With a little over 4 weeks to go until the Dorset 100, I decided that it was time to move up a gear and get into 100 mode (or Ton Up continuing the motoring metaphor).
On Monday, I walked to Moseley to meet the other half from work. I chose to walk along the Birmingham and Fazeley canal from The Tyburn House. On reaching the end of the line, I picked the canal going through Saltley to Bordesley.
Just before the junction with the Grand Union is where I’d leave the cut if (when) I walk to my new job – about 8.5 miles from home (there are shorter, more direct routes).
Cutting through Sparkbrook, to reach Moseley, I clocked up 11.5 miles to start the week.
Tuesday, I went the opposite way, starting in Moseley and following the River Cole to Kingshurst where I was rewarded with a splendid carpet of bluebells in Yorks Wood. Another 10 miles.
Wednesday, and I caught the train from New Street Station out to Lichfield Trent Valley.
A short walk from Trent Valley, through Streethay and under the A38 deposited me on the Coventry canal at bridge 84. Turning right, I followed the Coventry Canal (CC) until, suddenly, it became the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal (B&FC). It later reverted to it’s former identity near Tamworth.
Apparently, in the 1780’s, frustrated by the lack of progress by the Coventry Canal Company to build the section between the B&FC and the Trent and Mersey Canal (T&MC) at Fradley, the T&MC and B&FC decided to each build half of the missing link. As Eric Morecambe would say, “You can see the join” – at Whittington.
Later, the Coventry Canal Company bought the northern section resulting in a short section of B&FC in the middle of the Coventry Canal.
Approaching Tamhorn, near Hopwas, I spied a couple of WW2 pill boxes. It’s comforting to know that if Jerry had ever invaded this green and pleasant land, they’d have never gotten any further north than Staffordshire.
|None shall pass|
At Fazeley, just to the south of Tamworth, the Coventry Canal became the Coventry Canal and the Birmingham and Fazeley, proper, branched off towards Birmingham.
|Call me Derrick|
Just past the junction, a temporary towpath closure meant that I had to leaver the canal for a short stretch which took me past this magnificent old derrick crane. Once very popular, there are few of this type left.
After regaining the towpath, it was followed for a mile and a half to Middleton Lakes RSPB reserve. From here I headed for the River Tame, crossing it at the new bridge.
For many years, the OS maps have shown a footpath going from the canal over to Dosthill crossing the river but until 2014 there was no bridge!
Luckily, I managed to keep my feet dry crossing the river before following a track to the A51, Kingsbury Road. I followed the noisy road to, of all places, Kingsbury.
Taking a flight of steps beside the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, I entered Kingsbury Water Park and exited at Marston.
The locally named Muddy Track was taken to Lea Marston then it was along familiar paths to my favourite watering hole – The Griffin Inn at Church End near Shustoke.
Another 19 miles to add to the weekly total.