Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Planning to leg through Dudley Tunnel

Yesterday I mentioned I had a crazy plan up my sleeve. This is it: I'm going to leg through Dudley Tunnel on Monday. All 3154 yards of it. Well, that's not quite true. There are eight chambers which are too wide to leg; we'll have to shaft the boat through these sections. Why leg? Because there is so little ventilation in Dudley Tunnel that combustion engines are not allowed. An electric tug operated by the Dudley Canal Trust will accompany us and, presumably, rescue us if necessary. Towing by the tug is an option but I'd much rather leg it. I have enlisted the help of brother David; as things stand Jan will have to be at the back fending off.

On Sunday I have to check the boat fits the profile gauge at Parkhead; if it doesn't I will have to abandon the trip and phone to cancel the tug. I'm hoping that, as we passed the requirements for Standedge Tunnel last year, we'll be OK for Dudley.

Today we left the Shroppie at last and turned south on the Staffs and Worcs. We stopped for lunch at Compton, making use of the Sainsbury's Local.

Jan suffered a slight mishap at one of the locks today. She was winding down a gate paddle when the windlass slipped on the spindle, the paddle dropped suddenly, the windlass spun round and whacked Jan on the wrist before landing in the lock. I retrieved the windlass with the Sea Searcher; Jan's wrist seems to be OK, thankfully. It could have been worse; we don't want to think about what could have happened if the windlass had flown up and hit Jan in the face.

At Awbridge Lock a heron was perched in the circular weir waiting for its next meal. I couldn't get a shot of it in there, but here it is on the edge.

We tied up for the evening just below the lock, by a field of ripe wheat. It was so ripe that a harvester came along and noisily harvested it for a few hours. We walked to The Bratch and back; at dusk the machinery stopped and peace reigned again.

Botterham Locks seem to be fixed now, so we'll be able to continue our journey towards Stourbridge tomorrow. An oncoming boat told us that there were 14 boats waiting to go down the staircase pair; perhaps by the time we get through The Bratch they will have dispersed. We won't rush in the morning.

1 comment:

KevinTOO said...

I think that your proposed adventure deserves a video to record your experience :)

Good Luck!!