Friday, 3 August 2012


Two nights at Merry Hill and the only night noise was the traffic when the cinema kicked out about 2230, after that peace reigned. Actually quite pleasant moorings and Sainsbury's is just down the slope. So, with victuals topped up and a modicum of spiritous liqours loaded aboard, this morning we set off for the Second City. The current route takes you via Blowers Green Junction. As you come out of the lock here, incidently the deepest on the B.C.N. at twelve feet,

the three Parkhead Locks are directly ahead, taking you up to Dudley Tunnel, unnavigable by powered craft, if you have a desire to leg through you could try to book a passage, don't fancy it myself, too much like hard work. Sharp right, next to the old pumphouse there is a waterpoint and the usual facilities, handy.

A little further along you pass what was the junction with the Two Locks Line, originally a cut through avoiding the junction, long since closed because of mining subsidence. It's all a bit shallow along here but pleasantly green, the industry long gone.
As you approach Windmill End you pass the entrance to the Bumblehole Branch,

just beyond there are some nice moorings although last time we moored here the grass was covered in Canada geese and you know what a mess they can make.

No change here then. As an aside, the Dry Dock Inn is currently closed and boarded up.
At Windmill End Junction

 the Dudley Number 2 Canal goes off to the right towards Hawne Basin,

the Boshboil Branch (Wonderful name) goes left,

but we went straight on, passing Cobb's Engine House

on the hill above. It was originally home to a Newcomen Engine that cleared the water, up to 1,600,000 litres daily, from the local mines. It was de-commissioned in 1928 and the engine was dismantled and went to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.
Then loomed the portals of Netherton Tunnel,

the last canal tunnel to be built in Britain and at 3,027 yards one of the longest. It is high wide and handsome with a towpath on both sides and was originally gas lit. We tootled through and were soon out on the Birmingham side of the Rowley Hills

and under Tividale Aqueduct which carries the Old Main Line over the tunnel branch. It's only a few yards then to Dudley Port Junction and a right turn onto the New Main Line.

It's then a straight run, passing various junctions,

and don't you just love

Pudding Green Junction?
Long lost side arms

and numerous bridges,

this one wins my prize for ugliness and next

the Galton Bridge first prize for sheer elegance, shame the trees obscure it.
I think I've waffled on long enough for one day; I shall just say that we have arrived safely in Brum,

Watch this space................

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