19 October 2008

floating your boat

Under the Broad Street Bridge / Birmingham, United Kingdom
Yesterday was a beautiful day for walking the extensive waterway canal systems within Birmingham. This is a section of the canal passing through Brindleyplace known as Gas Light Basin where the Worcester and Birmingham Canal meets the BCN Main Line. These narrowboats just completed a series of canal locks (13 in total) spanning a short one mile distance through the city centre - each lock still operated by the boat owner much as they were in the 18th & 19th centuries - requiring strong legs and a powerful body to move the lock gates open and closed. During the 1990s much of the area around the basin was redeveloped and older buildings refurbished. Today, the canals serve leisure travelers navigating the waters in long narrow canal boats, many of original design, where they can travel directly through downtown Birmingham, mooring canal side for a stop in one of the many pubs and restaurants that are located on water's edge between Brindleyplace and the Mailbox. The towpaths, like those in the photo, also make for wonderful scenic walking paths quickly moving from urban downtown to decrepit industrial wastelands to open greenways.

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