Another four-layer day! But thankfully it stayed dry. We were keen to do the tour inside the Dudley tunnel, which is a maze of limestone tunnels, caverns and mine workings. We had hoped to take MM through the tunnel, but her cabin is just too wide at the top to fit. There's no way that we could have fitted under the guage.
We could only see a tiny proportion of the miles of tunnels and mine shafts, some of which are closed for safety reasons, some are well below the canal level and are now flooded as there are no longer pumps running to keep out the water. The area is famous for the fossils found in the limestone like this tail end of a trilobyte.
We were astounded to hear that two boatmen were capable of legging five boats tied together in a line, each carrying 30 tons of limestone or coal. Mind you, it took them four hours to "leg it" through the two mile tunnel.
After a bacon roll at the little cafe run by the Dudley Tunnel Trust, we set off. Again, we found that the water in the canal round here is crystal clear, what a contrast to central Birmingham!
There is a wider tunnel that runs parallel to the Dudley tunnel about a mile to the east. So we set off along the Birmingham Canal Navigation, known as the BCN, to get to the Netherton tunnel. On the way, we passed over an aqueduct that carries the BCN over the canal that goes through Netherton tunnel, so we were given a bird's eye view of the tunnel we were about to go through.
Finally we moored up in a new office and housing development called The Waterside. Again, this used to be a huge steelworks until the 70's when it was redeveloped.
Trip: 176 miles, 132 locks and 139.1 hours.