Birmingham Canal Stroll: Bordesley Junction to Bordesley Junction

This’ll do

Not the best view though, but I’m hungry!

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Definitely not in the countryside now.

But on the other side…

…close enough!

It’s gri…err… green up North.
(Is Birmingham considered in The North? Apologies - as an Aussie, I’m liable to place the entire British Isles in that category :-)).

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Whilst the Grand Union stretch I did earlier put me in mind of a jungle, this is much more like where the countryside meets the town.

Oh, and unlike the rest of the peaceful walk I’ve had, even under the busy motorway…

…that vent is really loud!

Every now and then I’ll pass a place where modern architecture has been built with the canal in mind, and it gives me hope for the future of the canals.

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The lovely thing about canals is how flat it is.

Except when you have a load of locks. Then you have the hills!

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One of the main roads that branches from Spaghetti Junction is the A38(M) Aston Expressway. Here is the end of it, as it passes over the canal.

Which leads to another example of underground locks…

Aston Lock #1, which means I am about to enter the home stretch…

If I were to turn right after the Lock, I would be following this path…

…which would take me towards the Jewellery Quarter, which I did yesterday. Instead, I’m going to the left, along the third side of the canal triangle.

My cousin and his wife are currently in London. They come home in October but probably next year they’re moving back for an extended stay for his job.

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More locks… but this time it’s downhill!

Yeah right now they’re just sightseeing and such.

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I was going to take more pics, but a bike started following me and there’s no room to pass!

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Those tunnels are scary!

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More spookiness, as the canal passes under the railway line at Curzon Street Tunnel.

Not particularly visible are those in the tunnel that are smoking something that doesn’t smell like tobacco…

I hope you know some ninja moves, just in case monsters appear! Trolls live under bridges, you know!


If I were to go straight on, I’d end up at the basin where I believe the old Typhoo Tea factory used to be.

But I’m not, I’m turning left where I will see what is possibly the oddest lock gate set up you’ll ever see.

Locks with no change in height? Surely not!

There is a reason, and I’ll explain why in the next post…

Nowadays, all canals are maintained by the Canal and River Trust. But when they were originally built they were owned by different companies who would charge users, and use the money to keep the canals full of water.

Pumping water is expensive, and you don’t want your water to be used to fill up someone else’s canal.

Where I am is what was once the boundary between two canal companies. The canals are at equal height, so there would be no need for a lock. But instead two sets of gates have been put in place to stop the water from one flowing continuously from one to the other.

Nowadays the gates are held open.

Observant ones might have noticed what appears to be a route to the right of these gates. It isn’t overly clear from the photos, but the water there is only an inch deep. It acts as a weir, as water flow between the two sides is still essential otherwise you would get flooding on one side when the gates were shut and you got heavy rain
But the weir gives limited flow, which still saved the old canal companies from wasting water.

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Crossing the River Rea

These sorts of things were once common sights on the canal, used for loading and unloading of goods.

Many such structures have fallen into ruin, but some, like the Icehouse on the Digbeth Canal, are being restored, along with the wharf it sits beside.