This morning the forecast was for heavy rain showers but it was only light so we decided to don our waterproofs and head for the Farmers Bridge Locks which would be reasonably sheltered as they go under and between tall buildings. All the locks were against us but we made good progress and then half way down a Volunteer Lockie , Tony, joined us and we were down the 13 locks in 1.5 hours and on our way to Aston Junction where we turned right on the Digbeth Branch.
Just before Typhoo Basin we turned left and headed for Bordesley Junction and the Camp Hill flight of locks. Here we met a hire boat who had just come up from Salford Junction and they told us that they could not go any further as the canal was empty of water. The pounds were indeed empty as somebody had left all the top gates open and the pounds were all empty or just a trickle of water. I went up to the top lock and let water down so that we could fill all the pounds and then set the hire boat on its way and we followed on after them.
At the top of the flight is an excellent C&RT Facilities block next to a warehouse, where we filled with water.
At Olton we passed the Car Wash where I have my car cleaned for the excellent price of £2.50 and then as we entered Solihull we passed the playing field onto which my parents house used to back. Somebody has now built a shed on the Canal Overflow where I used to launch my canoe when I was a young child and wait for a passing workboat to ride his stern wave. Gaynor and Nick came out to wave to us as wetrav ed under Dovehouse Lane bridge and then joined us for coffee later that evening.
A little further on is the pedestrian bridge which used to be for British Gas personnel to enter the offices from the local housing estate and also the remains of the old swimming pool which fronted onto the canal and which we used at lunch times. The offices are long gone and replaced with a new housing estate.
As June had predicted the sun came out as we reached the last lock and we had a nice cruise to Catherine de Barnes where the Boat Pub provides good meals or on the opposite side of the road is Longfellows an excellent family run restaurant and the village shop all of which we have used for many years.