Thursday 23rd September
We prepared to set off this morning but were immediately held up by the police. Someone had found a body in the canal and the police were dealing with the situation. They told us it would probably be about another hour.
It actually took a bit less and we were on our way again. Following the Birmingham Main Line, we decided to take a detour around Soho Loop, just because it is there. This is one of the remnants of the old Birmingham Main Line laid out by Brindley as a contour canal, and superseded by the more efficient New Main Line laid out by Telford. Several of these old loops are now used as mooring places for local boats. We were expecting the loop to be a bit dank and dirty but were pleasantly surprised to find there were many nice places on it, along with the usual derelict old industrial units. Rejoining the Main Line we continued along, passing under many bridges. At one point there are 5 bridges in quick succession, well 4 and one aqueduct, see pic. At Dudley Port Junction we turned right for the 3027 yds long Netherton Tunnel. I believe this was the last tunnel built on the canal network and was nearly shut permanently when BW said they couldn't afford to do repairs to keep it open. The boating community made a bit of a hue and cry and now I think it will stay open, but for how long no one knows. Our day finished at Merryhill where there are some very good moorings and we'll do some shopping tomorrow.
Yesterday we had a good relax, and a bit of retail therapy. The weather was poor anyway, so not moving was a good call.
This morning we had to reverse a bit in order to get to the facilities block. While manoeuvring our propeller picked up a right load of rubbish and I spent ½ an hour in the weed hatch cutting it all off.
After that we started the descent of Delph Locks. There are 8 locks in the flight, but once upon a time there must have been 9 because the bridge at the beginning is called nine locks bridge and the pub at the bottom is called The Tenth Lock. Another 2 miles and we arrived at Leys Junction and turned onto the Stourbridge Canal. Straight into Stourbridge Locks, a flight of 16 locks and a drop of 145 ft. We have only come down 12 of them and are moored up outside Redhouse Cone a Stuart Crystal glass making oven and museum. We'll have a look at it tomorrow.