Go to Allan's Page Part 1 - Birthday Parties and the trip to Stoke Canals Home Page Part 2 - Peak Forest, via Llangollen to Birmingham Go to Deb's Page
BCN Wedding of the Year View Slideshow  

Peak Forest, Llangollen, Birmingham, Drayton Manor and Ashby 2012

Part 3: Birmingham to Drayton Manor and the Ashby

After the wedding we gained a crew member for a week as our grand-daughter Lauren joined us. We soon taught her all about lock-wheeling, as well as letting her steer the boat out of some of the locks to wait while I shut the lock gate behind her. She absolutely loved doing this work, which was really  helpful as we came down the Farmers Bridge and Aston flights;  we reached the Dog and Doublet, 12 miles and 35 locks away, by 4pm despite having to shelter under a bridge during the heaviest rainstorm I have ever seen. We were able to say thanks for her hard work by spending the next day having fun at Drayton Manor Park.

 

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While we were in Birmingham we had a pumpout from this mobile service boat
Underneath the BT tower on Farmers Bridge
Our lock-wheeler is a little bit shy
Debbie points out the sights to Lauren
The BT tower recedes behind us
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A little bit nervous before driving the boat out of a lock for the first time
"Oh yes, putting it into gear is quite easy"
"Steering the boat is no problem, I've been doing it for AGES"
This bridge has a gap at one end to let the tow-rope pass underneath
I loved the polite tone of this notice, opposite a difficult T-junction

The Birmingham and Fazeley Canal runs right past Drayton Manor Park. There are good moorings by the unusually ornate footbridge, and it is just a five-minute walk up the drive to the entrance. If you are thinking of going there it is perhaps worth knowing that you can purchase your tickets in advance at a substantial discount by using Tesco Clubcard vouchers. We had a great day there, from the moment that the gates opened until they were ready to close, although I must admit that we were rather disappointed in the zoo (especially the Penguin Pool). I took a ride on the cable car, which has usually been closed by high winds when we have been before, to get a good view of the other rides.

 

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Drayton Footbridge is delightfully unique.
The passengers in the water-splash can expect to get a soaking
The Big Wheel
The Flying Dutchman
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The Flying Dutchman
The G-Force ride has many upside-down loops
Debbie prefers the more sedate rides
There is a thriving colony of meerkats in the zoo.

After leaving Drayton Manor we had arranged for Vicki and Paul to meet us at Atherstone, so they could take Lauren home with them (as well as helping us up the Atherstone locks - what a cunning plan!); then after our crew's departure the next day we set off for the Ashby Canal. This canal has no locks, making a relaxing change from the previous few days, and is delightfully peaceful. There is an active campaign to restore the abandoned section at the end of the canal, and a short length has already been opened to provide some additional mooring there; I hope they will have been able to restore some more by the time we visit there again.

 

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This duck seemed to be wearing its best bonnet for us.
Some of the bridges on the Ashby Canal are very awkwardly placed on sharp bends
We spotted an old Harborough boat on the bank at Shackerstone
At  the end of navigation there is a new swing-bridge before the start of the restoration
The Ashby Boat Company has a wonderful pump-out vehicle.

Finally it was time to give Keeping Up the 21st birthday present that we had promised her, so we left her at Hillmorton Wharf to be given a fresh coat of paint (the same colours as before) and a few minor repairs. All that would remain was the challenge of getting her back to the mooring without picking up too many scratches on the new paintwork.

 

BCN Wedding of the Year View Slideshow  
Go to Allan's Page Part 1 - Birthday Parties and the trip to Stoke Canals Home Page Part 2 - Peak Forest, via Llangollen to Birmingham Go to Deb's Page

 

All pictures on this site are Allan Jones unless otherwise stated

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