Wednesday, October 24, 2012

September on the Shroppie – and the Staffs & Worcs

Nantwich is just a couple of miles south of Hurleston Junction, where we had rejoined the Shropshire Union from the Llangollen, but we stopped here for a few days to get a replacement circulating pump for Zindagi's central heating.

Audlem is a few miles further on, with its narrow locks in pleasant surroundings,

 the 'Shroppie Fly' pub, an old wharf crane and the former Audlem Mill,

 before the rest of the flight really gets climbing up out of the Cheshire plain to the Shropshire heights – an overall climb of 93 feet in 15 locks.

So, who is this member of the Mafia driving our boat??  Oh, don't worry, it's only Val wearing her sunglasses and the hat that Shireen and Thor gave her!!

Up another 31 feet in the 5 Adderley locks . . .

 . . . and 33 feet more as 5 locks at Tyrley cut up through the red sandstone.

The High Bridge in Woodseaves cutting a mile or so later, typical of the Shropshire Union.  Earlier canal engineers might have taken a detour round the hill – not Thomas Telford!

First signs of approaching autumn – the boat starts collecting leaves!

Another deep cutting, another High Bridge!  This one in Grub Street cutting with its iconic stub of a telegraph pole on the bracing arch.  It used to carry phone wires, but not any more.

Norbury Junction near Stafford doesn't look much like a junction at the moment, but this little arm is the beginning of the Newport Branch which used to connect right through to Shrewsbury.  There is talk of restoration, but when?

More of Telford's engineering.  The Stretton aqueduct over the A5 (Watling Street).  The inscription labels this as the 'Birmingham and Liverpool Canal' with Thomas Telford as the engineer and dated 1832.

Getting further south and within earshot of the M54, heron and ducks enjoy the morning sunlight.

As we approached Autherley Junction and the 'Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal' (understandably abbreviated to 'Staffs & Worcs'), we needed to decide whether to turn right and head south to visit Stourport again, or simply turn left and head north-east to Great Haywood.

We turned left!  A few miles up the Staffs & Worcs, we passed through Gailey, where the lock drops the canal down under Watling Street.  Next to the unusual Round House, where the lock keeper used to live and was able to see boats arriving from either direction and prepare the lock accordingly.

Just before Haywood Junction with the Trent and Mersey, we moored in Tixall Wide and were treated to this sunset! 

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