Saturday, 13 March 2010

Hawne Basin

0 Locks, 3.17 Miles, 1 Tunnel. Now moored at Coombeswood Bridge.

We had been given good reports about the Dudley No2 canal to Hawne Basin so we thought that we should pay it a visit. After watering up at the visitor centre opposite our overnight mooring we set off in showery conditions. Just after turning onto this stretch of canal we were confronted with the remains of a toll island in the centre of the channel which apparently was also a colliery loading basin.The view to our right was over acres and acres of commercial building roof’s which did not really improve much anywhere along the 3 miles of canal.

There were the obvious signs of some of the old industries that gave life to this canal in the late 1800’s,early 1900’s but a lot of it has given way to modern trading estates and housing. The only large scale show of the past was the huge site of the Steel Tube works at the Coombeswood end of the Gosty Hill Tunnel. Some of the old industrial sites have supposedly been tidied up and given a make over but it wasn’t that obvious.

Upon reaching the entrance to Gosty Hill Tunnel (557yds x 7ft wide x 6ft high in places)  we were confronted by a sea of rubbish which gave us a few problems trying to enter the tunnel. Alongside the tunnel entrance was what appeared to be a wet dock which at some stage had been covered over. This turned out to be the housing for a tug which used to ply the tunnel pulling the horse drawn boats through while assumedly the horse walked over the hill.

Once inside the tunnel our problems didn’t end with the rubbish because for the first 200 yards we kept hitting large floating objects some of which effectively jammed us against the walls. Derek on Uccello also had the same problem and he had entered the tunnel probably 30 minutes ahead of us. A report has now been filed with BW West Midlands regarding this situation. We await their reply.

Hawne Basin 002 All that remains of a huge steel tube works on the Dudley No2 canal. Gosty Hill tunnel is in the bottom left hand corner.

We had been told that the resident’s of Hawne Basin would make us feel welcome upon arrival but we were politely told that no visitor moorings were available (probably the time of year) so we are now moored alongside a trading estate adjacent to the towpath. This is not the most endearing of blogs and we don’t want to deter others from venturing along this waterway but we are just telling it as we see it. We are told there are many walkways which may give a different picture to the story but after all this is still the heartland of industrial Britain.

Hawne Basin 005 End of navigation at Hawne Basin. Beyond here is the collapsed Lapal tunnel closed in 1917.

2110 locks, 4154.48 miles, 84 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 58 lift bridges since Nov 2006

No comments: