Monday 29 April 2024

Market Drayton

Today's Canal - Shropshire Union

When we first awoke it was quite bright but by the time we were ready to set off at 9.30, the weather had taken a look at the forecast and remembered that it was supposed to be cloudy, cold and windy today!

There was quite a long straight ahead to start the day. Just after this picture was taken a boat came from behind us and we had to follow it all the way to Tyrley. It was often slower than us but the numerous long stretches of offside moorings eroded the difference for most of the time.

At Goldstone we passed this boat - another trader's cave boat! Their fb page says Roving Traders on the Inland Waterways selling Fair Trade clothing from jackets to trousers to dungarees to children’s clothing and much more. We are Fair Trade supporters. We also sell hand made items. They are on their way to next weekend's event at Norbury Junction. Their main boat, Jenny Wren was built 43 years ago by in his spare time by Douglas, the founder of Hayter Lawnmowers. They have a reputation for long term reliability as well.

And so we began the long, slow transit of Woodseaves Cutting, The southern end is especially narrow with almost vertical walls both sides.

The cutting has, almost from the off, been problematic and there seemed to be even more falls this time than we have seen before. At present the towpath is closed since a year ago at least and many of the falls have simply been made passable by boat.

We would not have been happy to be passing when this rock hit the water!

It looks as if more could follow ere long as the rock above is gradually cracking apart.

In the centre of the cutting is a farm accommodation bridge - rather boringly called High Bridge.

Whist this tree was cut back to permit boats to pass, it has been left over the towpath for so long that shoots have sprouted up vertically, at least from last year if not longer.

The notices at either end of the cutting warning of the towpath closure are definitely unambiguous!

And so we arrived at Tyrley Locks. When we came by txo years ago, a boat was winding on the space alongside the former wharf house. Alas since then, a new owner had discovered that they have the right to treat this as their private space and have not only banned turning but laid a rope across to deter attempts to follow the guide books.

We were following another boat down, and several came the other way, so we could not rush.There were plenty of gongoozlers at the second lock - they com in all shapes, colours and sizes! Alas we were unable to offerany of this lot the chance to help with the paddles . . . 

The bywashes at the bottom three locks are quite fierce. This one attenuates quite quickly so is only a problem if waiting just below the lock.

Saving the best to the end, the bottom lock is set in a narrow rock lined section and the baffle was only partially successful today in protecting us. Coming out onto the lock landing was rather a challenge.

Just below the klocks, Sid looks as if he has had a but of  a face lift. We did not recall that he had then started a rescue service - perhaps he will soon get a medal as we are sure that the casualty is suitably grateful.

As soon as the landscape opened out a bit we found a mooring - it was by now definitely lunch time. Even before we had fully tied up we came to the conclusion that this will do for an overnight stop and we can have an indoor afternoon. Christine also booked us a space at Overwater for the few days we need to return home next week and she also checked with Swanley Bridge about the dates when they will be taking the boat out of the water ready for work to be done on it and when they expect it to be returned. More detail when the time comes - we have been waiting for this for two years now.

6.3 Miles - 5 Locks 

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