Friday, 21 September 2012

And were off...

Of course as soon as I had taken the tiller out of the cupboard down came the rain, not enough to worry us but just enough to gripe about.

Gap in the middle where we have been 

First step is to fill up with water. Not been to a water point for two and a half weeks! Deb collected about eighty litres in the two cans though during our stay. First load of washing was on whilst the tank was filling up. Not too far to go today though, we're really just moving this evening so we can get a better start in the morning. Our new mooring just for tonight is right in front of the 'Mail box'.

Early evening filling up 500L of water (took over an hour)

In front of the cube and the mail box

I was up and about quite early, there was no stirring Deb though. I was all dressed and ready to go when she finally woke up. We needed some milk so I popped to tesco's  and came back with coffee and bacon sarnie from a cafe in the mail box, not bad price at £2.95 each (and the coffee's were large)

The first leg of the journey was pleasant with the sun trying its best to make an appearance. This is the new navigation though (well new as in 1820's) and designed to be straight and functional, and a bit boring. Lots of really tall bridges though and a couple of aqueducts.


Rail bridge with station bridge behind

They could have built their motorway a bit further over

We were soon turning off towards the Netherton tunnel, all 3027 yds of it. Although the info sign says head height of 1.98m it must have been closer to double that. It also has a towpath down each side although I am not sure if I would like to walk through. I flicked the light off a couple of times just to get a feel of the darkness. There are frequent ventilation shafts which were spooky looking up into, and a bit wet!

Tunnel vent, oh and drip on the camera

Further than it looks, about an hour to get through

Hopefully they're for decoration 

An hour later we were out in the open in the very pretty Bumblehole. Sadly the pretty countryside didn't last for long and we were soon dodging half sunk shopping trolleys. We stopped for water at Park Head junction and descended a narrow but deep lock. Behind us and up through a couple of locks is the Dudley tunnel. Its slightly longer than the tunnel we went through and it is meant to be quite claustrophobic as well....oh and you can't use your engine, its either use the electric tug service or 'leg it' just as it would have been done 200 years ago.

Bumblehole junction

A couple of miles later saw us going down through a flight with our new friend John. He lives not too far away in Stourbridge and offers his help bringing boats down through the flight. He was rewarded with a big wedge of date and walnut loaf that I had made the day before.

First lock of many

Quite deep compared to what we're used to

Glad to have Johns help 

last one of the day

Canal planner suggested stopping just after the locks but neither of us were too keen so we continued to Leys Junction right at the top of a flight of 16 ready for tomorrow morning :-(

I should have asked John for his phone number!

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