Birmingham Canal Stroll: Bordesley Junction to Bordesley Junction

When the weather is fine,
You know it’s the time,
For messing about on the… canal

It’s another gorgeous day, so I’ve decided to go for another stroll along the canals of Birmingham. I will be starting at the same place as yesterday, Bordesley Station (bottom right hand corner of the map below) then anticlockwise around the canal triangle.

At least that’s the plan… my bus from Coventry is already late and has now dropped off the scheduled departures board.

Ooh! Just arrived. Should be there in about an hour.

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And we’re off! I’m planning on taking little snapshots of life as I have my stroll. I don’t have a blog, so I hope no one minds me taking up this little corner of the forum with photos and observations (which may or may not include puns)

Just spotted one of those test cars that have the mad colour scheme to make it harder to photograph. I tell you what also makes it tricky… being on the top deck of a bus as it bounces over potholes!

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Yesterday, when I came on this bus route, I noticed this sculpture just outside Birmingham International Airport.

The style looked very much like a sculpture on a bridge I regularly pass on my walks along Coventry Canal, near Hawkesbury Junction


(Source More details about the artwork in the Art Trail | Coventry Canal Society )

I had a look, and it turns out they were both the creation of Walenty Pytel, a Polish artist famed for his metal bird sculptures. The one on the canal is Wings Over Water, made back on 2000. The one at the airport is called Take Off, and was designed in 1985 to celebrate 40 years of peace in Europe. As today is all about me relaxing, I won’t be making any satirical comments here…

You can read more about Pytel’s work here:


Well, it’s 10.40 now…

…so with all the bus stops it means I should be there by 11.


And so it begins…

That bridge marks the start of the triangle.

To the right is the route I am taking today; I went to the left yesterday

If you look carefully, you might just see Abbott and Costello opposite the narrow boat that I photographed yesterday

I have no idea if anyone is following this, but I get the feeling I am being watched…

I’ll be referring a bit to yesterday’s walk. If you haven’t already seen it, it’s here:

The sense of peace is still just as prevalent as yesterday, but the environment is so different. Whereas yesterday it felt more like walking through the open countryside (or through caverns when passing under The Jewellery Quarter), today is more jungle. A mix of concrete jungle and walls of trees.

Every now and then, you’ll stumble across signs of life…

…like as if you’re an explorer deep in the amazon, discovering lost tribes.

…not to be confused with being carried around by an Irish singer, which is Living Life on The Edge

I think I’ve left the jungle now…

All around here are examples of the modern living next door to the abandoned; a forgotten and neglected history rubbing shoulders with the contemporary.

When did these examples of our industrial revolution fall victim to modernisation or recession? Will it happen again?

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The canals themselves are an example of rapid obsolescence, only in recent decades being restored for holidaymakers to enjoy narrow boat vacations.

They were built at the start of the Industrial Revolution to allow the mass transit of goods, such as coal, steel, flour and anything else you wanted sending to other parts of the country.

And for a while, these truly were the motorways of the country. Until the train came along.

The train had many advantages over canal barges. Speed, amount that could be carried, and could cope with minor slopes without the need for a lock to get the barge to a different height.

There was much rivalry between canal and railway builders, to the point that sabotage often happened whenever bridges were built over canals.

But ultimately, the trains won.

Oh, that’s annoying.

I am still walking by the side of the canal…

…but it is far from peaceful

Looks like building and repair work is going on. Hopefully just that short stretch so I can rejoin at the next bridge.

Looks like resurfacing of the towpath

In any case, the way ahead is clear!

I can hear a lot of white noise that is traffic, but it is still not enough to disturb the peace.

Which is not bad, when you consider just on the other side of the trees is the M6, one of the busiest motorways in the country.

Can you see it yet?

How about now?

Welcome to Salford Junction, once one of the busiest canal junctions in the country, underneath Spaghetti Junction which today has that honour (if you replace canal with motorway)

We approach on the Grand Union Canal on the viaduct as it passes over the River Tame.

Just to the right is the Grand Union Canal, and straight ahead is the Coventry Canal.


Straight ahead is the Tame Valley Canal, and to the left is the Birmingham Fazeley Canal, which I will be heading on. This joins up with the Birmingham Main Line Canal.

Here are a few other shots from this very quiet place

Finally, the viaduct out of this place, as one thing these photos don’t show IS ANYWHERE TO SIT AND EAT AND I’M STARVING!

Finally, I find somewhere I can sit down…

Never mind.