There are several routes available for our run from Tipton to Birmingham City Centre all involving three locks. If we stay on the original line build by James Brindley we can descend to the lower level via Smethwick locks or The Brades: If we descend to the new main line built by Thomas Telford we would drop down the Factory locks we climbed yesterday. We plump for The Brades: a single and a staircase.
Whilst waiting at the top of the staircase for she who must be obeyed to prepare it I noticed that there must have been a roller on the bridge to protect it from wear from the tow ropes in the days when horses toed the barges. Towards the bottom there is evidence of wear on the structure which must have occurred after the roller disappeared.
We moored near the top of Farmers' Bridge locks and just behind the hotel boats Oak and Ash.
I was discussing recently the old wives' rhyme:
If the oak sprouts before the ash we will have a splash
If the ash sprouts before the oak we will have a soakThis year the oak sprouted first so the drought may continue.