Walking the Walk

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The other half was working this Sunday so I had the day to myself.

I drove the other half to work, leaving the car there as I set off towards the Birmingham Fazeley Canal at The Tyburn House.

Passing Go Outdoors, I noticed that they have a sale on !

I followed the cut to Salford Junction (for boats) beneath Spaghetti Junction (for cars). I continued in the same direction, now on the Tame Valley Canal.

The canal climbed slowly through Perry Bar and Hamstead. After around ten miles, I turned away from the canal nipping through Sandwell Valley Park. Walking along a bridleway I was almost squished by a horse who suddenly decided to turn around!

The weather had taken a turn for the better and Sandwell Valley Park was thronged with families out for a Sunday Stroll.

For some reason, I got it into my mind that I needed to cross the M5 and did so. A short while later, I realised my error but continued in the general direction of The Hawthorns (home of West Bromwich Albion).

As I negotiated my way around the roundabout at the junction of the M5, Birmingham Road and Kenrick Way, I spotted this building on the roundabout.

Apparently, this was once an entrance to The Dartford Estate. As the Historic England website explains …

SANDWELL MB BIRMINGHAM ROAD SP 09 SW West Bromwich 5/46 Arch Lodge and and flanking wall (junction 1 M5 motorway and A41) 28.5.70 II

Lodge to Sandwell Hall. Probably early C18. Possibly by William Smith (Pevsner). Comprises a pedimented gateway of rusticated sandstone ashlar with slate roof and a left-hand curved flanking wall of brick with sandstone coping. This terminates with a battered rusticated pier. The gateway has a round arch with moulded imposts. At each side is an engaged Doric column and a Doric pilaster. The passage between the gateways has a tunnel vault with ribs

Now back on track, I turned right from the Birmingham Road then onto a foot path running alongside the Midland Metro.

I was now following the route of a walk I’ve done a few times, The Sandwell Six Towns.

After a few hundred metres, I left the tramway walking up to Kenrick Park.

After passing the big DPD depot, a chain of staircases led me down to the Birmingham Old Main Line Canal. Turning right, I immediately walked through Summit tunnel.

A short distance along the canal, I passed Engine Arm, a branch of the canal which crosses over the lower New Main Line canal.

This branch was built to carry water from Edgbaston Reservoir to feed the Old Main Line.

A nearby pumping house transferred water between the New and Old Main Lines.

A little later this Old Main Line dropped down through three locks and joined the New Main Line.

This canal was followed through Smethwich, Winson Green and Ladywood into the centre of Birmingham. Graffiti adorned many of the walls alongside the canal including this homage to Pulp Fiction …

Passing a giraffe and The Sealife Centre, I continued down Farmers Bridge Locks, under the BT Tower and beneath the railway and Metro at Snow Hill.

At Aston University, a left turn took me down more locks (Aston Flight) to return to Salford Junction and the Birmingham Fazeley Canal.

I left the canal at Bromford Lane and took to the streets through Bromford, Hodge Hill and Castle Bromwich to return to the car and Other Half about ten minutes before she finished work.

I’d been out all day, covering just over a marathon distance at an average pace of 14:04.

I did feel a bit knackered but this passed after ten minutes or so.

This past week, I have walked 47.5 miles which was more than I had planned for the week. It’s nice to be back on track.

My annual mileage now stands at 907 miles – only ninety three miles to go to my thousand miles in 2019.

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