I, the skipper, have decided that we will not attempt to navigate the pools on our own. BCNS have strong advice not to do so and having read some blogs, including our intrepid exploring friends Halfie who made the same decision, we took the BCNS advice.
I do thank the BCNS for taking their work boat Phoenix through the route on Friday last and clearing the way but what has tipped my decision is the wind that has arisen and the unknown way it will behave around the motorway viaduct. I understand that the mud in the pools is too deep to pole ourselves off and there is every chance that a gust or two could take the boat into the shallows.
We will return in company.
|Moored in Walsall Town Basin|
The getting here was interesting! The first job was depositing three bags of rubbish at the pump house skip. Thank you BCNS. Most was collected from above the Oldbury Top Lock.
Between the Oldbury Bottom Lock and Oldbury Junction there were in excess of 50 silver fish floating dead. I contacted CRT to alert them to an environmental catastrophe. Then just round onto the Old Main Line was a 30" koy carp! Negotiating the turn to Spon Top Lock took time in the wind under the motorway!
We turned north onto the Wednesbury Old Canal and were slowed down by the shallow depth of the narrow channel between the reed beds. It was very pretty. But pretty was not how you would describe the canal as we made our way north. The gates of some of the Ryders Green locks didn't fully open because of the rubbish behind them. The reedy and water lily lined canal was littered with rubbish and flotsam. We had to clear the prop of poly and other rubbish about ten times, often stopping the engine in mid channel. Mainly polythene sheeting and bags today but a draw string gym bag and a rope added to the mix. Some was obviously industrial waste.
The canal could be so beautiful. Walkers commented "Enjoy your trip" with a knowing grin. Fishermen cast over flotillas of plastic bottles; there are cascades of rubbish at every bridge; we stopped counting shopping trolleys when we hit double figures; there are settees and armchairs, fire extinguishers, a gas bottle, empty beer kegs, doors, wood, and board among the flotsam. The fittings of a moored small cruiser seemed to be floating away from it.
How do people put up with it and live with it? This could be a six mile long navigable lily pond! there are red, yellow and white water lilies growing in various stretches. Wildlife exists: muscovy duck, ruddy duck, coot, moorhen, swans with signets, canada geese, farmyard ducks , grey heron and cormorant were all spotted today along with ubiquitous gulls and mallards.
But in Walsall Town Basin it looks ok! I cleared a sackfull of plastic bottles and litter this morning.
10miles and 17 locks: 8.1/2 hrs