We had a grandson on board for the trip from Cambrian Basin to the Black Country Living Museum. We chose to go along the Old Main Line from Brades Hall Junction which meant navigating the Gower Branch and Brades Locks which is new to us. It was our first experience of these locks which are a single lock and a staircase. We had no problems at all and gave our grandson his first experience of pushing and pulling lock gates and winding paddle gear.
The Old Main line is weedy. It is lined with water lillies and has blanket weed floating in clumps in the channel. Regular reversing of the prop kept it clear.
We moored for lunch above the Netherton tunnel branch on the Tividale Aqueduct. A boat was already moored there bit thy moved up a couple of bollards to let us in. They were very apologetic and told us they dod not expect to see anyone else as they had seen only one boat all morning.
After lunch we were soon at the BCLM and moored on 24hr mooring.
8.1/2 miles, 3 locks, 8 hours (including lunch).
After a nice time in the museum including a visit down the mine and to the sweetshop we settled down for the night. The museum food outlets close at 5pm so we made use of the local takeway chinese "Chopsticks". I ordered the sort of meal we would have had in Banbury but the size of the portions here was really OTT. The pancake rolls were the size of a pringle tube and the chicken balls the size of full size billiard balls. And there were loads of them. We decided to keep the barbque spare ribs, 1.1/2 spring rolls and the chow mein for lunch the next day. In fact we had more than that left over including half the chicken balls and king prawns in batter.
We went on the Dudley Canal Tunnel Trusts tunnel trip int he morning. What a pleasure. The limestone caverns,including a light show and video presentations were wonderful. Our grandson got to leg us in the tunnel and we really enjoyed the experience. After this we went back to the BCLM for a bit more history and a pint of mild ale at the Bottle and Glass Inn.
After lunch we went back via the New Main Line. At Factory locks we had to wait for a D of E Award party to bring their butty up the locks. The last boat in the queue that built up behind them were in no mood to wait for locks which resulted in too many boats than would fit between locks 2 and 3. This boat emptied down and worked up lock 2 trapping Sonflower in the top lock with another boat waiting in the pound. Once they were up the jiggling and maneuvering about could commence to leave them in the short pound between the locks. I don't think they noticed the trouble their impatience had caused.
The rest of the cruise back to Cambrian Basin was uneventful. We were glad to get back. The best mate made a delicious chilli with the chicken that remained in the centre of the left over Chinese chicken balls.
9 miles, 3 locks, 4 hours
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