Friday, 12 June 2015

Gosty Hill Tunnel

I love mooring in Birmingham. It's such a vibrant city with good shops, fantastic markets and LOTS of fantastic real ale pubs. We'd recently been recommended the Craven Arms, owned by the microbrewery "Black Country Ales" and as we've never been before we gave it a try the other day. They have 11 ales on tap, don't do food apart from cobs and don't allow children or dogs. The beer was on form and we spent a very pleasant couple of hours in there putting the world to rights.

It's not a very good photo I'm afraid as it was a very sunny afternoon, but it's a lovely traditional pub with blue and gold "Majolica" ceramic tiles on the facade and real fires inside.

Today we decided to go cruising again and as David on Wye Knot 2 has never been through Gosty Hill Tunnel we booked overnight moorings in Hawne Basin and set off late morning. We pulled over for lunch on the way and were lucky to not have our mooring pins pulled out by a speeding boat.

Netherton Tunnel is much longer (2768m) and wetter than I remembered and by the time we got out the other end it was pouring down and the rain continued for the rest of the journey. About half way through the tunnel Roger got something caught round the propeller but managed to shift it by going into reverse.

Gosty Hill Tunnel is much shorter at 491m but is extremely narrow and has very differing ceiling heights. It's one of those tunnels where you have to be very careful what you have on the roof and I made Roger move the taller plants to the back of the boat where it's a bit lower. David took his satellite dish inside the boat just to be on the safe side.

The channel approach is narrow but the tunnel starts off quite high

before the ceiling level drops dramatically

The section in the middle of the tunnel is tall and narrow

but for the final section the ceiling drops suddenly again

David followed us out into the rain

We finally arrived at Hawne Basin but really struggled maneuvering in through the bridge entrance to the basin and then into our mooring, as we'd picked up something large on the propeller just as we came out of the tunnel.  It was a large heavy duty "bag for life" shopping bag with some black rope and webbing attached to it.

I'm glad it's Roger's job going down the weed hatch to clear the propeller, especially in the horrid black waters of Birmingham's canals. We keep a couple of very sharp serrated knives specially for the purpose, packed away with a pair of above the elbow rubber gloves, and luckily he hardly ever needs to use them as the prop-protector blade which is fitted on our prop shaft usually copes with smaller bits of rubbish.

We're having a quiet night in tonight, basically as there's nothing to do here in Hawne Basin and we aren't allowed a key to go out of the compound. It'll actually make a nice change after the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

Bye for now, see you soon.

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