Wednesday 1 May 2024

Audlem Shroppie Fly

Today's Canal - Shropshire Union

The better weather continued into this morning. The day started much warmer and brighter if a bit hazy at first. Before long it was almost a late spring feel but in the afternoon a bit more cloud returned along with a considerable drop in the wind.

Around 9.30 Mike started to prepare the boat for departure but between untying one and and then the other, a boat moored just ahead spotted us and made a hast.y beeline for the lock, having to let the bow rest on the top gate as they were already so close! We then had a further wait whilst they swapped places with a boat coming up. That boat - we had a good chat - was relocating its permanent mooring from Swanley Bridge to Barby in order to be nearer home. They were having to plan the route quite carefully as there are several stoppages including a badly damaged bridge after a vehicle strike (later we read that it is now open until CaRT can work out a plan for repair) 

We were now able to set off and for the next few locks we were on our own. Mike had quite an issue around the third lock where the bywash enters closer to the bottom gate than at the others. Although it looks from the surface flow that this would push the boat away, in fact it creates a back tow under water that meant that we were firmly stuck on the offside. To add to matters there was a pile of stones just out from the edge and we were for a while quite stuck! Mike gave the boat a good talking to and it eventually cooperated!

The second half of our locks today were rather different as a steady stream of boats came towards us This made our progress much speedier as the timing was just right in each case.

Several different designs have been used to display the lock numbers - including some that remained anonymous. here are two distinctive examples.

We paused outside the Shroppie Fly to use the services. The pub seemed quite busy with a good steady demand for refreshments. There was also a demand for the water point and even before we had finished another boat was hovering almost alongside. We descended the next lock after Christine had checked out that there was room for us. 

Unfortunately mobile signals are not great and sometimes disappear altogether. Nevertheless Mike did manage to book a taxi for the car shuffle. He had planned to do this tomorrow but Haightons were fully booked. Instead, he is now meeting them just above Hack Green Locks at 10am on Friday. They will take him to Crewe station from where two, or perhaps three, trains will take him to Droitwich Spa.

After lunch, Mike took a walk up into the village and looked around the parish church which stands on a spot that dominates the road junction and the former markethouse, dating from the 18C

1.3 Miles - 11 Locks

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