Garrison Locks, Digbeth Branch and Farmers Bridge

After leaving the 13 locks of the Perry Barr flight, we came to Salford Junction, beneath the rather more famous Spaghetti Junction which dwarfs the old canal bridges beneath it, and joined the Birmingham and Warwick Junction Canal to start our climb back up to the Birmingham level. The first part of this was the 5 Garrison Locks.

After a right turn we found ourselves on the Digbeth Branch. We passed under the main West Coast railway line and soon encountered the six Ashted Locks.

The locks have single gates top and bottom which makes them easier to work but the bottom gate is often very heavy.

The approach to the top lock is through the narrow Ashted Tunnel, which does have a tow-path .........

..... but it opens out straight into the lock chamber. Boaters must make sure that there is no-one actually in the lock heading their way before entering the tunnel. Also, the flush of water from the emptying lock tends to drive the boat back out of the tunnel!

(The B&WJ and the Digbeth Branch are not actually part of the BCN but are included here for the purposes of our journey)

Out onto the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal we were faced with this view of the Telecom Tower and Barker Bridge.

The locks climb up through the City Centre. As they are very close together, the pounds in between open out alongside the lock making one side of each into a narrow island.

One of the locks is entombed in this dark cavern. Not a lot of headroom here.

Several of the pounds have bridges over the blocked entrances to long disused and obliterated basins.

Gerry Cork - October 2001
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