This week we are moored on the embankment above Merry Hill shopping centre near Brierley Hill in the West Midlands.At around the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th Centuries,almost all the iron making in the world was carried out within 20 miles of here and on this site stood the Round Oak Steelworks.Production at Round Oak was started by the Earl of Dudley in 1857 and the plant was closed down on the 23rd. December 1982.The site was redeveloped between 1985 and 1990 and now has over 250 stores with 10,000 car parking spaces.Since we got here Lisa has been in her element,she’s probably been in every one of the 250 stores at least once.
The view over Merry Hill from our mooring.On the right is a photo’ of the dreaded weed hatch on Chyandour and through this I have access to the propeller and whatever may be wrapped around it.The cover has been removed so I can get my arm down to have a feel around after the tiller started to vibrate,which is a dead giveaway that something is caught round the prop’. The BCN has a bit of a reputation for rubbish and this time it was a plastic bag or two.Difficult to tell for sure cos’ it was all well shredded and believe me,it was very cold down there so I wasn’t going to analyse it.
We left Windmill End last Tuesday morning to make our way the 4 miles to here so we can get our Christmas Shopping done,and we’re also due to meet up with the friends who we are going to be cruising the Birmingham Canals with over the next couple of months or so.We’re expecting them tomorrow and we haven’t seen them since the beginning of June when we were up the the Shroppie,so a good night is on the cards for tomorrow.Most of our week has been spent browsing around the shops here though we have had a couple of excursions.On Friday we walked back up the Dudley No 1 canal to the junction with the Dudley No 2 canal at Park Head and then on to the Dudley Tunnel.
A view up the Dudley No1 from Park Head bottom lock,with the disused railway viaduct in the distance and the old Toll House and Lockkeepers Cottage on the left.Park Head Top Lock with the former Pensnett Canal on the left and the entrance to the Grazebrook Arm across the top of the lock.The Pensnett canal was a mile and a quarter long and served the Northern side of the Round Oak Steelworks as well as a couple of the Earl of Dudleys coalfields,there’s very little left of this canal now as it has mostly been built over.
The approach to Dudley Tunnel with the Stop Lock in the foreground. This Tunnel is 3,154 yards long and emerges at the Black Country Museum.Sadly Chyandour is way too high to pass through the gauge at the tunnel mouth so we wont be going to Birmingham that way.
Blowers Green Lock at Parkhead Junction,the junction of the Dudley No1 and No2 Canals.One of the many signs alongside the canals giving information about the area.
On Saturday we used our Bus Passes for the first time.Some more friends,that we haven’t seen since last year,came over to Birmingham and we met up with them at the new library.Birmingham Library is amazing and we had planned to spend a day there when we got to Birmingham later this week but,having got to our rendesvous a bit early,we had a quick look around before our friends Pat and Rodger,from the good ship The Cat’s Whiskers,arrived.Oops,I nearly missed the “The” but the Editor put me right.
Me taking the sun at the new Birmingham Library and Lisa viewing the touch screen which gives details of some of the buildings on the skyline,that can be seen from the top of the Library.
A couple of views inside the library,the one on the left is looking down a couple of floors.Not good if you suffer from Vertigo.We had a great afternoon with Pat and Rodger and look forward to catching up with them again in the future.Less than a year till the next time we hope.
Well,that’s all again for this week I’m afraid.Since our last blog we have done all of 3 Locks,though I should say,the same lock three times ‘cos we went back up to Park Head Junction to use the services there yesterday,and 7 Miles.Giving us a Grand Total of 534 Locks and 919 Miles since we set off on our travels in October 2012.Take care everyone.