Wednesday, 16 September 2015

“Brum” bound


Our lovely weekend in Nantwich continued on Sunday when friends Bill and Eileen took us to lunch. A very good meal and lovely company was the order of the day. After lunch we had a tour of B & E’s enormous and luxurious motor home before going back to their home for coffee.


After saying a sad farewell to Bill and Eileen, and thanking them for all their help and hospitality, we set sail from Nantwich and headed out for a quiet mooring. We stopped with this milepost outside the galley window.


Monday saw us at popular little Audlem by mid morning ………


………. and it was fairly quiet for once.


Ascending the fifteen locks out of Audlem was a bit slow with about six boats all going the same way and meeting only two coming down. However, with the boat crews before and after us all helping each other we had a pleasant time. This lovely old barrel-roofed workshop next to lock 10 was used by the workers during the days when the flight was (pro-actively) maintained!


There was time for James to leave the tiller for 3 minutes and pick a bowl of Damsons as they hung thick on the tree.


Peering through bridge 77 we could see locks 6,5,& 4 ahead of us before bridge 76 in the distance.


The penultimate lock in the flight and where else could you find this wonderful sight – picnickers having lunch next to a lock with a narrow boat entering and a tired, but still smiling, Doug resting against the gate beam. Like an illustration out of an Enid Blyton book!


After skipping up the 5 locks of the Adderley flight (which, surprise, surprise James did!) we arrived and departed Market Drayton without our usual shopping stop and headed out towards the charming flight of locks at Tyrley.


Pretty to say the least, the approach to the Tyrley flight (pronounced ‘Turley’) is cut out of solid sandstone …….


………. and the canal bottom is also solid sandstone and very uneven! The risk of grounding or scraping the base of the boat is very real as we found out.


Just a couple more pics ………


……. of this very pretty ascent …………


…….. to the top lock and then 17 lock-free miles ahead. We had risen 154 feet and worked 25 locks – we slept well that night!


Leaving our mooring at bridge 47 on Monday morning we traversed the huge Shebdon Embankment and into the Grub Street Cutting which, in places, is 80 feet deep. This is a well worn photo of the strange bridge 39 which carries the A 519 across the canal.


Past Norbury Junction and on through Gnosall Heath (where some wag has doctored a sign to read “_no_ all”!) where the only tunnel on the Shropshire Union canal – the 80 yard long Cowley Tunnel ………


………. is hewn from solid rock and totally unlined.


After stopping at Wheaton Aston for fuel top up (55p / litre), and a free pump out as someone had left the machine on pause(!) and then to take on water we carried on through the fabulous Lapley Wood Cutting ………..


…….then over the elegant Stretton Aqueduct which carried us over the old Roman Road of Watling Street (now the A5).


It was afternoon of unusual boats as we passed this little beauty “Cutter” …..


……. and this one - “Elizabeth” ……………


……. and this tiny little “scale” narrow boat (compare it with the van!).


Some of the boats at Brewood, on the private moorings, are “low mileage” examples!


The fabulous “old England” view of Brewood as we headed for our mooring at bridge 8 is just one of the best there is.

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