Tuesday 30 April 2024


Today's Canal - Shropshire Union

Mike woke at the strange and unusual time of 5:30 and could see outside a colourful dawn beginning to show. Alas, he also remembered the old adage and wondered what the day;s weather might bring. 

Luckily he managed to return to sleep a little longer but woke after 8 to see that the answer, for now, to the question above was more of the same of the past few days.

For several reasons we were nit in any hurry this morning - firstly, we do not want to go into Market Drayton as the two shops in Gnosall stocked us well; secondly, we do nit want to go down the whole of the Audlem flight (15 locks) as well as Adderley (5). And thirdly, Mike had a hospital check up phone appointment at 1 pm. This should have happened last week but an unfortunate combination of issues meant that the nurse called just as he was getting onto a train in Wolverhampton - no chance of hearing anything much! Then, at the weekend, a text arrived giving a new date of 30 April. So, we needed to make sure that we were in mobile contact - and it had to be his phone (we have two different phones and networks to maximise the chance normally when which phone does not matter!)

Just after 10:30 when we got going and immediately passed a boat that was moored ahead os when we arrived. Turned out to be Laura Maise, owned by and permanently the home the home of Rich and Fran who are well known for their quite frequent YouTube vlog Floating our Boat. We did not see anything moving last night and no-one was at home today. Perhaps their next film will be about the history of Market Drayton, or even the long-closed railway that ran through it (it kept close company with the canal for some distance north of here)

We only went at first to the service mooring opposite Talbot Wharf. We had a little wait as both water points were in use but one soon finished (they did not seem to have any way of knowing accurately - or even approximately - how full they were) Mike also wanted to empty two elsan cassettes but discovered that the unit was well and truly blocked and in the most disgusting condition - it looked as if some folk had tried to use it even though it was clearly blocked.Ugh! (tripled) We have reported it but yet to see an official notice.

On again and yet another 'cave' boat was on the main mooring for the town centre. It seems to sat Crepe factory Afloat but we could not track it down on Google. We assumed that it was also heading to Norbury. (See the current Channel 4 series Narrow Escape about liveaboard boaters for another example of a canal food trader at a festival) This cave is towed not pushed.

Just after Victoria Bridge is this all but abandoned site which once housed for a long time a traditional canal boatyard. We think we saw recently information about it being available for lease or buy (cannot remember which) but general internet comments seemed to wonder about its price!

Just after 12 we came to the next decent  mooring opportunity and checked the mobile before tying up. Then to sit and wait! The call was almost on the dot and, once the checkup was over, we were able to have lunch.

When we set off again, what a change in  the weather! Not only blue skies but also much warmer, despite the continuing strong winds.

A large field with, it seemed, meadow grass - or was the yellow a deliberate attempt to crop dandelions?

Another rural spring scene.

Several new interpretation/information boards have recently been installed. The one at Adderley Top Lock focusses attention on Frank Butter who, in the 1970s and 1980s was a permanent lock keeper here who, like many others, kept the garden in great condition and won three prizes and runner up as well. Alas, today there is little left to show for all the effort.

In the sunshine, the locks in this flight all looked picture book.

We completed the flight in an hour despite having them all against us.

It is only a short distance to the top of the Audlem flight where the Visitor Mooring was entirely empty. We knew from past experience, however, that the next VM, below the second lock, is more open and a pleasanter stop. We also knew that the occupiers of the former lock cottage (now more extended than renovated) have a small self service stall with usually delicious home made cakes and other goodies. Whilst Mike set the lock, Christine raided the supplies, leaving little behind for the next boat! Enough to keep tea time going for several days! Let's hope that there is nothing to tempt us in Audlem . . . (except perhaps another good pork pie, as tasty as the one we have just finished from the shop in Gnosall)

We dropped down the first two locks - helped by passing a boat just completing coming up and then a boat behind that had enough crew to set their locks ahead. Hence we did not have to close up at either of them. Three boats were already moored but plenty of room for us.

5.6 Miles - 7 Locks

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