After Bumblehole our next excursion off the already indirect route to Stourport came at Blower's Green. Every other time I've been this way I've turned sharp left at the junction and gone through the bottom lock of the Park Head flight and on to Stourbridge. In fact, I wasn't even sure one was allowed to turn right and ascend the locks unless you had a booking to be towed through Dudley Tunnel by the Dudley Canal Trust's electric tug (diesel engines cannot be used in the tunnel). But there were no notices prohibiting access and no one around so up we went.
Beginning the climb up to the tunnel
Despite the fact that they must see very little use, these locks are surprisingly well maintained and it was an easy run, despite the rain.Here we are at the top of the flight with the railway viaduct behind and the short remaining stub of the Pensnett Canal to the right. To our left, out of the picture is the Grazebrook Arm and as there was nowhere to turn at the tunnel mouth I winded Starcross in the entrance and reversed the couple of hundred metres or so up to Dudley Tunnel, where this improbable photo was taken.
Duncan assures me that the rear fender and very tip of the counter were in the tunnel when this photo was taken thus justifying the title of the post! The photo is "improbable" because the loading gauge just visible in the tunnel mouth clearly shows that Starcross will never be able to pass through Dudley Tunnel, with or without its engine. Excitement over, we came back down the locks and on to Merry Hill for the night!