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Index

Tours 2000, BCN, Severn Estuary, K&A and River Wey

8 - Friday 7th July - Merry Hill - Dudley No1 and Stourbridge Canals to Leys Junction. Fens Branch / Stourbridge Extension Canal. Stourbridge Canal to Wordsley Junction. Stourbridge Town Arm. Stourbridge Canal to Stourton Junction. Staffs and Worcs Canal to Wombourne.

We left Waterside, Merry Hill at 7.30 after not much sleep. Even though we were in the far corner away from the loud club we were still bombarded with noise. We had a good view across to the non-towpath side. There was screeching of tyres in coming and going, at one point a lad in an Escort came through at about 50mph, followed by a police car! Later on the "music" got even louder. When it eventually died down (3am) Julian E reports that there was a few cases of exchange of small packets (obvious drug dealing!) at this point he was using the ships binoculars. We got to Delph top at 7.40 after our first traverse of the "new" bit of canal around Merry Hill, We were greeted to our first experience of the Midlands variation on a L&L anti vandal "conservation" key paddle lock. One had already been broken and the other needed help in getting the locking bar to pop out as it was filled up with recently applied paint. On having just got the one working one functioning a BW white van man arrived! he set to work removing the damaged conservation lock and actually got the paddle up just before the lock was filled. We carried on down the flight, leaving him to sort out his conservation locks. We got to Delph bottom lock at 8.45 and Leys Junction (top of Stourbridge 16) at 9.30. We turned right at the junction and wondered if we would get as far up the Fens branch / Stourbridge Extension canal as we did in Beatty. As ever it was hard work dredging a channel through the silt, but after one VERY slow rushy section, we got to Brockmoor Junction with the Stourbridge Extension Canal at 10.15, at least we would now be able to turn round! Since our last visit the crud and rushes have been removed from under the old railway bridge so onward we went.  At 10.50 we eventually got to the next new bridge, but ground to a halt due to slightly more rush growth and a decrease in depth. The return to Brockmoor Junction with the Stourbridge Extension Canal was an easier affair and after this we went into the Stourbridge Extension Canal. Once we had de-weeded, this was a much easier affair, probably due to there being no flow in this section, bringing in silt. We got up to the Bromley Stop Lock, after here the canal is totally impassable. Reversing back to the junction, winding and exiting the Fens Branch was now a much easier  job as a lot of the silt was in suspension. At the final turn (11.12) at Leys Junction, back onto the Stourbridge our "Lucky Duck" mascot got clouted into the water and we had an extra manoeuvre to rescue this! We now had a serious de weed, while Colin was preparing Stourbridge Top lock, but had to enter the lock in a half completed state, as another boat pulled up behind us. Neil managed to finish the prop clear by the time we were down in the lock. We had an uneventful trip down the 16. Apart from the people behind trying to hassle us, we soon left them behind. Julian E did a small spot of shopping in The Dock office licence / stores below lock No 9. We got to Wordsley Junction at 13.05 and the proceeded left, down the Stourbridge Town Arm. A BW workboat involved in some tree felling held us up for 15 mins and we eventually got to the basin at 15.55. After a de-weed we started back at 14.00, getting back to Wordsley junction at 14.25. Stourton Top was passed at 15.35 and we hit he Staffs and Worcs at 16.05. With now un-accustomed traffic we eventually stopped for the night at Br 45, Wombourne and went to the absolutely packed "Round Oak" Bank's pub. This was OK, but we did have to complain about a stuck CD, which kept on playing the same section of one track for over an hour!


We have just left the Waterside and are skirting round Merry Hill on the NEW canal alignment (a first for us!) Dudley No1 Canal.

Skirting round Merry Hill on the new canal alignment. Dudley No1 Canal.

skirting round Merry Hill on the new canal alignment. Dudley No1 Canal.

Delph Top Lock. No sooner than we discover a broken new anti-vandal lock, Mr BW man arrives. Dudley No1 Canal.

BW bod soon gets off the anti-vandal lock in time to still use the paddle. How's that for service! Delph Top Lock.

Coming out of Delph Top Lock.

Delph Locks. The old course of 7 of the locks was under the bridge. The new 1858 alignment of 6 locks continues to the right hand side.

Looking back at Delph Top Lock from Lock No2. Delph Flight.

Delph Flight. The classic shot.

Delph Flight.

Delph Flight.

Delph Flight.

Lock capping stone, showing the re-building date of part of the flight. Delph Flight.

Delph Flight.

Delph Flight.

Delph Flight.

The Tenth Lock pub. Delph Flight.

Delph Bottom Lock sign, dating from when the flight was restored.

Delph Bottom Lock. Black Delph Bridge below. Delph Flight.

Looking back up from Delph Bottom Lock. Delph Flight.

Delph Bottom Lock, just beyond Black Delph Bridge. Delph Flight.

Coalbourne Brook Bridge. This is fairly low with a handrail scraping arch. It must be a bugger coming from the other side, as the bridge has been extended with a flat deck! Stourbridge Canal.

My God! a bit of industry left. Stourbridge Canal.

We have just turned up the Fens Branch at Leys Junction. Stourbridge Canal.

We have just turned up the Fens Branch at Leys Junction.

Julian fighting his way through the crud. Fens Branch. 

There were a couple of residential boats at Brockmoor Junction with the Stourbridge Extension Canal. Fens Branch.

Brockmoor Junction with the Stourbridge Extension Canal (to the left). it appears BW have attacked the rush growth under the old railway bridge ahead. Fens Branch.

We manage it fairly easily under the railway bridge...NEW territory from now on.

Looking back at the old railway bridge. Visible is the worst bit of rush growth, we only just made it through here

With a bit of digging and rush clearance we would have probably made it through Haywoods bridge. Fens Branch.

looking back at the end of the Fens Branch for us.

Back at Brockmoor Junction we start up the stub of the Stourbridge Extension Canal. 

As it is fairly deep Neil decides to "go for it". Stourbridge Extension Canal.

The present end of the Stourbridge Extension Canal, Bromley Stop Lock. 

Looking back from Bromley Stop Lock. Stourbridge Extension Canal.

Looking back at the GWR footbridge at Brockmoor Junction. Stourbridge Extension Canal.

GWR footbridge at Brockmoor Junction. We have just winded and are about to extract ourselves from the Fens Branch.

Looking back at the disused railway bridge at Brockmoor Junction. Fens Branch.

Looking back at Leys Bridge. Fens Branch.

Rest Of Images


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