Before leaving our Oozells Street Loop mooring we had a coffee with Jim on nb Starcross, swapping more boaty tales and future plans, then it was time to head off up the main line
passing under the Engine Branch aqueduct, through Galton Tunnel and under the Stewart aqueduct,
before taking a quick detour up the Spon Lane locks,
only to turn round and come back down.
That was another bit of the BCN we hadn't done yet, and we didn't want to miss it. Now it can be coloured in on the map!
Once back on the Birmingham main line we took the Walsall canal turn at Pudding Green Junction, but not to go down the Ryders Green locks, rather to try the short Ridgeacre Branch.
However progress was slow, stirring up the silt at the bottom, making the water rather black and smelly.
And before long the water narrowed and then was no more, or at least we couldn't see it. The reeds were completely covering the cut.
A bit of reversing and pole pushing followed to return us back to Ryder's Green.
We met her coach at 21.40 and returned to Tacet, where it was now clear that the lovely old BW buildings
were now used as a nightclub and it was not going to be a quiet night so we pulled out of the basin onto the 24hr moorings on the off side a little further away. We were all so tired that as midnight passed we were soon sleeping soundly.
Tuesday morning we moved to the top of the locks to await the family's arrival and to work down the 21 locks together. While we were waiting along came our new friend Andy on Wand'ring Bark, Ian started to help him down the locks until he met with our crew coming up, having parked their car half-way down. Andy had told Ian his best time for the flight was 2 hours 2 minutes, big mistake, the challenge was now set, we had to beat that. In all there were 9 of us, a big advantage, we mustered up 5 windlasses and off we set, a team ahead to set the locks, a team to work through and a team to close up.
Well our honour is upheld we came out of the last lock 1 hour 22 minutes 43 seconds later.
Great work team, a well deserved dinner followed. The weather turned wet afterwards, which was a shame as we wanted a bit of a cruise before seeing our visitors off back to Sussex, leaving 2 girls behind to stay with us for the rest of the week.
12 miles, 9 locks, 1 tunnel
7 miles, 23 locks