Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The long way around.

4 Locks, 8.46 Miles, 1 tunnel. Now moored at Merry Hill

Dudley 094 Now that’s an unusual sight, the two Derek’s doing the locking

With a plan to explore as much of the BCN as possible we wanted to travel further along the Dudley No1 canal to Merry Hill. Of course the shortest way (approx 3 Miles) is through the Dudley Tunnel but our boat profile doesn’t allow for this as the tunnel has a very low rounded profile. This tunnel is virtually one way traffic with passing bays.

Dudley 101 Tividale aqueduct over the Netherton branch of the BCN.

Only one thing for it  but to travel back to Tipton Junction and turn onto the Old Mainline. Here we crossed the Tividale Aqueduct over the Netherton branch which leads to the Netherton Tunnel. At Brades junction we turned left and went down through the 3 Brades locks onto the Gower branch. At the end of this we again turned left onto the New Mainline heading back in the direction from which we had just come.

Dudley 107 Netherton Tunnel. Being dead straight you can just see the far end.

Dudley Port Junction was another left turn taking us under the Tividale Aqueduct which we had crossed about an hour earlier. Talk about running round in circles. With the Netherton Tunnel being 3027 yards long we were again underground for a while but this tunnel is huge compared to the Dudley tunnel. The Netherton Tunnel is double width to allow boats to pass and has at least a 20’ headroom and surprisingly dead straight.

Dudley 103 Icicles inside the entrance to the Netherton Tunnel.

Once out of the tunnel we had about 3 miles before reaching Park Head Junction which is only 3 locks and perhaps less than a mile from the other end of the Dudley tunnel. We again turned left and went down through Blowers Green lock and onto the huge basin at The Waterfront near the Merry Hill shopping complex. We are surrounded by a very large modern shop/office/bar complex which has many unoccupied premises and looks a bit like a ghost town.

Dudley 110 Windmill End junction. Dudley No2 canal to Hawne Basin. On the left is the Boshboil loop now closed.

2109 locks, 4147.67 miles, 83 tunnels, 130 swing bridges and 58 lift bridges since Nov 2006

No comments: