Thick ice on the BCN Old Main Line at Tipton

Last night was cold and ice had formed on the section running down to the Dudley Tunnel. We left around 9:15 and broke up the pretty patterns on the ice. Sections where the sun and wind hadn't managed to disturb the surface were icy but others were clear. It was also in icy sections that rubbish collected.

Ice sheets and flotsam and jetsam
Approaching Coseley Tunnel
Coseley tunnel had been closed on Thursday because of a fallen tree. We saw evidence of the tree but there was also lots of debris in the water. As we got closer to Wolverhampton we found ourselves following the path cut through the ice of another boat. The boat must have gone down the flight in front of us because all locks at the top of the flight were set against us.
Wolverhampton Top Lock
BCN Marker

Top Lock Cottages Wolverhampton Flight
We made steady progress down the flight but we had to take it steady because the lock gates were a bit icy. We passed a couple of boats coming up the flight when we were about halfway down, so for a while the locks were set for us.
Lock 8, Wolverhampton Flight

A well-worn casting
About halfway down the flight a working boat (NB Halsall) with an enthusiastic crew caught us up. After that we got into a rhythm with their crew coming forward to give us a hand with closing the gates. Leaving Lock 12 we found the pound was low and Albert ran aground. We had to let down another lockful to get into the next lock. This was a bit strange because all the way down the flight there was plenty of water going over the bywashes.

Magnificent railway viaduct arch - built on the skew
Wolverhampton Railway Viaduct

We finally got down the bottom of the flight at 3:15, just less that four hours after entering the Top Lock.  Hardly a record but we were unlikely to get down quickly.


Wolverhampton Bottom Lock, Aldersley Junction

Aldersley Junction, Staffordshire & Worcester Canal
On the Staffs & Worcester we passed Oxley Marine. Moored up was Felis Catus III. This boat still bears the name of Mike and Wendy Stevens. Mike ran one of the early major waterways web sites and was a great waterways enthusiast. Mike sadly died aboard the boat in October 2007.
NB Felis Catus III
Bridge Protection, Shropshire Union
We joined the Shropshire Union at Autherley Junction. Napton Narrowboats are now operating from the stop lock base. There were  plenty of their boats moored up but according to one of their staff moving boats, eight will be hired out over Easter. Given the weather, and the early Easter, I suppose that is not bad.
We moored up on the visitor moorings just before Bridge 8 near Brewood. In the distance we could see snow on Cannock Chase although there was thankfully no snow on the towpath. It is going to be cold tonight so we expect there will be some ice on the cut in the morning.