Sunday 28 April 2024


Today's Canal - Shropshire Union

Early morning and heavy rain arrived. By the time we were up, it was still coming down quite extensively - not something to encourage a speedy getaway! 

We noticed yesterday that there are two convenience stores in Gnosall Heath, only a short walk from the bridge closest to our overnight mooring. Whilst they both open early, even on a Sunday, we did not make a speedy start to the day. 

After breakfast we watched the weekly online service - the church is in the main village of Gnosall (a little further away) but does not have a service on the Fourth Sunday in the month.

So it was 11 o'clock when we set out with shopping bags, not being sure just how much of our list we might be able to fulfil. The nearer shop, also a Post Office, was the more limited, but we found a few items which included a bag of potatoes. Whilst Christine continued on down to the other shop, Mike took the first load back to the boat as they were heavy enough on their own.

The second shop was somewhat more extensive and we were surprised by just how many of the things on our list we found. The main problem in both was the lack of skimmed or even semi skimmed milk. 

Back to the boat and we soon set off - as we looked across to the houses and moorings opposite we were relieved to see the first signs of blue sky breaking through.

Then, with the last of the village just behind us, even better!

And, on the Shelmore embankment, definitely a sunny afternoon. Alas, the pictures do not show the strong wind which kept us quite chilly.

Around an hour later we arrived at Norbury Junction. If we had been a week later, it would have (hopefully) very much busier. Today, a long stretch of moorings, largely empty, were signed with reservation notices for the many traders expected in the next few days. We stopped long enough to empty the elsan - took several times longer than it should have done as an 'entitled' trader` (not the one in the picture, that was a boat having a pump out at the wharf) was occupying the middle section of a service space easily able to accommodate two boats . . .

At the end of the long visitor and long term mooring beyond the junction we managed, at our second attempt, to moor up for lunch. And then on once more. We did not plan a specific target for tonight's mooring, more a matter of finding one that has a mobile signal - our lunch stop lacked one.

No comment! (see)

We paused at the VMs at the start of the great Shebdon Embankment but alas neither phone could find a signal so we pressed on.

The embankment is 1400m in length and was a massive and risky project when built in late 1790's. From the canal, it is harder to see the extent of the works, compared with passing through some of the cuttings. For many years, probably as a result of long term slow subsidence, the embankment has been a challenge to those responsible for its maintenance. In 2009, there was a major failure, which was an opportunity to try out innovative techniques to repair it as quickly as possible (see) The photo was taken as we neared the northern end.

Knighton became an important place on this canal when Cadbury's built a chocolate crumb factory and used the canal for transportation. No longer is the wharf used in this way and has long failed to find a new lease in its life. It looks a bit sad, in  a way. Although trees and other vegetation largely screen the works from the canal, it is obviously today a substantial enterprise. However, last year Premier Foods, the conglomerate that now owns it, announced that is likely to close later this year with the loss of 300 jobs.

The next mooring opportunity was shortly after Knighton, just beyond Bridge 47. Mobile signals were not brilliant but at least enough to allow the uploading of this blog!

7.2 Miles - 0 Locks

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