A change of scene

Last week we said goodbye to the BCN (for now) and headed south. We’re doing a chunk of the Avon ring – down to Stourport, out on the Severn along the Avon and then back towards Birmingham on the Stratford Canal.

This time we used the New Main Line which passes under the Old Main Line and the M5…


…turning off at the Dudley Port Junction through the Netherton Tunnel and onto the Dudley No 2 Canal at Windmill Hill.


At Park Head Junction we met our only lock of the day



…before we moored up for the night at Merry Hill. Here we stayed for a day while a storm passed through.


The rainbow over the shopping mall lived up to its promise and the following day was much better. A touch breezy but with plenty of sun and, most importantly, dry. It was as well really – we had twenty nine locks to do before getting to Kinver on the Staffs & Worcs canal.

The start of the Delph flight of locks, just below Merry Hill, is urban and unassuming…


…but by the second lock you feel more like you’re the middle of the country. It’s an absolutely beautiful flight, specially when the weather is as pleasant as it was for us.

After the eight locks of the Delph flight we carried on to do the sixteen Stourbridge locks. Again, another lovely flight, although, like other boaters over the years, I had problems at lock 15. The bottom lock gates will not stay shut! Shut one, rush round to the other side and by the time you’re half way across the first gate is wide open again. It’s definitely a two person job. As Gordon was finishing off lock 14, I dragooned a passer by into holding one of the gates shut for me as I went round and shut the other. The flight goes past the Red House Glass Cone, which is now a museum. No stopping this time as we’d had a good look around a few years back when we passed up the locks.

There was a brief respite when we finished the Stourbridge flight…


…while we nipped up the lockless Stourbridge Arm to take water…


…before starting down the four Stourton Locks…


…that take you onto the Staffs and Worcs Canal. This marked the point at which we were well and truly off the BCN. We had an amazing two or three weeks in and around Birmingham and the Black Country and we will definitely be back but for now …


…just Stewpony Lock to do…


…before we stopped for the night at a beautiful rural mooring just outside Kinver.


The end of a wonderful day’s cruising and a great few weeks on the BCN.





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