Thursday 14 April 2022


 Today's Canal - Shropshire Union

Although it has been a rather cool and mostly grey day, we have not had any rain - so that is a plus! 

We were away soon after 9 with just over a mile to the only lock of the day ay Wheaton Aston.

Almost immediately we crossed the short but quite ornate, viaduct over Telford's A5. Even though modern motorways have been built to take much of the long distance traffic, this road still carries a continuous stream.

The first photo shows not only the splendour of these cuttings but also how steep are the banks. A tree had fallen recently but has now been cleared. The stoppage notices for some of these falls has emphasised that it is often the huge tree 'plate' - the top disc of roots just below the surface - that is the heaviest and most difficult to remove. In this case it could be left in situ. 

Wheaton Aston lock is on its own, with very long pounds either side. Although it was against us we passed though remarkably quickly. This is often a bottleneck especially in the busy season with queues building up either side.

We stopped only briefly at the service block to empty the elsan as we felt that it made more sense to take on water later at Norbury Junction where we should be by lunch time.

Just under the next bridge we then called at Turner's Garage to fill up with diesel. The options ahead of us are largely marinas and will be rather more expensive.

With much of the canal in deep cuttings, the accommodation bridges are necessarily much taller than on other canals.

We were puzzled by this mound just before Gnosall. We wondered if it might be medieval or earlier but the old maps gave us little clue.Indeed, it is not on the 1880 map but appears by 1900. So we remain in the dark!

Some of the cuttings cut through hard rock are only just wide enough for two boats to pass each other.

We stopped as planned at Norbury Junction and filled with water before moving to the nearest mooring space for a lunch break.

These two swans at Cheswardine Wharf seem to have a good clutch to hatch out. The one behind was sorting out some soft material and passing it to the mate to put around the eggs, perhaps to help keep the eggs warm.

With rock cutting like this it can sometimes be easy to forget just how much physical work went into its creation. At the time little other than very basic equipment was available, just a large number of navvies.

Just at the end of the above section the banks are less steep but more unstable earth and loose rock. A recent tree fall brought down other material including a very large rock. Whilst the tree itself has been removed the stone is work in progress and meanwhile the towpath is closed at this point.

This bridge really does justify its name: High Bridge - although the next one soon after looks about the same height.

We arrived at the visitor moorings just above Tyrley Locks where we hoped to be able to moor for the night. (Going down the flight of five would have meant a rather late stop) There is only room for a small number of  boats and we were relieved to see just one space left ready for us!

19.3 Miles - 1 Lock

1 comment:

  1. You went over the A5 and we went under it the same day (near Tamworth). I wonder how many times that road crosses canals? I know on the Leicester Line it crosses on Bridge 5!
    NB Oleanna