Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A Short Walk

There was a break in the weather this morning and I decided to make the most of the lack of precipitation by taking a short walk along the towpath from Merry Hill to Blowers Green where there is a canal junction.  You can either proceed straight ahead up the three Parkhead Locks to Dudley Tunnel or make a hard right turn and almost double back upon yourself.

I’d only just rounded the bend from Merry Hill when I noticed a couple of walkers discussing all the litter floating in the canal.

20151006_105348It wasn’t as bad as Bulls Bridge Junction on the Grand Union but suffice to say there was no shortage of plastic bottles and cans floating on the surface.  The recent change to disposable plastic bags is a positive move but I’d like to see the policy extended to a 5p recycling refund on plastic, aluminium and steel drink containers.  Most of this littering would then cease.

There’s another of those low curved cast iron bridges just beyond Woodside Bridge. 


I thought it might be a disused arm but after checking the Waterway Routes map I now realise it it the former end to a shortcut which eliminated the need to go to Blowers Green.

BCNTwo Lock Line

You can see the ghosted alignment of “BCN Two Lock Line”

The first thing you notice when walking up to Blowers Green Lock is the pump house.


The pump house was built around 1890 and was used to pump water from the Dudley No1 7 2 Canals up to the top of the nearby Parkhead Locks.  It would have been part of the water supply to the locks, the Dudley Tunnel and the BCN Old Main Line.  The pump house is now owned by The Dudley Canal Trust and used by Acorn Performing Arts.  There is no sign of a chimney and I wonder if the pumps were electric?

I decided to continue up the flight as it’s unlikely we will cruise this way.  I anticipated the area didn’t receive much boating traffic and was expecting it to be rather dilapidated.

Park Head Junction

When looking from below the bottom lock one of the lower gates on the top lock appeared to be hanging incorrectly and I thought the locks might actually be unusable.  On reaching the top lock I was pleasantly surprised to discover a rather pleasant setting.  The area above the locks is well landscaped and maintained.  A boat moored in what might have been a former wharf area.


Looking up the flight with the former lock keepers cottage to the left


Looking back down the flight with the arm to the right.  A moored boat in the distance.


Still looking back, there is a second arm to the left

In the opposite direction is the tunnel entrance with a stop gate.


On examining the tunnel gauge I suspect Waiouru would fit if we removed the satellite dome.


My concern would be the depth of the water.  Whilst the original depth was nearly 2 metres I suspect it’s probably very shallow.  The two notices beside the entrance confused me.


One stated no powered craft and the other stated no unpowered craft?????

Some searching around on the internet suggests private boats can only use the tunnel with the permission of the Trust and boats are towed through using an electric powered tug.

If you are prepared to go up and down the three Parkhead Locks then the area appears to be an attractive mooring location.


Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

You are 55mm too tall to fit through Dudley Tunnel.

You just cleared the gauge on the Caldon Canal, which we just touched making your boat around 5mm lower than ours. We then went on to pass through Froghall Tunnel and prove the gauge is a little pessimistic.

We also approached Dudley Tunnel http://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/wr/photos-months-070901-1149.html and we were 60mm too tall to pass through.

We had already confirmed that, with our electric motor, we would be able to take ourselves through rather than being towed, and were disappointed to find how much too tall we were.

Tom and Jan said...

But Paul we had the satellite dome on when we checked the gauge at Froghall Tunnel and that is 300mm above the cabin roof level.

Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

May I refer you to the evidence at

The picture and text confirm it was the front cabin corners that just missed the gauge so I stand by my reasoning and you would have had to remove the satellite dome there.

Tom and Jan said...

Can't argue with your logic!