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Legging difficult in Wast Hills tunnel.

IT was interesting to read about my local canal system in the interesting article headlined 'Discover Brum's Hidden Gems' - but I think the details about Wast Hills canal tunnel were not quite correct.

It was stated that 'before motorisation of the canal boat, travellers would have pushed their way down by walking their feet along the tunnel walls' - but in my view "legging", as it was known, would have been difficult if not impossible in Wast Hills tunnel, as the tunnel is too wide (wide enough for two boats to pass easily), and too high to enable boats to be "legged" through.

Instead, the bargees would have "poled" their boats through, pushing against the brickwork of the tunnel with purpose-built poles.

From around 1870 onwards, steam tugs and later diesel tugs, were used to pull the barges through the tunnel, before barges themselves became motorised.

On the Kings Norton end of the tunnel a mooring area can be seen, where boats would wait for a steam tug to become available. They would be pulled through the tunnel while their horses were taken over the top of the tunnel to the other end.

Rob Houghton, Kings Norton

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Feb 15, 2018
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