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Saturday, 18 March 2017

There and back to see how far it is.

The day was set to be fair so we decided to go on a short there and back cruise. The destination was set as Merry Hill, not for the shopping  particularly but for a visit to The Vine, brewery tap of Batham's Brewery.

A lovely sunny day for a picture of Bumble Hole Lake right next to our nights moorings. Last night was particularly clear with Orin almost overhead and an extremely bright Venus just setting. A large moon just rising before we turned in. It is an old clay pit that now serves as a nature reserve as well as a storm water surge reservoir.

A very clear view as we look back through Fox and Goose Bridge.

Amy at the helm as we pass the old Lloyds Proving House. Netherton was famous for the fabrication of anchors and their chains. They were brought her for proof testing and certification before going off to the ship yards.

Looking up the Park Head Locks and the disused railway line towards the southern entrance to the Dudley Canal Tunnel. I must moor up up here one day, and I keep meaning to get the boat guaged to see if she will go through the Dudley Tunnel. I'm pretty sure we wont fit though.

Amy enjoying the sun as she waits for the lock at Blowers Green. Fortunately the cement works was not at full blast as it is not quite so pleasant with dust and noise blowing all over you.

On the left is the old entrance to the old Two Locks Line that cut out the loop round via Park Head Junction. Dudley Canal No. 2 heads off to the right, under the more mundane bridge.

Almost all the visitor berths at the Waterfront were take, just room for us to slide in. We had a bite to eat and then set off down the Black Delph Locks and up the road to the Vines. The brewery is just behind. They were doing a roaring trade in lunches but we settled for  a quick drink. I really like Batham's Bitter, but was very good and just had the one before heading off to Asda at Merry Hill Centre to buy our tea. We settled on a curry in a box, two different curries, rice, onion bhajis and two nanns, all for £4. I was a little dismayed to see that the chicken and come from Thailand, but otherwise went down a treat.

On our return to the boat we set off to retrace our steps. Here we are approaching  Brewin's 'Tunnel'. He was the superintendent when the original canal was dug and when they came across the very hard Dolerite rock they had to tunnel through it. When techniques had been improved, by 1856 it was decided to remove the bottleneck of a tunnel by opening it out. It seemed to have taken two years as 1856/58 is inscribed on the key stone on the high bridge.

Lodge Farm Reservoir is an old clay pit that was later flooded to keep the canal topped up. However it is not used for this now and is used for water skiing, as can be seen by the jump ramps that are moored there.

The Dudley Canals in their day would have been extremely busy as industry was everywhere on both banks. there are still signs of this activity with disused railway bridges, basin and little bridges like the one above. However these days you could be forgiven for thinking that you are in a much more rural
The tower of St. Andrew's Church at Netherton adds to the rural theme as it seems that it is in view for the entire journey along the Dudley No.2 canal as the canal contours round it's hill.

Wew were back to our berth in good time and so was able to do a few little jobs, like replacing draft proofing on the front doors and cut new deck mats to size before setting down to our curry and watching a bit of TV before turning in.

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