The Midlands March, up the Merry Hill

As we feared the canal was frozen over when we woke, but when I gingerly leaned out the side hatch and poked it, it was obvious, we’d be skating on thin ice, which was thawing rapidly

Thin ice

So when we saw the door of opportunity floating towards us we set off. Turning immediately right onto the Stourbridge Extension canal.

The door of opportunity

Past Delph wharf, which, as the notice says, offered hard standing for boats of all sizes

Really?

Under Black Delph bridge, which marks the start (or end) of the Dudley No 1 canal, part of the Birmingham Canal Navigation and the start (or end) of the Delph flight of 8 locks. As luck would have it, as I set the first lock, we struck gold, not one but 3 CRT gems. Two of whom were volockies, who helped us up the flight in under an hour.

That’s what we like to see, helpers at locks


And we were mightily glad we made good speed because as we emerged from lock 8 (or was it lock 1) there were snow flurries in the air

Leaving the top lock

And 5 minutes later, we were cruising past Merry Hill, the huge retail complex, but although there was lots of mooring, it was very exposed.

Merry Hill

So we rounded the corner to moor at the Waterfront Basin, by the time we finished tying up it was almost blizzard like.

Think we stopped just in time.

We hadn’t intended to go further, so we battoned down the hatches and snuggled up to keep warm, we could have ventured over the bridge to enjoy the delights of Wetherspoons and the shops.

I imagine it is a lot more inviting in the sun


But the thought of catching pneumonia appealed even less than catching that other nasty bug doing the rounds. It did look nice at night though.

Night time sparkle

We travelled 4 miles and did 8 locks