There is a funny story to tell, first, before I continue. An Alvechurch hire boat (70ft) with two lovely people from an unknown foreign land, turned up late last night at The Black Country museum and moored by the facilities. Ian took Jade out before 7am and the lady on board was already up and dressed. She asked Ian if he was the tunnel keeper. Ian said no, and she then asked if he knew what time they could go through. Ian laughed and said the only boat allowed through Dudley tunnel was a trip boat. She thought for a moment and asked if it was possible to go through Netherton Tunnel. Ian, of course, said yes. She then looked a bit perplexed and said that, as they were such a long boat, would they fit!!!!
So, leaving quite late this morning, we turned right onto the Wolverhampton Level, left onto the Gower Branch and locked down Brades 3 locks ( the first and second being staircase locks ).
|Waiting for Brades top lock after turning left onto the Gower Branch|
|Looking beyond to the third lock on the Brades flight|
|Huge gate on the staircase.|
|Had a slight panic wondering if we would get under the bridge with the Buckby cans.|
Then it was onwards to the Birmingham level main line with another left turn at the end.
|Birmingham main line|
Once I had successfully entered the first lock, amidst scowls from the fisherman as I waited mid stream for the lock to be made ready, we realised we may have a bit of a problem. The first pound was down but that was nothing to what the second pound was like. I managed to get into the second lock, just, and Ian started to run water down from the top. Then the C&RT bods turned up. They immediately took hold of the reins, so Ian turned control over to them.
|First pound was low but the next......|
|Didn't rise up very far!|
|Ian running water down|
|Stating to fill|
|Leakage from bottom gate. No wonder the pound gets so low!|
|Another low bridge|
|Nice volunteer C&RT bod|
|The bridge is blocked off, thank goodness.|