Thursday, 30 July 2015

Aston to Gas street, Birmingham

Overnight we moored after lock 9 in the Aston flight, rings not spaced well for a 57ft boat so couldn't get back tied on. On plus side it is on opposite side to tow path and is mainly an office complex (Aston cross business park) with security patrolling. Even better was the tip from fellow boater that there was a little shop open till 5:30 just round the corner from mooring. Very nice lady in shop told me it was extra safe overnight. Missus was pleased cos she hadn't wanted to go any further.
Set off at 8:30 but just behind hirers on Leo II. Not a good start as we grounded by the bollards before the bridge at lock 8. The wife tried to push back off with the pole but had to ask a very kind jogger to help. He got us off the ledge and on our way. Brummies are generally pretty helpful we found.
Followed Leo II up the flight and they kindly helped by emptying next lock ahead we paid their favour back later on Farmers bridge locks more of which later. We made it to the top of Aston flight by around 10am so pretty good going by all. Turned right heading for next locks and the heavens opened. Had to get umbrellas and waterproofs out but got a proper soaking before we even got to the bottom of the flight. Still following the hirers. Think it was at lock 11 as you go under a building that we helped them negotiate a cross wind that was pushing the boat across into a concrete support to the left of the lock. Had to hold their centre line to keep them over. Then had to do same for our own entry to the lock. Tricky flight to pass other boats so we were pleased it was pretty quiet. As we came out of lock 8 we met another boat and a volunteer lock helper. Just about room to pass but a short approach to the lock meant a couple of knocks. From there we made it to lock 2 before we encountered another boat heading down. All of these locks have one gate at top and bottom pros and cons to this as they are pretty heavy. Also the ground paddles are for midgets not good for the knees.

 Still a bit of team work meant we made it to the top of the flight by around 12:15. 

Leo II  had left a windlass at the top lock but we managed to catch them and hand it back. They moored immediately before the Old turn junction two good spaces with rings. In hindsight we could have moored here nicely. Instead we turned left and headed past the Sea life centre and on to Brindley Place. No free moorings here as they are all marked up for the many day trip boats that operate. Gas street basin is not for visitors either it seems so it was on to mornings opposite the Premier inn before the Mailbox. We will have to head down to the Mailbox and turn when we leave.
All those locks in the rain left us tired so we headed out for a bite to eat and a beer for me. 

Then it was curry time and we visited Pushkar, not cheap but very good quality.

We also met up with daughter no. 1 who had a day trip from nottingham. We lunch ate in Browns near the Bullring - not enjoyable which was unusual for Browns.  Dinner was at the tapas place, Bar Estilo in the Mailbox, that was lovely.  Tomorrow it's pull rings and off to Dudley way.

Where we moored, we are just in front of boat in the picture.