15 July 2008

Exploring we will go

The BCN has been on my radar a fair bit recently. First there was the cruising guide in one of the canal mags and then we had Sue and Richard on Indigo Dream blogging about their recent peregrinations around Brum. They’ve certainly helped to crystallise a rather nebulous plan that has been floating round the vacant spaces of my brain for the last couple of years. So next year we are definitely going down to Birmingham to have a bit of a shufty. I reckon a couple of weeks of exploration will see us cover those bits of the BCN we haven’t yet seen, with the main focus being the spurs and loops off the main lines and the northern waters. I have an urge to get to the end of the Cannock Extension Canal just to see if I can burrow my way through to the Road Chef motorway services for a Costa Coffee. Being rather sad individuals we have already done a BCN virtual cruise courtesy of Google Earth and it looks absolutely fascinating, simply bursting with interest.

As we’ll be looking to cover a fair amount of ground, I’m also hoping that friend A will join us again – a third body will definitely come in useful as there’ll be lots of locking up and down, no doubt a few long days at the tiller to get to our preferred destination, the extra weight might come in useful if we need pulling out from a bridgehole, and generally I think we’ll just benefit from having an extra pair of everything. It’s too early to do any formal planning but I’d certainly be eager to hear from anyone with suggestions as to good overnight mooring spots, handy facilities, must sees, etc. Most people seem to be concerned with finding a safe mooring spot, understandably. The things is, I’m not so sure I really believe in the concept of a safe spot. Experience should tell us that anything can happen anywhere and nothing can happen everywhere. Maybe your odds worsen if you moor up in a ‘dodgy’ area but I’ve found that bad things tend to be fairly indiscriminate in their choice of timing, location and victim. I will, of course, be mounting a 20mm cannon on the front of the boat....

P.S. Why did they do away with the BCN Challenge? (This link will give you the idea) It was something I’d always dreamed of doing in our own boat but they pulled it just as we were ready to compete. Such a shame – perhaps we can create our own points scoring table and then share it with any other lunatics, er, sorry... intrepid boaters who want to have a crack?


Adam said...

Us too! And inspired by Indigo Dreaming and some posts on the Canal World Forum, we've changed the plan for our September fortnight.

We were planning the Avon Ring but instead of coming back down the Lapworth flight going into Birmingham and doing Farmer's Bridge (one of my favourites), then Ashted, Camp Hill, and Knowle (all new territory).

Now we think we'll stay on the Severn to Stourport so we can go up the Stourbridge 16, through Merry Hill, Windmill End, and the Netherton Tunnel, to get to Birmingham.

With the start and finish at Stockton, this makes 171 miles and 212 locks in a fortnight, which should keep us busy!

Anonymous said...

Ah, that explains why I couldn't find the BCN challenge mentioned in any of this year's events. I always fancied doing it but at the time we we didn't have a boat! I think the competitive aspect would appeal to Richard; I just liked the sound of being in company through the rougher areas! Not sure how much more of the BCN we'll do this year - Lou is banned from all walks for a fortnight so that'll put a crimp in our cruising!
Sue, Indigo Dream

Dogsontour said...

Sue, the rougher areas are where I'm thankful for Monty. He can sniff a wrong 'un at thirty paces and he's got a wicked bark! He's also huge and wolf-like so I don't think anyone would tangle with us.

Adam, I am so jealous. We did the Stourport - Stourbridge - Merry Hill thing 3 years ago and had an absolute ball. You did say a fortnight? Mmm, you have got it bad haven't you?!