterday. Three crews were eager hireboaters doing the Warwickshire Ring and in the middle of two energetic weeks.  Fortunately almost everyone was going the other way so every lock ran in our favour.
After the dark tunnel Seadog Brian relaxes in the sun
Tonight we had the embarrassment of running out of gas in mid-dinner. It's a puzzle: this bottle has lasted only six weeks rather than the eight we regularly get. Maybe it was 'pre-enjoyed' before we were sold it? Anyway the Refleks stove came to the rescue to finish the dinner but early morning tea may prove trickier. Looks like I might be getting up early to light the fire.
* No more locks for us now until Fradley but if we turned right there another 17 would take us down to river level which would make 55 in all from the high point of Birmingham, compared with the 58 from the River Severn at Worcester heading up to Brum the other way.There's no escaping it: what goes up must come down.

1 comment:

  1. I see the guy in the house at the lock is still parking his car on the lock space.