Grand Union Canal: Birmingham to Leamington Spa
on Waterway Routes

31 May to 1 June 2014

We enjoyed the company of Paul and Christine Balmer of Waterway Routes 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 met with Sue and Vic from No Problem, later going for a walk and some geocaching.

Next day we reached Knowle, where Lucy and Christine are preparing a lock

No Problem and 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 Avon Canal.

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.


Back Up Next

Unless otherwise stated, all images copyright (c) Stephen and Lucy Dawson