During Thursday morning I moved the boat ½ mile to the far side of Shrewley tunnel. As we set off under the bridge we had been moored next to at Hatton station, a crowd of people were looking over the parapet and waving at us.
I can only assume these are avid blog followers waving us off on our journey
After a short while we were at Shrewley tunnel; it’s not very long, only 433 yards, and is also straight so you can see right through. It was opened in 1799 when the Birmingham and Warwick canal was opened. In 1929 the canal became part of the Grand Union canal which saw an amalgamation of several southern canals and thus providing links from London to Birmingham and to Nottingham via the same canal company. If its various arms to places like Market Harborough, Slough and Aylesbury are taken into consideration, the Grand Union canal is the longest in the UK at 286 miles.
Entering Shrewley tunnel – wide enough for two narrowboats but no towpath
The old adage, “The light at the end of the tunnel”
A lot of water was coming through the roof and down the walls so I had to wear my wet weather gear. I seem to remember we have always found this tunnel very wet.
Water coming in from the side
Because of the constant water ingress, the brick walls are covered in most places with flowstone that has built up over the decades.
Similar concept to flowstone but this is silt that has washed down over the years from the hill above and held together with mosses at the tunnel exit
For some reason there are two rings on the straight outside the tunnel so we used those for mooring. There are also bollards but they are used for boats to wait if a broadbeam is coming through or vice versa. It’s a short walk into Shrewley, through the towpath tunnel, hence the rings being for 48hour mooring only.
Moored at Shrewley visitor moorings – both tunnel portals can be seen in the background
We have been through 35 of the 41 canal tunnels still open in the UK, most of them a few times. The ones we have been through range from the longest (the 3 ¼ mile Standedge tunnel) to the shortest (Dunsley tunnel at 25 yards). The six tunnels we haven’t been through yet are:
- Froghall tunnel (Caldon canal) - the sides of our boat are too near the vertical for the tunnel profile
- Dudley tunnel (Dudley No 1 canal) – no powered craft allowed through although we could book an electric tug
- Foulridge & Gannow tunnels (both on the Leeds & Liverpool canal) – our previous boat was too long for this canal. Now we have the new one we will go up here in 2018
- Ashford tunnel (Monmouth & Brecon canal) – can’t really get to South Wales!
- Drakeholes tunnel (Chesterfield canal) – maybe visit when we go up north in 2018
In the afternoon Buddy and I took a walk to Rowington again and had a look around and just got home before the clouds burst yet again.