Birmingham through Barry’s lens – having a walkabout

Here’s the second part of Barry’s Birmingham images from a few weeks ago, while I was away at my parents, including some spectacular shots – not least of which are of my lovely friend Alison and her husband Paul. They met serendipitously for the second time this year, and enjoyed a drink or two together. Paul apparently remarked that he’s wondering if Barry’s keeping me in a cupboard somewhere, as every time they see him I’m nowhere to be found!


Paul and Alison soaking up the sunshine

This was also the first time Barry’s ventured inside The Cube, an imposing and unusual building towering above Gas Street Basin and The Mailbox in Birmingham. He’s really captured some of it’s magnificence I believe …


Barry’s first visit inside The Cube … looking up


Looking down …


Looking out …


and there’s Areandare! The view from Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill on the top floor


The three-point roundabout – Old Turn – taking you either to Brindley Place and Gas Street Basin, Farmer’s Locks or the Birmingham Main Line


Why are there seagulls in Birmingham? Obviously for the plentitude of fish!


It may be in the middle of Britain’s second city, but it’s still a splendid spot – and the brand new Birmingham Library is in the background looking stunning



Gas Street Basin and Broad Street Tunnel


A colourful collection of narrowboats


An iconic canal-side pub


Look at the rudder on that! Actually, it’s called an ‘elm of a nutty, Barry thinks, please feel free to correct him/us (revised after comments – the ‘ellum of a butty, don’t you just love the automatic spell changer! …



Mathew Bolton, James Watt and William Murdoch founders of the Industrial Revolution, now overshadowed by the magnificent library …


… the statue is a memorial to the ‘Lunar Society‘, “… a dinner club and informal learned society of prominent figures in the Midlands Enlightenment, including industrialists, natural philosophers and intellectuals who met regularly between 1765 and 1813 in Birmingham, England” – they met monthly on the night of the full moon, so they could see their way home!


Brindley Place


Leaving Birmingham again, the Engine Arm Aqueduct


Smethwick Galton Bridge – Sandra’s been over this numerous times by train this year!


The M5 crosses the new Main Line canal, with the Old Main Line crossing by aqueduct

We’ll be leaving Birmingham today, with 18 locks to descend to get to Digbeth for The Bond Autumn Market on Saturday. We’ve caught up with Andrew Denney, aka Granny Buttons, a couple of times – and yes even remembered to take a photo! I’ll keep that and a few snippets about our time in Birmingham this time, for our next post.

This one is for savouring the shots …


Through Barry’s extraordinary eyes – from Stone to Birmingham

These photos are way overdue to be published! Barry’s been so caught up with The Home Brew Boat that I have to keep nagging (me, nag?!) him to give me some of his fabulous photos!

It’s always worthwhile though, and these are no exception.

I’ve divided them into two posts for your delectation and delight …


Ray Oakhill, from NB Stronghold, who’s been an amazing support to us both since we began our narrow boating adventures in 2009. I finally met him in person in Stone recently


Love this shot of you Ray, looking pensive 😉


We’ll catch up again, don’t know where, don’t know when …


Great Haywood Junction


Tixall Wide


Tixall Wide from the other side!


Looking back around halfway up the Wolverhampton 21


BCN Old Line, cruising along under the madness of vehicles above on the motorway


Hoping the sheer volume of traffic isn’t going to collapse the structure …


Old and new, small and massive – which do you prefer? We’ll stick with the slow lane 😉


It’s unlikely you’ve spotted these locks to the new main line from the motorway!


Such a stark contrast all the way along this section


Four different bridge arches all lined up


Shutting the gate at one of the Smethwick locks


Now that’s a sight we’ve not seen before – speed boating on the cut!


Industrialisation around Soho, coming into Birmingham


Colourful graffiti


Approaching the city centre – the centre of an old bridge is all that’s left


The other side of the bridge centre – and is that a tram we can see?


Barry wonders if this is the only four-way cross road/canal on the system? It’s Icknield Port Loop and Soho Loop cross the Main line of the BCN


Approaching the thriving and beating heart of the canal network – Sherbourne Wharf to the right


Gas Street Basin on a buzzing Saturday evening – hen parties passing as they sing and dance frivolously

It’s fitting that this evening we’re moored up in the centre of Birmingham once again, some weeks after these shots …

Next door to Granny Buttons in Birmingham

After a longer-than-average stay at Merry Hill, we began our journey towards The Bond in Digbeth, in readiness for our last planned festival of 2014 at their Autumn Market on Saturday.

The morning of our departure a howling gale blew up and unfortunately found the strength to whip ‘The Home Brew Boat’ banner out of it’s flagpole holders! Luckily the banner itself landed on the towpath, however the holders were nowhere to be seen having been ripped out of their screws. The most likely hiding place is down in the depths of the canal – hopefully we’ll manage to find some replacements before Saturday …

Shortly before leaving, Barry got a distress shout from GUCCCo nb Sagitta, the Dudley Canal Trust’s historic working boat. They were on their way back from the Stourbridge weekend, and had broken down with what they suspected was a faulty fuel pump. We happily towed them a short way to a safe mooring at the industrial park of Merry Hill. We hope they got things sorted and were able to move again.


Towing nb Saggita

Last night was spent at Parkhead, on junction of the Dudley No 1 and No2 canals, and today we’ve continued into Birmingham where we were thrilled to sneak in beside Andrew Denney’s narrowboat ‘Granny Buttons’. He’ll be home this evening, so we’re hoping he’ll pop in for a chat and a catch up.

We may even remember to take a photo this time …