Aha, we thought, a waterborne coal man - how apt is that when you remember that coal was one of the cargoes carried on the waterway when it was first built! Indeed, according to some sources the canal was created specifically to transport coal from the midlands coalfields to the city of Coventry where it fuelled homes and industry.
Work on the waterway began in December 1768, after the Coventry Canal Company was established earlier in the year. The scheme had to be approved by an Act of Parliament, and the great engineer James Brindley was taken on to oversee the project. But the following year he was replaced by Thomas Yeoman because there was no money left to take the waterway beyond Atherstone - less than halfway to the planned destination at Fradley (near Lichfield), where it was to join the Trent and Mersey Canal.
|I love looking at the boats moored by Tamworth Cruising Club.|
|I couldn't resist trying to snap a picture of a bridge |
and the bank reflected in the water.
|And another reflection. Isn't this beautiful? Scenes like this always lift my spirits.|
|This is the aqueduct at Fazeley, where the canal crosses the River Tame. It always feels a little unsafe perched up there on the towpath which runs alongside the canal, looking down at the river through the the old iron railings, and it seems very bizarre, to be standing by water, and looking down at water.|
In the 19th Century, of course, canals lost out to the railways which provide fast, cheap freight transport, and in the 29th Century trains were supersededby road haulage.
|We were going to walk a little further, but as the viaduct ended the light began |
to fade (it was mid-afternoon when we set out) so we turned and headed for home.