|The fires of hell wouldn't have doused our rain|
Boy, have we had some rain the last couple of days. Fortunately the biggest storm – hail, winds, rain, flooding – came while we were sitting in the pub. By the time we headed back to the boat, the skies had more or less cleared though our heads were a tad fuzzy.
Short of walking training for our up-coming Pennine Way foray, I spotted a local hill and decided we should walk up it. It wasn't hard to spot, the canal from Windmill End winds around the base of the steep Netherton Hill. As an aside, it really is remarkable how bumpy this part of the Black Country is; you're up and down hills everywhere.
|Netherton Hill with St Andrew's at the top|
|One of the fine towpath local history panels|
|The Gothic Victorian ruins of St Andrew's churchyard|
|And the Delph from below with the old route to its right|
(Incidentally, the Delph was once nine locks rather than eight before the main lock flight was rebuilt with one less lock. Hence the bridge at the top is 'Nine Locks Bridge' and the pub at the bottom 'The Ten Locks') You can see the track of the old locks in the undergrowth to the side of the flight.
We got through the Delph in the sun, then the sky blackened and the rain cascaded. On with the waterproofs and up with the umbrella and we carried on through a mix of scruffy industry and pleasing country (but always with too much floating rubbish) to reach the 16 locks of the Stourbridge flight in sunshine again.And the sun held on until half way down when the heavens opened. I struggled into my waterproofs – and immediately the rain stopped. It's a nice flight, with its familiar view down the locks past Dadford Shed and the glassworks cone. From the lockwheeler's view, though, I have to say it's probably the most dog mess strewn that I've had to tiptoe through in years. Horrible.
Today we are, yet again, moored in Stourbridge. And the sun is shining – for the moment.