Running down the mainline

Inspire by Steve Wilcox on twitter & Tumblr, yesterday I took a spin out on the canals round the Black Country and Birmingham. In a 65 mile circular route, I hopped onto the canal at Goscote, and didn’t leave it again until Brownhills. I went through Wolverhapton, Wombourne, Stourton, Stourbridge, Merry Hill, the Netherton Tunnel, Oldbury, Smethwick, Birmingham, Aston, Great Barr and Aldridge.

The canals through Wolverhampton and southwards are remarkably beautiful, and the ones through the Black Country and Birmingham were as busy and fascinating as ever. The Netherton Tunnel was fun and challenging. A great day. Look out for more pictures on my 365daysofbiking tumblr this evening.

If you’ve never ventured out that way, I highly recommend it, but I caution you that canals are not flat. The climb up from Stourbridge to Netherton is challenging at times…

The route I took. Click on the image to go to Bikely, where it can be studied in detail.

Near Dunstall/Oxley, north Wolverhapmton. 1:56pm, Saturday, 30th July 2011.

The meccano Bridge, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton. 2:15pm, Saturday, 30th July 2011.

The Ten Locks, Delph End. There are only nine, the tenth is the pub. The chap lying on the grass is alive - he greeted me as I rode past. 4:56pm, Saturday, 30th July 2011.

Netherton, with Turner's Hill in the distance. 5.28pm, Saturday, 30th July 2011.

Cob's Engine House, Netherton.5:33pm, Saturday, 30th July 2011.

A surprisingly bucolic looking Smethwick. 6:08pm, Saturday, 30th July 2011.

I trip through your wires, Great Barr. 9:37pm, Saturday, 30th July 2011.

Daw End Branch, near Aldridge. 10:02pm, Saturday, 30th July 2011.

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5 Responses to Running down the mainline

  1. Steve Wilcox says:

    Cracking route & pics, Bob – The Staffs & Worcester is a beautiful stretch of “cut” – the area from Bratch locks southwards is an absolute joy to cycle. If you’re in the area again try to continue south to Cookley – theres a section of canal where a sandstone hillside has been carved away, leaving a cliff running along the east bank of the canal – it must have taken many hours of hard graft to chop away at the rock, with hand tools only, apparently. I’m planning on exploring southwards as far as Stourport – I’ll let you know how I get on 🙂

  2. Pingback: In a dark place « BrownhillsBob's Brownhills Blog

  3. Steve Wilcox says:

    I encountered a similar pillock on one of my trips through the tunnel – I stopped and pressed myself against the wall to let him pass safely, and he just thundered past with no word of thanks or nod of acknowledgment . . . . . I notice that your light has about 4 times the power of my little Cateye, which just illuminates a small spot about 6 feet in front of my front wheel, adding to the ambience, but unfortunately increasing the risk of collision with the rail, or a scrape along the wall, which occurred last time I was in there – ouch ! ! . . .

  4. pedro says:

    Hi Bob,

    “The canals through Wolverhampton and southwards are remarkably beautiful, and the ones through the Black Country and Birmingham were as busy and fascinating as ever.”

    Could not agree more. I have a tag on Panoramio for the Staffs and Worcs around Wolverhampton that can be seen here if any of your readers are interested…

    http://www.panoramio.com/user/2465971/tags/Canal%20Staffs%20and%20Worcs

    All the best Peter

  5. Mike hawes says:

    I do like the Netherton Tunnel – some years ago I was at the inaugural Birmingham and Black Country half marathon, an amateur affair run to raise money for a bone marrow trust, we paid a donation and ran from Wolverhampton to brum , supposedly 13.1 miles but more like 14. We all had to bring a torch and put our number on it which we had to call out as we neared the tunnel and it was handed to us. There were only about 30 of us and our numbers were just on bits of paper and it was tipping it down. When we got to brum and brindely place we had to leg it because he didn’t have permission to have this event here!

    Of course now it’s all legit and is a quite big event, not really a race but more a time trial as you have to go off in batches according to your estimated time over the distance, good fun.

    I have run 40 miles but it would cripple me to ride 20!

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