And here we are in Walsall, after a remarkably pleasant and uneventful journey. We were in the middle of the convoy which left Brownhills at half past nine, with Richard Parry on the lead boat, Warbler. Being in the middle was definitely a good place to be; the boats in front found the problems first, and the ones bringing up the rear (after a diversion up the Cannock Extension) ran out of water.
Although it was shallow much of the way, and much of it litter strewn, mostly the surroundings were quite green - much of it former colliery land I would guess. The Walsall locks were not at all unpleasant - and, Jim reports, easy to work. I had trouble getting into a couple, which is odd, going downhill - I think there might have been rubbish stuck down the sides.
We are know tied up in Walsall Town Basin, having only got stuck on the bottom a little bit in the Town Arm. If the noise is anything to go by, Walsall is a vibrant and happening place. The gallery - which I am keen to visit - is closed until 10 am tomorrow. I had a quick look around the shops and the pedestrianised centre is certainly less depressed than I recall Walsall being from my last visit - although I suspect I was looking at a different part of it then.
About twenty boats were planning to make this trip; it's raining now so I shan't go out and count them, now that all but one have arrived.
Ah, the quiz. We came second to last, but with a quite respectable score of 88 out of 125, which is 70.4% and thus a First, which is fine by me. The winning team got 117 which is pretty amazing. There were an awful lot of BCN questions which I was no use with at all. All in all the Brownhills gathering felt fairly low key. This might have been something to do with the weather not being very conducive to sitting around outside, or the community centre being so far away, and even to it not being dog friendly. We're all shut away inside the hold again now as it spits with cold rain outside. I gave in this morning and lit the stove, so I will be boiling tonight and this is probably the last place I want to sleep with the slide open! The Basin is right in the centre of town, surrounded by eateries and bars. Mostly the people have been very friendly, and there was a lot of interest at Brownhills from passers by.
Location:Walsall Town Basin