#58 Sawley Cut to the Black Country. June 2018

Tuesday 5th June 2018      Aft’ River Trent adventures nb:Bartholomew Roberts 1682-1722 hath been restfully recoverings in t’ safety o’ Sawley Cut fore cupel o’ daylights. Now tis time four Skip, Skippet & 1st Mate (And t’ rest o’ hour merrily motley crew o’ course) fore a swimmingly wet path o’ travellings. We ‘av ourselves a convoy. Black Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!  & nb:on the go to (now their’s a name) is a’ chuggen through t’ open Sawley floodlock entering wide flowingly waters agin. Tis t’ final strong ripples of River Trent, with moor than a tittle help from t’ River Derwent two. Passing und’ t’ noisy multi’laned beast of tarmacadam wrumberling above with wheeled vehiculars whizzing across.


Only a short stretch of twinned river before olde’ Trent swishes off t’ Port/South & Derwent bubbles off t’ starboard/North(ish). Our twinned band of pirates Aaaarrrggh !!!  maintain a steady course. Heading West. Aye !  Aye !!  Cap’n  Aaaarrrggh !!!   Derwent Mouth’s lower gates opened, we float side bye side as we arise t’ shallower liquid. & a tittle darker. And a considerableness narrower. We now ‘av a new travelling companion’d’aqua. The Trent & Mersey Canal…..  Maties take the lead, with Bart following through the delight’fullies Shardlow. Knot stopping ‘ere today though. Fathoms & leagues to experience. This canal water is soo much healthier than many. Quite clear with grasses & water lilies amongst many udder living green tings swishing aboat both in & on t’ water. Through upwardly mobile Shardlow chamber, passed sand & gravel workings


& then we is drifting int’ Aston aqualift


Minding those tittle deviously tunnels. Trying to trick us. We ain’t dat silly. Knot quite anyhows. Swishing through only slightly shortly darkly smalley bricklike bridge’oles, under Big road bridges & lowly railway crossings.


Weston lock only delays hour passage a merely short while, spitting convoys vessels fore’ward to a fine berthing pool fore a much needed restfulness.

Wednesday 6th June      T’ clearly watered canal path tracks a much’less massive River Trent that keeps creeping o’ver t’ our manmade liquid route two whisper ‘Hello‘ on occasion. Swarkstone, t’ deepest yet, arises t’ convoy moor than fifty toes. Nearly fifty five. Butt knot quite. Ascensions increasing every Big wet slippery step we use. Swarkstone Stop’s


Toll House still provides a very handy device fore lifting heavy items in & oat of won’s boat. If you require such assistance. This be t’ junction with t’ (unfortunately) long gone Derby Canal. The fourteen mile long, seventeen lock Derby Canal were operational since 1796, predominantly ‘shipping’ coal, swimming via Borrowash & originally connecting to the ‘still living’ Erewash Canal at Sandiacre. The Derby & Sandiacre Canal Charitable Trust have a revised route & is making their case known to restore this waterway. Good Luck !!!  Must be almost a league o’ swimming strokes & we arrive at t’ last wide chamber on tis ‘ear path. Deep this Beast. Stenson Loch. Over sixty toes. That’s knot to be messed aboat with eye cannee tell ya !!  We ‘av help from Master L.Keeper (first we’ve seen since Sawley) who knows just how to thame this spasmodically irritable monster. Having moved vertically bye a knot inconsiderable dimension the upper gates relieve the deep of it’s quarry. We pass Findern & rest in the shadow of the niao quiet Willington Power Station. Both 1st mates of t’ convoys vessels go to play in the local lake. Tis quite small, but no less, sufficien’talls. Tilly is a lovely, slight, whippet fast terrier who loves swimming & retrieving the biggest stick available. Roxy is knot keen on navigating water, personal like, having only paddled on occasion. Apart from those rare accidental full body splashes. Twice in 2014, falling in the canal, from the towpath, when excited & forgetting where she was. And once in 2015 when Skip unwittingly back heeled her into deep wide water during a cruise of the (fortunately sedate & quiet) River Witham in Lincolnshire. That ‘event’ freaked oat Skip, Skippet & 1st mate. At least swimming skills were proven as capable, when required. Tilly’s skills & exuberance have a Fantastic effect on our Roxy. She’s like a ‘New’ Doggy. Aft tentative paddles she builds in confidence, eventually walking into water deep enough to get her back wet. Even her head goes under water when ‘rescuing’ a floating stick. This is A-May-Zing !!!  Roxy keeps going in. She is Having Sooo Much Fun. The girl is Loving this. We is Well Impressed. Never thought weed sea this !!   1st mates niao need to commence the drip dry process. Maybe a tittle air drying may ‘av t’ be brought int’ play two !!

Thursday 7th June      Our maties ‘av swam on early. nb:Bartholomew Roberts 1682-1722 enjoys a write lazy start. 1st mate is very ty’red today. Far to much soggily funly exercises yesterday. On t’ move a tittle late, Bart swims thru Willington, briefly statik’fying for l’aqua stop & then trogging bye lively roads, busy railways with chuggen trains, thru bridge holes & over aqueducts, gliding o’er creeks & t’ River Dove amongst udders. Claymills Pumping Station, Pirelli, the ‘Brewers’ football stadium & Horninglow Wharf watch our passage to the first narrow


aqualift of this inland waterway we is currently enjoying. And Yes !!  We Aaaarrrggh !!! Enjoying this gentile swim most marvellously !!  Dallow Lane raises Bart a mere seventeen & a half (that deep cut feels a might painful) toes, to weir Shobnall Fields provides fine anchorage for a few ‘ers oar moor. And guess who Bart has just berthed in front ov !!

Friday 8th June      A day of non crewsings. Thyme to settle ‘ere four a few ‘ers moor. Aft longly chittie chatties & coffee with lashings ov fruity brown sauce Cap’ns Ishams is escorted off t’ premises. Niao, a cuppell of jobs to do before the daylight creeps far f’Aaaarrrggh !!! away……..

Saturday 9th June      So, ‘nough ov this lounging aroand stuff. We ‘as arisen early. Lister be fired up & off we Go…….  Branston’s very fruity flow aqualifts our Bart to new heights. Horizontal shepherding proceeds Bart’s passage


upwardly thru moor ascentions. Wychnor elevations direct hour voyagings across t’ pleasantly calm flowings o’ olde’ River Trent who swishings across our ripples just before Alrewas Lock hoists Black Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!   to a most acceptably restful berthing pool.


T’ neighbours is be keen to meet our vessel’s 1st mate. They seam quite excited.

Jobs to do. Mountings fore ‘bunting’ support poles salted. Roof edge bracket four display shelf vinegar’ed. Pore old skip be all warn oat niao.

Sunday 10th June


Sales day. RoxyChicKnits Aaaarrrggh !!!   Open fore Business !!!  !!!

!!!  Looking Good  !!!

Sum thyme aft t’ morning sales Cap’ns Ishams ‘av caught up wid our Bart & cru. Knot muchly later, t’ cru o’ t’ good ‘ship’ Joy Louise arrive. We need t’ go & hunt down a Fine establishment. Their be a need four grog & Salmagunchi a’plenty. The Crown did knot disappoint. We all return t’ port, enjoying puddlings & fruity brown sauce. Lovely !!   Aaaarrrggh !!!

Monday 11th June      Much Fun is enjoyed bye Skip & Skippet. A Wonderous visit to ‘P. Coates & Son’ the Magnificent Alrewas Butchers ‘Makes Hour Day’. And Then….    Muchly Fun is enjoyed bye doggy maties. We walk down t’ ‘beach’ below Alrewas weir. Skip plays stick goalie, standing in the flow to rescuing any attempted escapees. Tilly is knot on form today. She’s hurt her shoulder, so knot quite as agile & enthusiastic as usual. Roxy picks up the batten (stick really). She’s getting quite brave. even (accidentally, we tinks) ends up in deep (tis all relevant, as we always say) water, so does actually ‘swim’ properly, against the current, four a few seconds oar moor….  Most Impressive. Games last fore ages…..

Tuesday 12th June      Tis an’udder Glorious summer day. Cap’n Black Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!  Calls ‘is crue to arms !!!  Aaaarrrggh !!!   We is going on a crews….  knot the longest of tyre’sum voyages. Our craft ascends Bagnall’s aqualift as we depart Alrewas, then swimming the long straight to Common Lock. Just a tuther straight glide swishes Bart & Co. to the last two chambers of this mamouth traversings. Hunts & Keeper’s arisings lift our floatation a mere moor few toes & resting we duth commence. Just short of Fradley Junction.

Wednesday 13th June      We is knot stopping ‘ear. Good position, but need to progress ‘orizontal likely. nb:Bartholomew Roberts 1682-1722 wakes Lister & maties. Soonly we is moving fore’were’d, up Junction chamber. We leave the Lovely Trent & Mersey Canal, tacking to port, heading South on the shallower Coventry Canal. Just taking it easy. Even moor easy than usual.



A slow chuggens through beautiful countryside almost crowdley thronging


with trees, green in plentiful supply, ‘farmyard’ animals & ‘wild’ critters. We is passed Huddlesford Junction, Whittington & aft many fathoms & leagues a Fine anchorage be found in Hopwas bay.

Thursday 14th June      Thyme four a bus ride while Bart, Lister & chums practice comfortable static’fication. Lichfield is knot very F’Aaaarrrggh !!!   a’wey. And Wot a Wonderful Plaice Lichfield Shirtenly is.


Lichfield Cathedral is the Cherry on the Cake.


Yes Sir’eeeee.  Tis t’ Cherry on dat Cake.


Cake. Who said Cake ??


Ummm !!


We Love Cake !!!   Aaaarrrggh !!!  !!!

Friday 15th June      Fazeley Junction be a while coming, butt eventually, Cap’n Black Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!  guides craft and motley crue of toes & paws through the intersection, tacking to starboard. The union of t’ Coventry Canal and the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal seas us safely through transition. Tight squeeze through the narrows & we be sliding through uncharted waters. Knot swam tis liquid path bee’fore.



Aft Drayton Manor slips on buy we is being sung to bye ripples o’ t’ River Tame & t’ RSPB Middleton Lakes. We shall bob up & down ‘ear for t’ nightly ‘ers.

Saturday 17th June      Sum Serious climbing ahead.


Curdworth arising chambers layout, spreadably off the nose. The Prow sum pirates will cr’eye.  Aaaarrrggh !!!   Eleven water boxes swirling upwardly for we & hour narrowboatly craft. Cannee even comprehend t’ number of tows &/oar paws of ascendings we is going to ‘av to conquer. Deep breath. And an’udder. Stretch those musc’ells. Windlasses at t’ ready. Off We Go……


Skip shouts “Engage” (just like Cap’n Jean Luke Picard of the Good Ship Enterprise). Lister opens t’ aft’er burners. Curdworth Tunnel is made short work ov ! Only takes a few minutes to swim a Massive fifty seven yards oar soo. We goes Sooo  Quick, Minworth trio of loch chambers is there almost bee’fore we entered t’ Darknesses.


Why !!  Indeed.  “Why Knot” 1st mate responds int’ Most Positive fashion possible !!


As Spaghetti Junction starts to creep o’er the horizon towards our floatings Lister & chums keep t’ speed down for this interestingly dingy’nesses.

We ‘av to make a HUGE change to our voyager routings. Aston locks is closed. Knot Road Works. Tis is Water Works. Fortunately, t’ Digbeth Branch saves t’ day. Comes to The Rescue sum would likely, almostly say.


Extremely tight windings at Salford Junction. Takes a cuppell of attempts. Sum roping assistance proves t’ difference on take two. Bart World is niao swimming the BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigations). Star City provides good floating pontoons on which to secure those lines for a few ‘ers of restfulnesses.

Sunday 18th June      So we is off early. Many watery steps o’climbing to confront this swimmings. Five Garrison aqualifts transport hour craft through murky slimy liquids. Unpleasant noises a’plenty down their int’ sludge. Keep is very slow Lister. Aye Aye Cap’n Aaaarrrggh !!!   Olde’ G’box & ‘is mate olde’ Prop use tittle blips ov spinnings to propulse us’ll gently forward, reducing the risk o’v summit nasty ‘appening down their. Hour luck stays in.


We make it, & move onwards to Bordesley Junction where a sharp tack to starboard sends us to Warwick Bar.


A tight squeeze through the remnants of t’ Warwick Bar stop lock, passing la Banana Warehouse & then we is tacking t’ starboard agin.


Now the curvey sweep through the widely darkness of the wellit Monster Ashted Railway Bridge hole, swirling craft & crue straight into the next flight of water steps. Ashted ascends we’all up six moor tittle watery falls. T’ last step being broken buy the extremely un’generously proportioned Ashted Tunnel of gloom.


Only short but the sternly steel coolie hat scrapes t’ fluctuatious


d’curvaceousness of ruff’ness. Tis bit be slightly moor spacious. Sounded Most unpleasant. No’ting could be done to help. Fortunately, it stood up to the unfair abuse with minimal damage. Glad Bart is quite low. Must be ‘orrible fore udder taller craft. Them would likely have to take t’ chimney off before traversing the tube, to save from sumit bad ‘appening. Ashton Junction follows t’ slightly lonely Ashted Top lock, swinging hour flat bum (knot bottomed) vessel t’port on t’ final strokes to the Biggy.


Tis a Very True & Correct Statement. We Whole heartedly agree. The BCN. Birmingham Canal Navigations. nb:Bartholomew Roberts 1682-1722 is a BCN replica. So we is definitely in the write plaice. Must be Clearly specified dat the BCN is knot Just aboat Birmingham. No. It is Knot. The BCN’s waterways mainly criss-cross the Black Country which is an Extremely ‘istorically important area for all of us living in this ‘ere land. Beating Heart of the Industrial Revolution. We All owe a HUGE debt of Gratitude to this Great area. If you don’t know the story aboat the Black Country You Must Read aboat it.

Aft t’ five Garrison then six Ashted we now have the thirteen Farmer’s Bridge chambers of floatations to negotiate.


Safely through the first slimy step we is slipping through the darkly wide railway hole ahead then straight under that big building beyond. Eye’no. Mad !!  Half whey up we ‘av a cuppell from Germany assisting hour ascentions. They is on a hire narrowboat moored near Gas Street Basin and want sum tuition from ‘experts’ on lock keeping. Our resident Lock Keeper Extraordinaire rises to the occasion, passing on muchly skills & knowledgeables.


Cambrian Wharf looks good so cockswain reverses our narrowboatly craft int’ Fine position. Surprisingly quiet ‘ere, e’en though we is only a few minutes walk from t’ heart of t’ city. Nice area of grass wid a few tree just aft of t’ ‘photographer’ blokey. 1st mate is be Really Happy !  Magic !!  Aaaarrrggh !!!

Monday 18th June      Please Cap’n. Can we ‘av a rest aft ALL those waterly chambers . PLEASE !!!  Wow !!  Cap’n Black Bart  Aaaarrrggh !!!  seams to be in an unusually Good mood. Fantastic. Aft a most restful commencement to this day’s proceedings a walk int’ town is called fore. Just checking oat the plaice & later, we is participating in a ‘controlled’ session of bleeding. No’ting like a good fashioned bit of blood sucking to take any ills a’whey. Just met the vampires in their catacombs under New Street. Knot a hole’heartedly painful experience. Just a tittle prick. Oar were dat ‘just a tittle scratch. Just cannee remember.

Tuesday 19th June      Skippet is training all her wey to Lovely plaice dat be Whitstable, miles from ‘ear. Very important journey. Saying a Very emotionally fond farewell to Uncle Charles who is sadly missed by all that knew such a Lovely man. Comes to us all eventually. One way oar an’udder. Skip stays in Brummagem to look aft our Bart & 1st mate. Goodbye Charles !!!    Never to be forgotten.  Aaaarrrggh !!!

Wednesday 20th June      We Aaaarrrggh !!! back to hour full compliment of ociffers & cru. And we Aaaarrrggh !!!  embarking on a Voyage int’ Black Country, Aft we ‘av disembarked our fine moorings in Cambrian Wharf, Brummagem.

The ‘borders’ of the “Black Country” can often be an area of conjecture, but Skip believes (& is happily open to being ‘corrected’) this famously important area encompasses Wolverhampton, West Bromwich, Walsall, Wednesbury, Coseley, Oldbury, Blackheath, Cradley Heath, Old Hill, Bilston, Dudley, Tipton, Wednesfield Stourbridge and Smethwick/Warley and knot to be forgotten, parts of Halesowen.

Hope neither of you bloggets ‘av any sensible reason to object to or disagree with Skip’s madly, crazy scribblings. Knot the rest of it, just dat tittle bit above. If won (oar both of you) ‘av any issues with the above then Cap’n Black Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!  recommends you Keep Quiet & behave one’self. If you cannee help your’self & start causing trouble then he will deal with you most sternly likely.

Anyhaps. We digress. As is quite common in these slightly strange wordly’ings. Crewsing agin, we Aaaarrrggh !!!


From Cambrian Wharf to Old Turn Junction, tacking t’port at the (Yes, there is one) round’aboat, heading in a westerly(ish) track. As we depart the central area of Brummagem’s visitor moorings the track straightens oat & widens to allow pleasant swimmingly glidings.


Vessel & all chums involved in Bart World pass old main line watery loops, junctions, old long gone wharf’s entry bridges, through a variety of foot & vehicular bridge holes added to dodging occasional mid canal islets.


Love the colours & talent on show as we chuggen along this section of the BCN


Taking the portly fork at Smethwick Junction we be soon climbing the


trio o’ chambers required to gain access to the Old Main Line proper.


James Brindley’s masterpiece of t’ BCN linking Wolverhampton & Birmingham


At t’ last of hour arisings on tis ‘ere voyagings



we ‘set sail’ for the summit tunnel soonly followed by


Motorway Land. Moor modern constructions trying t’ hide old marvels.


Helmsperson guides our craft through cosy dark holes and sweeping sections of waterway on their whey to, & then away from Oldbury. The Old Main Line smooths oat sum’wot, although still tittle jiggles keep appearing, to keep oneself honest.


Water quality must be improving. Lillie pads appearing, lining the canal. We waive Brades Hall Junction & peer down t’ northern darkness o’ t’ Netherton Tunnel as we sail o’er Tividale Aqueduct. The density of life growing in the canal’s increasingly clear water is swelling, the further West we travel. Early during today’s voyagings we needed to stay alert to items in the murk below, trying to grab old propeller, whizzing down there, amongst the mess, grime & obstacles. Now the fresher water brings a different source of prop tuggings. Technique ov fairly low revs & regular reversings to remove offending items continue. Mid aft’noon & we wind a’90, turning at Tipton Junction. Shortly before the North portal o’ t’ Dudley Tunnel &


aft a faucet refuel Bart swings a very tight 180, nose under Browns Bridge & reverses passed hour new to be neighbour & berths for a very well earn’t relaxations.

Bart World hath arrived at the Dudley Canal & Tunnel Trust. The DC&TT

& the Black Country Living Museum. The BCLM


Thursday 21st June      Skip’s Ma & Pa arrived soon aft nb:Batholmew Roberts 1682-1722 yesterday aft’noon. Bangers, Beans & mash provided the most suitable sustenance fore all tyre’d travellers. Refreshed & well slept we can now go to the BCLM……….

Just a few pictures below from our visits to the

Black Country Living Museum


Friday 22nd June      The Black Country Living Museum is So Good !!

Actually.  The Black Country Living Museum is !!! FANTASTIC !!!

We go back in on Friday just so we can suck up moor of those historicals.


A Most Impressive plaice to visit……….    Skippet wants to work here.


The Fabulous Workers’ Institute building from Cradley Heath was carefully dismantled, brick by brick, transported to the BCLM & rebuilt. Incredible !!!

The vast majority of buildings here, large & small have been ‘created’ the same way, moved from other areas in the Black Country. Find it hard to believe how they have done all this. A-Mai-Zing !!!


Lord Ward’s Arm sweeps round from the 1922 manually operated lift bridge (moved here from Factory Railway Basin, Bloomfield, Tipton), located at the waters meeting with the Dudley Canal, where Bart is floating quietly.


Trolley bus overhead power lines knot in use during our visits











Wonderful array of ‘istorical motor vehiculars to be seen here at the museum

All manufactured here in the Black Country



An’udder view of Lord Ward’s arm/the Museum boat basin









There is a wonderous array of industrial buildings & representations

Far too many to show you tittle bloggets

Incredible way to learn aboat all these ‘istoricals

All equipment & tools have been donated to the museum over the years


Great to watch the nail wizard create her masterpiece


!!! We have that very nail on Bart now !!!

The chain making were Very Interesting

Simple & Extremely Clever at the same time

We were knot presented with the newly created length of chain



A few street urchins enjoying games before they are back to work

Children started work from as young as three



Quite a few different houses from the 1830s onwards, too





Wonderful to sea advances from the most basic of living conditions


We have all had a Fantastic time over the last couple of days

A Great experience

The BCLM have plans on track to create

a new area covering the 1940s-1960s in the Black Country

It’s just going to get even better

YOU Must All come here one day

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Just a tittle extra note to all, oar any bloggets oat there

Thursday evening meal were

Mad O'Rourkes Pie Factory

Thoroughly enjoyed at Mad O’Rourkes Pie Factory

Aaaarrrggh !!!     !!!   HIGHLY RECOMMENDED   !!!

Only a fifteen minute walk from our berthing

outside the North portal of the Dudley Tunnel

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


Cap’n Black Bart Aaaarrrggh !!!   He say Ciao fore Niao

Slater Bloggets………….

One thought on “#58 Sawley Cut to the Black Country. June 2018

  1. We so enjoyed our time with son Colin and Judith. The museum was fantastic . Food was great as was the company. Just the drive there and back was not so funny!


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