Just a short distance brought us to Longwood Junction with its charming canal side cottages and buildings where we filled up with water. This is the start of the Rushall Canal which leads onto the Tame Valley canal.
Disaster however as the long pound below the first two locks was virtually dry. Now this pound is over a mile in length so would take some filling. Fortunately Stuart had already advised C&RT and was letting some water down to give enough depth for a central channel to take the boats on. The C& RT man arrived and let water into the pound from below the 2nd lock and after a short wait we followed Stuart down the locks and gingerly edged our way down the pound.
The C&RT man was at the second lock controlling the water down to the rest of the flight and let us into the the lock as we would not have been able to get to the bank. However, once we had negotiated the the next lock we found Stuart leaning at an unusual angle stuck in the next lock as the pound beyond was again virtually dry. It was again a case of let more water down and with a bit of luck he was soon afloat and able to proceed to the bottom of the flight.
We left Stuart there to oversee the remainder of the boats coming down and headed off in deep water at last. It had taken us over 3 hours to do 9 locks when on Friday we had done 21 in the same time.
It was interesting to see how the towing ropes from the old horse drawn boats had worn almost through the metal bridge protectors, showing how busy this canal must have been in the hay day of the coal transportation.
This stretch of canal was the Motorway of its day and is 3.5 miles of virtual straight canal with a towpath either side indicating how busy the wide canal was at its peak. Most of it is open but there are still signs of the old factories which must have lined its edges in the past. We even spotted the Midland Metro passing overhead part of the new transport system for Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
There is a new aqueduct which takes us over the M5 where it joins the M6 and with a strong blowing across it makes steering difficult but give spectacular views of the motorways of today from those of the past.
Later that evening we had a d.i.y. BBQ and then we were treated to Stuarts daughter playing her guitar and singing the songs of our era which we could all join in with the words. Then it was time for the raffle with some great prizes which had been donated by the group and other organisations. It raised a total of £99 for the BCNS.
As darkness came on and the warmth of the day died away we all retired to bed for a well earned rest.