I’ve been meaning to walk from Worcester to Birmingham (30 miles) for some time but set my sights a little lower, today, and decided on walking the latter half, namely from Bromsgrove to Brum (15 miles).
I caught the bus into Birmingham then caught the train from New Street out to Bromsgrove, arriving just after 11 o’clock.
After getting my bearings, I was off heading for open country. A mile later I was at the Worcester Canal where I turned left and headed uphill towards Birmingham.
|Clump of Trees|
I was at the lock 41 of the Worcester Canal’s 58 and about half way up the Tardebigge Flight which comprises 30 locks within 2 miles, making it the longest in the country.
A steady climb up the remaining 16 locks bought me to the southern portal of Tardebigge tunnel which lacking a towpath meant a bit of an up and over to rejoin it at Tardebigge Old Wharf now home to a fleet of holiday boats.
Back on the canal and with no more locks to climb it was pretty steady going except for the occasional photo op such as this clump of trees…
Another tunnel loomed ahead, this time the 614 foot long Shortwood Tunnel which necessitated a steep up and over with a delightfully muddy downhill stretch to regain the towpath at the other end.
Ambling along the towpath, I was looking at the bushes and trees alongside when, at a particular stump, I thought, THAT would be a good place for a geocache. I looked a bit closer and there was a plastic box barely hidden in the undergrowth. Opening it up, I discovered that I had, inadvertently found a cache. I didn’t have a pen with which to sign the log but the owner later allowed me to log it as a find.
If that previous paragraph made little sense, check out the Geocaching.com website for clarification.
Another mile or so and I was at Alvechurch marina where I spotted a particularly photogenic crane just begging to have it’s portrait taken…
|A crane in reflective mood|
The canal contoured it’s way north, crossing under the M42 and over a causeway at Bittell Farm before disappearing into Wast Hill Tunnel. This excavation was built in 1796 and is 2,726 yards long. As before, with no footpath, it was up and over. The up saw me overtake a couple of runners who where actually walkers, at least until the summit. I was expecting them to come bombing past me on the descent but I never saw them again!
What I did see just before leaving the countryside for the urban sprawl of Birmingham was an observatory.
|Things are looking up|
The observatory belongs to the University of Birmingham, was opened in 1982 and houses a 50cm Ritchey-Chrétien reflector with which they can look at Uranus (sorry, had to get THAT one in!)
After walking through Hawkesley I came back to the canal near the aptly named Walkers Heath and was on familiar ground. I was soon past Kings Norton junction heading towards Bournville, home of Cadbury Chocolate.
|Bournville station and canal|
I had to leave the canal at Bournville as I had agreed to meet my other half from work in Moseley. I cut across to the River Rea Trail which took me to Cannon Hill Park and then a short walk to Moseley and the end of today’s journey.
A very pleasant walk with lots to see and another 15.7 miles added to the year.
Oh, yes, and to top off a great day, we went and saw Rick Wakeman in Solihull in the evening – Prog-tastic !!!
I’m still planning of catching the train to Worcester and doing the full 30 miles but I’m not too sure as to when that will be.