Life’s a Gas (street basin)

Another change of plan for today’s walks.

It should have been …

  • Bus to Work
  • Work
  • Walk Home

Instead it became …

  • Drive to Work
  • Work
  • Go for a walk (let the traffic die down)
  • Drive Home

Before all this kicked off, I took the dogs out for a short mile or so each before breakfast and the drive into work.

After work, I changed into something better for walking and set off heading for the canal into Birmingham.

I started at a low point on the system, which meant it was all uphill.

The first part was level through Curzon Tunnel to the foot of the five lock Ashted flight. After this little rise, up the locks and through Ashted tunnel a short level section took me to the point where the Grand Union joins the Birmingham & Fazeley canal.

After a while I was at Farmers Bridge Lock No. 13 (Bottom Lock).

The canal was definitely going up as I passed under the BT tower at lock No. 10.

I was amazed to see so many boats along this stretch. I can’t recall seeing so much traffic here before. I did my good deed at the next lock helping the bargee to open the lock gate.

I continued up to the top of the flight, levelling off on the approach to the Sealife Centre.

I went as far as the Lego Discovery centre before crossing over to Brindley Place and proceeding towards Gas Street Basin.

Gas Street Basin was originally the terminus of the Birmingham Canal but when the newer Worcester Canal came to Birmingham the Birmingham Canal Navigation insisted on a physical barrier, or bar, to stop the Worcester canal ‘nicking’ the BCN’s water. Cargoes had to be man-handled between boats but after much lobbying, a lock was built to replace the bar. A toll was payable to move between canals.

A walked a short way past the basin to the back of the Mail Box which was originally a Post Office sorting office and the place where I served my apprenticeship many years ago.

I was surprised to see a canoe (or maybe a Kayak) padding along the canal at this point.

This was my turn-around point at just over three miles.

From the bridge leading to the Mailbox and The Cube, I retraced my steps, past then basin and under Broad Street by going beneath the re-named Black Sabbath Bridge.

Named after the Heavy Metal group this is a nod to the influence that this part of the country had on this musical genre – Rock On !

Just before the start of my descent of the Farmers Bridge Locks, I spied a man pumping up an inflatable canoe – it’s not all narrowboats !

I followed the towpath, through a few short tunnels back down under the BT tower and back the way I had come.

I said hello to a few of the boats negotiating the locks, interspersed with few “hello, again”s.

Apart from the large number of craft on the cut, I was also surprised by the number of orange Just Eat bikes around the place. They seem to be everywhere and the canals seem to be THE place for Just Eat riders to congregate between deliveries.

If you look carefully, you may spot a solitary rider as I did with this specimen catching some shut eye.

As the outward journey was uphill, I was blessed with a downhill return – that’s how hills work.

I returned to work 6.16 miles and 1:25 hours after setting off at an average pace of 13:52 per mile. Not bad considering all the photo stops.