Narrowboat AREandARE

From the 2009 & 2010 tantalising tales, traumas and stunning photographs of Barry (photographer) and Sandra (writer) from New Zealand aboard NB 'Northern Pride', to the stories of their 2013 return journey, purchase of 'AREandARE', progress on sustaining their live aboard continuous cruiser lifestyle, and Barry's quest to gain residency and 'Indefinite Leave to Remain' in UK ...

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Into the Black Country

Barry arose early once again and had another walk around the basin, though this time he got caught in the rain ...


 P1210526 The 'Away Group' of narrowboats - 'Away 2 Dine', 'Away 2 Cruise' and the 'Away Service Boat'


Plenty of colour around and opportunities to experience life afloat


An impressive statue opposite 'The Cube'


A shot from our mooring - very grey but strangely tranquil


 Our mooring in Gas Street Basin - alongside the now closed-down 'James Brindley' pub, such a shame

Continuing our rendezvousing with friends, we had lunch with Karen, who I went to school with from the age of five to sixteen - we were in a group of girls always getting into some sort of mischief!  I can hear those who know me thinking how that somehow doesn't surprise them ...

P1210603 Karen and Sandra at the Brasshouse

We left Birmingham shortly after lunch, travelling through a sea of derelict industrial sites, the canal becoming darker as we approached The Black Country, so named as it was the most industrialised county in the nation, lying over the thickest coal seam in Britain with clouds of black smoke emitting from the burning coal.


Fortunately, prior to starting our journey, Barry checked the weed hatch and found this mangled mess

P1210632 Passing through the stylish canalside apartments at Ladywood Junction


This shot is for John and Diane of the inside of 'The Roundhouse Building' - sadly the best I could get

P1210644 Two of many abandoned working boats along the Icknield Loop


The imposing Winson Green Prison - not a place to stay around for long

P1210669Goslings in abundance - along with their very attentive parents


Beautiful old aqueduct straddling the Birmingham 'New Main Line Canal' at Sandwell



Up the three Smethwick locks and past the aqueduct turnoff to the Galton Valley Centre ...

P1210691...  then through the short 'Summit Tunnel'...

P1210703... and under the mighty M5 motorway ...

P1210716... which wants to completely dominate the poor canal 


We then traversed the 'New Main Line' canal on another aqueduct ...

P1210730... but still couldn't quite escape the motorway

P1210747 At last - peace and quiet - the water became so clear on this stretch we could see shoals of fish swimming about


Sophie and Mikey take control



The entrance to the Netherton Tunnel seen from the aqueduct

P1210778 Our mooring for the night at Dudley Port - it looked as though we were the only boat to have moored here for some time, judging by the seemingly undisturbed waterlillies

On Wednesday we're planning a visit to The Black Country Museum which I last visited when my youngest daughter was just a toddler.


  1. The Away Group is aboiut to add a day trip boat to their fleet. We passed it a few days ago as it was making its way up the Birmingham and Worcester Canal with paintpots everywhere and a half painted name on the side.
    Where and when on Sunday - you name the place and we will pick you up.

  2. Sandra - lovely to be able to keep up with your travels again via the blog and see Barry's fantastic photos. Lovely shot of you and Karen together - where have all the years gone eh?!

  3. Believe it or not we moored there (Dudley Port/Tividale) on our boat Emma Jane only a couple of days before you did!! It was only a brief stop as I have a friend who lives just round the corner! In fact we walk around there quite a lot and I've never seen any boats moored there at all! It would appear that you were following us about 2 days behind as we headed to Wolverhampton, Penkridge, Great Haywood and Fradley before we set off back to Birmingham!