Canal Boat - - This Month -

Don’t miss the BCN; en­forced leisure; paint­ing’s a pic­ture; Soar­ing along the cut

HAV­ING PRE­VI­OUSLY BEEN on the south­ern and western parts of the BCN net­work, we de­cided in Septem­ber to ex­plore the re­main­der of its canals.

I’d ex­pected them to be the same cor­ri­dors of na­ture that most of the other BCN canals are but I was pleas­antly sur­prised to find there were a few quite ru­ral parts too, par­tic­u­larly at the north-east­ern end of the Wyr­ley & Ess­ing­ton. An­gle­sey Basin, by the Chase­wa­ter reser­voir, was par­tic­u­larly en­chant­ing and the ic­ing on the cake for me was com­ing across ten deer when walk­ing my dog there.

Dur­ing our week we didn’t en­counter any prob­lems with the lo­cals; in fact, many were re­ally pleased to see their canal be­ing used and greeted us ac­cord­ingly and this in­cluded teenagers and kids. Safe overnight moor­ings were eas­ily sought, partly by do­ing pre-trip re­search or just us­ing some com­mon sense.

There was some weed in places and the go­ing was a lit­tle slow at times, caused partly by low wa­ter lev­els af­ter a dry spell of weather, but the locks were all work­ing and well main­tained. Sur­pris­ingly, my once-a-day visit to the weed hatch was to clear weed and not the usual ur­ban canal de­bris.

It’s such a shame that many are scep­ti­cal about ven­tur­ing up there be­cause they are miss­ing out on some re­ally en­joy­able cruis­ing. I thor­oughly rec­om­mend giv­ing it a go and also to try and spare a cou­ple of days to spend in the won­der­fully at­mo­spheric moor­ing in the cen­tre of Birm­ing­ham as well.

NEIL BAR­NETT, nb Com­fort­ably Numb

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