There haven't been many Kingfisher sightings on this trip but the most unlikely and definitely the best was yesterday as Wren travelled north through Birmingham. In an area of derelict factories, wire fences and walls of graffiti there was a rapid flash of iridescent blue between a couple of straggly bushes. What a wonderful surprise!
The journey from rural Warwickshire through a deep wooded cutting near Solihull and into the south of the city at Bordesley Green was pretty quiet apart from the occasional roar of traffic (M42) and trains. The canal guidebook warned that moorings were few and far between although it did mention that there were some available at Star City in Nechells - anyone who has driven, or, more likely queued on the M6 will have seen Star City - described as a massive "pleasure dome of Kubla Khan proportions" in the guidebook. The said moorings were safe and secure and shared with some very friendly boaters. They were also surprisingly pleasant considering how close they were to the famous Spaghetti Junction. The crew did a quick tour around Star City and can report that it is filled with restaurants, fast food outlets and a 29 screen cinema and everyone, apart from the boaters, travels there by car. A bit surreal to say the least particularly for someone who has been travelling at 4mph for the last six weeks!
After a peaceful night Wren chugged just a couple of hundred yards to Salford Junction where the Saltley Cut meets the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal and where the massive concrete pillars that support the motorway mark out the route. The canal then moved relatively quickly from the industrial to residential before becoming pleasantly rural once again with ripening corn and real cows. The Birmingham and Fazeley Canal was surprisingly good in every way and it carried Wren and her crew to the junction at Fazeley, a suburb of Tamworth, to meet the Coventry Canal which would,in turn, take Wren to meet the Trent and Mersey at Fradley Junction.
Wren passed through Fazeley and Fradley on her southbound journey about six weeks ago with Steve, Debbie, Doug and Jenny on board so tomorrow she'll be retracing that journey although it will all be new territory for the present crew.