Thursday 31 March 2011

Blowin’ in the Wind…

Continuing on from yesterday’s faintly musical title – we certainly were ‘blowin’ in the wind’ today.  At certain times we thought we were at sea!  Boating today was ‘challenging’.

SDC10201Waves on the canal in the strong wind, which was blowing straight into our faces

At one point, after pulling in to the side to let Ian off for a lock, Karen got blown right over the other side of the canal and got stuck in the mud.  Luckily there was a way down to her from the bridge behind us, and the men went to help and managed to push her off.  We had already set the lock so she went hell for leather for the open gates.  Lock entries are also ‘interesting’ as each lock has a very strong by-wash below it, which pushes the front of the boat towards the side wall of the lock entrance – I have refused to drive the boat as I know I’ll crash into the locks – maybe I’ll drive on the way back.

SDC10202Struggling to overcome the wind and get out of the mud

It was impossible for Karen to get back to the towpath side to pick Ian up, but Rog managed to reverse into the mouth of the lock so Ian and I were both able to get aboard,  so we had a hitch-hiker for a little while – Rog let him drive!

SDC10206Ian at the helm of Windsong

SDC10207We stopped at Willey Moor Lock at the conveniently situated Tavern for lunch then continued on

SDC10209Strong by-wash

SDC10211Rog ‘giving it some wellie’ to avoid being swept into the lock wall

We are now moored below Grindley Brook Locks, ready to tackle them in the morning.  We had a stroll up the locks to re-acquaint ourselves – we used to come and gongoozle here many years ago. There is a cottage beside the bottom lock which was almost derelict in those days and I used to covet it, and imagine what it would be like fully restored.  We saw it advertised for sale in one of the waterways mags a few years ago and it is obviously lived in now, but not as attractive as I imagined it could be.  Memory playing tricks on me again!

SDC10212Bottom Lock cottage at Grindley Brook

5.7 miles and 4 locks

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Wet, Wet, Wet…

No, not the group – us!!  It was cloudy when we left our mooring today, and by the time we got to the first lock it had started to rain.  By the second lock it was raining more heavily and we thought we would moor up, then it seemed to brighten and we decided to continue.  Wrong decision!  Three more locks loomed, but by this time we were soaking anyway so we continued on to our planned destination – the pretty village of Wrenbury, where we are now moored.  After a complete change of clothes and bacon butties for lunch it had stopped raining so we all took a walk into the village for a few supplies and to post a couple of letters.  The sun is shining now, so not a bad evening, but there is a large black cloud heading our way, so we probably haven’t seen the last of the rain yet.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

SDC10198Our mooring at Wrenbury

5.1 miles and 5 locks

Tuesday 29 March 2011

New waters for us…

It was chilly and cloudy this morning when we left Audlem for our journey to Hurleston Junction and onto the Llangollen Canal, but the sun soon broke through the cloud and it began to warm up nicely.  This will be new cruising waters for us, for although we have visited various places on the canal by car, we have never cruised it.  The countryside flattened out after Audlem onto the Cheshire plain.

SDC10189Past another very nice set of visitor moorings at Coole Pilate, provided by the SUCC, these even have picnic benches and bbq stands

SDC10190Approaching Hack Green Locks

A slow cruise through Nantwich due to what seemed like miles of moored boats, and we were soon at Hurleston Junction, and our turning onto the Llangollen.

SDC10191Very tight turning, with the first lock immediately ahead

SDC10192Windsong blocks the canal while Serenity enters the lock

SDC10193Locks 3, 2 and 1 on the Hurleston flight

We are now moored a little way along the Llangollen between Bridges 3 and 4.  After lunch Karen and I decided to take the footpath across the fields to Snugbury’s Ice Cream Shop – marked as a 10 minute walk!  It took us half an hour to get there and 20 minutes to get back because we found a slightly quicker way – whoever timed it as 10 minutes must have been on a quad bike!  But we did reward ourselves with a delicious home-made ice-cream and each bought a tub for the freezer.


SDC10195Pig at Snugbury’s Farm

8.5 miles and 6 locks

Adderley to Audlem…

On Monday morning we awoke to a very thick fog – everything was eerily muffled as we set off to the top of the Audlem flight of 15 locks

SDC10182 SDC10183-1Foggy Shroppie morning

We spent all morning working down the Audlem flight – the Shroppie Fly beckoning all the while. We pulled in and filled with water and emptied cassettes, then continued on and moored below the bottom lock on the infamous ‘Shroppie Shelf’!


By this time the fog had cleared and it was a beautiful afternoon, so instead of going back to the pub, we got the chairs out on the bank and had lunch and a beer/cider or two.

SDC10188The view from our mooring

Later we walked up to Audlem Mill shop and bought a couple of new Pearson’s  - Welsh Waters for the Llangollen, and the Cheshire Ring for the Macc and the Peak Forest canals that we plan to cruise after the Llangollen.  We also had an evening meal in the Shroppie Fly – Jules, we raised a glass to you!

3 miles and 15 locks

Sunday 27 March 2011

A short day…

We had just a short hop today, about 45 minutes to the top of the Adderley flight and down the 5 locks to moor at the bottom – we didn’t fancy doing both Adderley and the 15 locks in the Audlem flight in one day, so we will tackle Audlem tomorrow, then reward ourselves with a few drinks in the Shroppie Fly.

DSCF0008Top lock in the Adderley Flight

DSCF0011Adderley Wharf Farm Shop – home made sausages, free range eggs, dry cured bacon, and a range of meat and cakes – not to be missed, – we stocked up! Right beside the top lock.  Open 7 days a week, early till late or phone Simon 07710 312747                 or Alison 07947 389098

SDC10178Bottom lock

SDC10179Our mooring at the bottom of the flight – checking we had a telly signal for the Dancing on Ice Final tonight

3.8 miles and 5 locks

Saturday 26 March 2011

Where’s the sun gone…

This morning dawned dull and gloomy, and stayed that way!  We set off from Norbury Junction at around 9.30, heading for Market Drayton.  It was a chilly journey, it must have been, because I had to resort to my silly hat – and no, you’re not seeing a photo of me in it – I look ridiculous!!

20110326-1Bridge 39, Grub Street Cutting – legend has it that this bridge has been haunted by a black, monkey-like figure ever since a boatman was killed here in the 19th century

Just after Grub Street Cutting is the Anchor Inn, famous for selling Wadworth 6X from a jug brought up from the cellar, and not much else, no food, just a bag of crisps if you are lucky. Local boaters ‘in the know’ delight in misleading tourists (Yanks mostly), telling of the wonderful fine dining and the huge choice of cocktails available here!


20110326-3The former Cadbury’s Wharf at Knighton

20110326-6Following Serenity onto Woodseaves Cutting

20110326-7The obstruction where part of the cutting wall has collapsed  - there is just enough room for a boat to squeeze through


20110326-20Heading down Tyrley Locks – probably my most favourite flight on the whole system. Living fairly locally at the time, this is where we came before our first hire-boat trip, to watch and learn!

We are now moored in Market Drayton for the night – and it’s still dull, cloudy and cold!  Lets hope for a nicer day tomorrow.

11.4 miles and 5 locks

Friday 25 March 2011

Brewood–Norbury Junction…

And another lovely morning this morning!  Serenity’s visitor had phoned to say he would be later than planned so the meeting place was changed and we set off, hoping to make Norbury Junction for Steak night in the Junction Inn.  A fairly uneventful trip today, Serenity’s guest Dave was collected at Wheaton Aston and we both filled with fuel at Turners garage – 74.9p a litre, cheapest on the system!  We also met some old friends at Wheaton Aston – Sheena and Jim on nb Arlanza, whom we met 18 months ago at last nights SUCS moorings at Bridge 7.  They had a computer crash and lost our phone numbers, email and blog address, so it was lovely to be able to get in contact again.  We had a good old natter and promised to keep in touch.  I didn’t have my camera in my pocket and the boat was way ahead of me so no photo!  We arrived at Norbury about 2.30 and booked in for our steaks tonight!

20110325Typical Shroppie cutting, at Avenue Bridge

20110325-2Brewood Church

20110325-3Stretton Aqueduct

20110325-7Ian at the helm of Serenity – a rare occurrence indeed!!

20110325-8Gorgeous display of daffs in the garden of the former milk depot at Lord Talbot’s Wharf


20110325-10Norbury Junction – another weekend, another pub!

12.2 miles and 1 lock


Yet another beautiful morning as we pulled the pins at Penkridge.  We had a slow trip up the locks as it was quite busy, with boats queuing to go both ways.  We stopped to service the boats at Gailey, and wanted and ice-cream from the shop, but it was closed for lunch and we didn’t want to hang around waiting for it to open again.

[Boat Course-34[4].jpg]Gailey Roundhouse – this pic is from our trip 2 years ago as I forgot to take one this time!

20110324Another glorious day on the Staffs & Worcs

20110324-2Following Serenity through the narrows at Pendeford Rockin’

Of course we met another boat coming through Pendeford Rockin’ – he saw there were two of us coming towards him and politely reversed to a passing spot.  On to Autherley Junction and onto the Shroppie, through the Stop Lock.

20110324-3Windsong in the Stop Lock at Autherley – all of a 4 inch drop!

We continued on towards Brewood as we wanted to moor just before, on the Shropshire Union Canal society moorings  which are just before Brewood – they are in a lovely spot, and Serenity had a visitor arriving in the morning.  It was a long day and we arrived on the moorings at about 5 o’clock.  We moored just in front of fellow bloggers nb Sanity Again, and had a good old natter.  Bruce and Sheila, it was lovely to meet you at last, and I suspect that we will cross paths again before the spring is out, on our return down the Shroppie.


20110324-5Bruce and Sheila and nb Sanity Again

20110324-8Shroppie sunset

14.2 miles and 8 locks

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Tixall Wide to Penkridge

Another beautiful morning as we set out from Tixall Wide.  We had a fairly uneventful trip today and the only occurrence of note is that nb Serenity had a fan belt failure just before Penkridge at Longford Lock.  A phone call to Midland Didlers Chandlers proved unsuccessful as they don’t sell them!  So Karen and Ian walked into Penkridge to a garage and managed to obtain one.  MC’s loss is the garage’s gain – apparently the garage owner has been telling MC for ages that they are losing out by not selling fan belts!


20110322-3Setting off from Tixall Wide in bright sunshine

20110322-4Waiting for Tixall Lock

20110322-6The old cottage at Deptmore Lock is at last being renovated after being derelict for several years – I looked for a photo from last time we came by two years ago, but it must be on our hard drive and not on the blog.  Must be costing a small fortune as it has been totally gutted and half re-built.

20110322-7In Deptmore Lock

SDC10140Now moored above Longford Lock with Ian attempting to replace the belt