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