May 1st 2013
Merry Hill to Windmill End
Thanks James and Doug and Steve for your welcome! We have been having trouble getting a signal the last few days so we are a bit behind with our blog (it's now 3rd May).
Merry Hill is so relatively peaceful that we slept in without hearing any of the cars seething below us in the car parks. We took our time enjoying the lovely sunshine as we prepared to go and it was well after 10 before we left. After the Waterfront area, the canal is tucked away below the industrial units and with the leaves coming out it was calm and peaceful.
We saw a Canada Goose on her nest at close quarters (the first of several today) and some moorhens having a dust-up, we assume over territory. At Blowers Green lock we waited while a boat went up and as we went in another came up behind us – already equalling yesterday’s total.
The lock is beside the old Blower’s Green pumping station which has been restored and is the headquarters of the Dudley Canal Trust. It’s a bit of a dodgy area – there was a large notice pointing out that the flashing was made of a lead substitute and not the real thing. We moored at the services behind the building to take on water etc, passing this gentleman indicating the start of the Dudley No 2 Canal.
It is a shame that the area is extremely noisy – there was an industrial works right by the canal with a cement silo of some sort which was filling a series of cement lorries as we waited.
On the far side of the junction was the first lock on the way up to the Dudley tunnel.
In spite of the noise of the surroundings and rubbish in the canal there was some lovely countryside within a few hundred yards of the junction. This is Netherton Hill (not close to the tunnel at all) with its church on the top.
We stopped at the moorings at Windmill End before the tunnel for lunch, and it was so beautiful we decided to stay for the rest of the day. There is room for several boats at the edge of a country park area opposite the towpath, with grassy hillsides, woods and lakes.
We had hoped to eat at the Dry Dock, but discovered it has closed and been converted to flats. But it was a wonderful sunny evening for eating on the boat.