Dudley Canal & Tunnels Tour - 28th April 2018
Here is some general information which will help to ensure you have an enjoyable day paddling at the very heart of the Black Country's industrial canal heritage.
The starting point is the over flow car park Dudley Canal Trust visitor centre , Birmingham New Road, Dudley, West Midlands, Sat. Nav. Postcode DY1 4SB. The Dudley Canal Trusts should not be confused with the Black Country Living Museum site off Tipton Road DY1 4SQ. Both organisations are closely associated with each other, but run from different sites. The over flow car park is at the far end of the car park from the entrance. Please ensure you park smartly to allow as many cars to use this part of the car park. There are plenty of spaces on the car park but please use this overflow first. This part is the most convenient to the launching point on the canal.
Please ensure your group is on the water for 08:30hrs ready for 09:00hrs The Dudley Canal Trust is to open the visitors centre for us to use a room for changing and WC. The café will be open for tea and bacon butties.
There will be a £5 per person donation to the trust for let us use their facilities. Please use the donation box in the reception of the visitors centre or give it to a member of the tunnel tour team.
Please ensure all members of your group have a working head torch, with at least 2.5 hrs of battery life, BA with an attached whistle in order to comply with Canal and River Trust rules on navigating canal tunnels. Please ensure you have sufficient refreshment for the day. There may be an opportunity to use the café facilities at the Visitor Centre just before the Netherton Tunnel, however, it is run by volunteers, so there is no guarantee it will be open on the day.
All paddlers need to be individual member of British Canoeing or a member of an affiliated British Canoeing Club using club equipment. If you are not, you will able to purchase a day ticket licence from us, on the day. The cost is £5 per person. This will cover the cost of navigation and Public Indemnity insurance for the day. The only paperwork to be completed will be to add your name and address to the appropriate forms.
Not wishing to state the obvious, this canal tour navigating two long canal tunnels. The Dudley Tunnel is famously claustrophobic, single bore tunnel and no towpath of 3,154 yards. The Netherton Tunnel is a very wide double bore, with towpaths both sides and 3,027 yards. The first leg is via the Dudley Tunnel. The group will be escorted by the Dudley Canal Trusts own visitor trip boat. The boat must leave on time, in order to return for the first public trip. It is important the trip leaves on time. If you are unfortunate to miss the boat, all is not lost, as you can make your own way to the far side of the tunnel and meet the group at Holly Hall Road, DY2 0UH. It is about a 10 minute drive. You will see the canal down the grass slope on your left hand side. You will need to make your own arrangement to recover the transport when we return to the start location.
Before we set off their will be a short gathering, for final safety brief and any other information. There are 2 portages on the route, the first at Park Head Locks, down a flight of 3 locks, shortly after the southern portal of the Dudley Tunnel. The final portage is after the Netherton tunnel, up a steep (ish) ramp from the Netherton Tunnel Branch Canal to the Birmingham Canal, Old Main Line. The Netherton Tunnel is being closed to other powered craft between 11.00 and 13.00hrs. On the day I we have radar keys to open the cycle barriers, to allow for easier access around the portage. Depending on your paddle ability you expect to take anything from 20 to 45 minutes to clear the northern portal. After Park Head locks please keep an eye on the time so that you arrive at the southern portal in good time. If the visitor centre is open, you have time for a stretch of the legs and a cuppa, before entering the Netherton Tunnel. The paddle is 8.5 miles on canals with no flow. Please ensure you are physically capable of completing the course. If for whatever reason you are unable to finish there are many road access points. We shall have detail of local taxi firms. You need your own arrangements to recover your boat(s). From last years' experience we can expect the leading group to return back the Dudley Canal Trust site from 2:30pm onwards. You will be most welcome to use the Trusts café for drinks and food.
(Information Above Taken From DCRT Organiser)