Ashted Lock 4

Ashted Lock 4

I was photographing the area around Ashted locks for an article on their regeneration as part of the expanding Birmingham City University’s move to this area, referred to as Eastside. This is a developing area and the vision for Eastside is to create a quarter supporting learning, technology and science.

Theses are not the prettiest of locks at the moment running through an old industrial and warehousing area once thriving but now flattened and adorned (?) by graffiti. But new life is on the way for them with university buildings and student accommodation due to surround them and to include a cosmetic makeover of the waterway.

I had been to the area a week ago for 3 hours and not a single boat broke the peace. I thought today would be the same but suddenly nb Marpessa 2 emerged from the gloom of Ashted tunnel and entered lock 2.

Nb Marpessa 2 is the home of Emma and Nick and their do Murky. Originally from London they now are genuinely full-time cruisers in all seasons, come rain or shine. It seems that they, like me, are ever fascinated to discover what lies around the next bend and so need to keep cruising. They have tried marina life but found it limited there need to wander and explore.

They have recently braved the Liverpool Link canal and the depths of Manchester. Their route through Birmingham took them passed my home near Brindleyplace and down the 13 Farmer’s Bridge Locks at the start of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal before taking a right onto the Digbeth Branch Canal and the Ashted Locks.

Nick had been most impressed with the buildings they passed in Birmingham both new and old – good to hear!

Emma was at the helm initially while Nick expertly used lock filling time to prepare the locks ahead. Curious, I asked Emma if and how they shared the lock handling – 80/20 said Emma meaning Nick/Emma. Whatever and whoever, the locks were navigated well and after descending lock 5 they disappeared under the dark, curved and long railway bridge which will eventually carry the HS2 into the Birmingham terminus leaving me to continue with my documentary photography.

An enjoyable and unexpected meeting!

Below are some photos I took during our meeting.

PS Emma runs an interesting blog – worth a look.

(How to Get the Most Out Of the Photos.)