Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Big One (15-7)

Saturday 14th July 2012

Sheepcote Street Bridge to Hawne Basin

Today the weather seemed to be a bit more kind. It was the first dry morning for quite a while. Today we are about to resume or journey and leave the centre of Birmingham behind. The Memsahib went to do a bit of essential shopping as I walked the dogs and got rid of the rubbish. We spotted Canal Transport Services Nb Aldridge with a load of cut logs on board. 

We proceeded along the Birmingham level main line passing through Galton Tunnel  (122 yards).  We continued as far as Dudley Port and then turned left onto the Netherton tunnel branch. We had only seen two other boats on the move. However as we approached Netherton Tunnel (3027 yards) we could see inside the portal several lights coming towards us. Netherton Tunnel is quite wide enough for two narrowboats to pass and has a towpath at each side. 

We passed three boats in the tunnel which took us just under an hour to clear. There are marker boards giving distances and one marking the tunnel centre point. On entering the tunnel it had been quite cloudy with little in the way of sun. On exiting the tunnel we came out into brilliant sunshine.

As it was now lunch time and we were ready for a break, so we stopped at the junction of the Dudley number 2 canal and the Bumblehole branch at Windmill End. The sunshine was very enjoyable and the dogs enjoyed a game of chase the ball. After lunch we set off towards the Gosty Hill Tunnel (577 yards). 

This is a very challenging tunnel as it varies significantly in height and has several points where there appear to be slight changes in direction. At the lowest points I was unable to stand upright on the counter. (At one of the points where the roof height changes there is a picture hanging on the wall which looks quite eerie in the lightThe passage through the tunnel was very slow due to the low roof height and lack of depth under the bottom plate.

Hawne Basin is the home of the Coombeswood Canal Trust. Visiting boats can stay for seven days free of charge. AWCC members can stay for up to 14 days free of charge. There is a Tesco and Aldi located nearby in Halesowen. We found the natives to be quite friendly and the marina to be a very quiet location. There are extensive boat services available at Hawne Basin.

Daily Total
Miles: 12.4
Locks: 0
Swing/Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 3
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 5.0
Diesel: 0

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 984.9
Locks: 722
Swing / Lift Bridges: 119
Tunnels: 12
Pump Outs: 11
Engine Hours: 2274.5

Diesel: 40L (49.57)


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