Grand Union Canal: Birmingham to Leamington Spa
31 May to 1 June 2014
We enjoyed the company of Paul and Christine Balmer of
earlier in the year when we had a lovely four
days, and they must have done too as they were very kind and
invited us back - unless that "SL" on their cruising schedule really did stand
for "slave labour" instead of "Stephen & Lucy". Always keen for a lock or two,
we offered to help them on their way southwards from Birmingham as they prepare
to film the Oxford Canal and Grand Union Canal this summer.
We met at 9.30 on Saturday morning at Sherborne Wharf in
central Birmingham, and almost immediately were underway, descending the 13
locks of the Farmers Bridge flight and the 6 Ashted Locks.
We made a short diversion here to Typhoo Basin - although Lucy and I had been
along the Digbeth canals, we hadn't explored this little-visited backwater, so
this was another spot on the canal network to cross off our lists and colour in
on the map.
That evening we moored a little way above Knowle locks, and
with Sue and Vic from No Problem, later going for a walk and
Next day we reached Knowle, where Lucy and Christine are preparing a lock
Waterway Routes descending the locks together.
We left Sue and Vic at the foot of Knowle, and continued to Kingswood Junction
where we made another little detour by turning right towards the Stratford upon
We pass the foot of lock 20, which is the route Lucy and Stephen had previously
taken to climb onto the Stratford Canal proper.
Today our route lies straight ahead through this narrow gap - we'd cruised the
Stratford Canal beyond, but thanks to this unusual triangular junction, this
tiny section was unvisited by us previously.
Safely through, we wind the boat and go back again, having added another few
metres of canal to that we've cruised
Well down the Hatton flight of 21 locks
What is now the mainline of the canal turns left here at Budbrooke Junction,
where what was built as the Warwick and Birmingham Canal went straight on and
the Warwick and Napton Canal went left. Part of the last bit of the Warwick and
Birmingham Canal remains in water as the Saltisford Arm, and this was the third
bit of newly cruised water for Lucy and Stephen this weekend.
Cruising slowly along the Saltisford Arm. We stopped for a while to chat with
some friends of Paul and Christine and have an ice cream. We had originally
thought we would get off the boat by here to get the train back to Birmingham
from Warwick Parkway, but as we'd made such quick progress, we continued on
through the Cape locks and to Leamington Spa, from where we caught the train.
Another lovely weekend with good company, nice weather, a few bits of new
territory and after a busy time we have another 51 locks and 25 miles to add to the tally.