The Midlands March, a new year and a new adventure.

And so with the new year’s resolution not to neglect our blog still ringing in my ear, we are setting off on a new adventure. We have a plan, a rough route and an excitement for what lies ahead. Yes we know there might be one or two spanners thrown into our works but here goes.
We plan to cruise across the Midlands, through Warwickshire and Oxfordshire. It’s 110 miles to Oxford where we plan join the mighty river Thames for the warmer months.

The map on the right is our planned route, the Google map on the left just gives a rough geographic idea

But in typical boaters fashion our plans had to change from day 1. We had arranged to meet friends in Kinver, but on chatting to another boater we realised our chosen route through the Dudley tunnel was restricted access. And because we had seen a potential restriction on our alternative route we cancelled that reunion in order to get to beyond the stoppage. We also knew the weather was about to turn and proper winter was about to return.
Thankfully the blue skies were promising. And we turned easily onto the Stourbridge canal, the start of this adventure.

Stoughton junction

The Stourbridge canal was completed in 1779, it has a few branches but over its 6 miles it effectively joins the Dudley canal with the Staffs and Worcester canal, and was used for transporting coal, ironstone and lime. It cost around £38, 000 to build and was a profitable venture for its investors, so much so that the company was able to support the mines and other local industries. The railways and road networks gradually took the trade and the canals commercial traffic petered our in the 1930s.
I knew that it wouldn’t be long before we would be cruising in an urban landscape so we moored up just before Wordsley junction for our last look at the countryside.

Between middle bridge and Wordsley junction

Today’s journey about 2 miles and 4 locks