Drove up to Alvechurch, no problems on M5 or M42, and according to the trip computer the car was doing 35 MPG, not bad for a '99 Vauxhall Omega 2.5 v6. Mind you I kept the speed down to 60 most of the way. Arrived at Alvechurch in plenty of time, too early in fact, as TQ hadn't been refuelled from the previous user, and we had to wait for Mr. Tesco to deliver our groceries. After all that was done and we'd loaded up our gear we headed for the Crown Inn 1/4 mile up the cut from the boatyard. No food served on Sundays so a quick pint and back to TQ for a sandwich. Next stop was Hopwood and the Hopwood House Inn has looked inviting on previous trips so we thought we'd give it a go. Big disappointment. It was a "two meals for a tenner" offer. We had Rotisserie Chicken with carrots, boiled in their jackets potatoes and cabbage. The veg looked and tasted like it had been reheated mor than once, and the chicken was tough and borderline cooked, and not overly hot either. I thought I might get a jippy guts in the night but I was OK.
This is where the change of plan comes in. We thought why go down to Lapworth, OK its countryside, but we can't go any further as the locks are closed for maintainance. So we've decided to go straight to Birmingham, stay the night near Gas Street Basin, then head off up the Main Line and take a detour through the Netherton Tunnel, and stop in the moorings at Merry Hill. We've never been there before so its a bit of new water for us. Then we'll come back through the tunnel to the junction with the Main Line and turn left to Factory Locks and left again and stop at the Black Country Living Museum. This time we've got to have some fish and chips. We missed out last time we were there.
Our current mooring - near Gas Street Basin...
...opposite Symphony Court
Looking back in the distance is the junction with Ozzels Loop, and further back is Old Turn Junction. The NIA (not in the photo) is right here.