Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Market Drayton to Audlem. 17 locks.

Tempus Fugit..........................Only if you are having fun.

Now we do have a bit of a problem here.
After stopping a few days to visit the market, we could not wait to be back on the road again (so to speak). Our planned day was to move through the 5 locks at Adderley and moor there being ready to drop down through the Audlem flight of 15 locks in the morning.
We were through the 5 locks in the very slow blink of an eye and thirsty for more, 12 more locks and we forced ourselves to call it a day right outside a very convenient pub.

Here's another strangely named boat,
I have two on my list now,
Moose Drool.
The Vented Spleen.

I am sure we are going to see some more weirdly named boats on our travels, I didn't think you could beat Moose Drool, yet here is a contender.

The weirs running past the locks through here are quite something, this does make the handling a tad awkward to say the least.

Didn't see me take this one did you?

The door on this building is no more than 4 feet high.
You have just got to ask why the chimney?
Who would go in there and light a fire?
and why?

A boats eye view in the sunshine.

Few more locks to go then the turn to LLangollen, so far up already,

Until tomorrow..................

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Market Drayton.

Carpe Diem....................ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

We are staying put on these moorings ready for the market tomorrow. There is a lot of boat movement around here at the moment, the moorings seem to fill up overnight.

The morning is like the start of a race with everyone trying to be the first to get to the locks.

A few more pics from past days.

A typical Staffs & Worcs narrow blind bend with accompanying rocky overhang, just to keep you on your toes.

A lock cottage for sale. The helpful man at the lock warned us about buying this as the weir flowing under the house floods the foundations. Good job he was there as I was just getting the money out of my back pocket.

This hole in the cliff is named "Devils Den" and is listed as a boat house in the Nicholson. It might have been at one time but there is no water at the entrance now. The padlock is new though so it must still be used for something.

Ok, Market day looms then we will be off again.

Until then.........................

Monday, 27 April 2009

Tyrley Top Lock to Market Drayton. 5 locks.

We have moved down to Market Drayton through the falling rain. Had to go as we were on 48 hour moorings.

Overstaying on this type of mooring can lead to you picking up a "Parking Ticket" being issued by the boat wardens. It is a fair system though, all these popular sites could be clogged up by boats staying for weeks. We were lucky to even get in along here as the towpath side of the canal is like the rocky side of a river, it is so narrow you could not moor even if you wanted to.

It must be like a madhouse in the summer.

A few pics from past days.......

Here are some more pics of that little boat. That is a real Duck on the roof helping to give scale.

So cute.

Real boat coming through.
These house owners were really getting into the spirit of the canal with that garden gate.

Lovely old wrought iron bridge and crane decorating the outside of this boatyard.

We are going to stay at Market Drayton and wait for market day (You just have to don't you). This will be on Wednesday and apparently most of the town is closed off to accommodate it.

I feel a D shopping spree coming on,

until tomorrow..............

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Saturday 25 April 09. Bridge 42 to Tyrley Top Lock. No locks.

The rain was falling quite heavily this morning so we had a very slow start, but we were ready when it had stopped by midday.

Off we went again along this severely contrasting canal,

This view was alongside us for at least half an hour as we chugged slowly on.
Then you are plunged yet again into a deep cutting with near vertical sides cut through sheer rock, you can still make out the marks of the tools they used to do it.

The canal gets so narrow through here there is no room to pass. Thankfully we didn't meet another boat as there would have been a lot of reversing to be done, that is not as easy as it sounds in one of these.

You cant even see the sides in this photo as we passed under this bridge, very imaginatively named...................High Bridge, bet that strained the little grey cells to come up with that.

Now its Sunday and we have decided to stay here for the day as there are so many boats around working up and down the locks.

A quick walk into Market Drayton (an HOUR each way) found a holiday camp atmosphere alongside the canal. There were boats and people everywhere, sun chairs along the tow path, kids playing, beer cans popping and everyone talks to you. Nice.

Will be on the move down there tomorrow.........................

Friday, 24 April 2009

Church Eaton to Bridge 42. No locks, one very small tunnel.

Bridge 42 has another traditional pub next to it. Ciders and real ale being a speciality. This fact had absolutely no influence on our choice of mooring for the night.

The "Shroppie" is a very straight canal and you feel that you could see from one end to the other. This cutting is through solid rock just south of the Cowley tunnel (no more than a large bridge) when you think of the amount of rock those Navvies had to shift with picks and shovels to cut this channel out of the hill it makes your mind boggle.

Here's the entrance to the tunnel from along the cut, not too much room for manoeuvre !

A bridge with a difference! one small telegraph pole in the hole.

This poor old BW boat was well and truly sunk, there were even some small trees growing aboard.

On the subject of things growing, does anyone know what the name is of the giant mushroom growing on the side of this tree?
Well, the Cider house is calling,
until tomorrow......................

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Thusday 23 April 09. Bridge 7 to Church Eaton, 1 lock.

Another sunny and warm day, we are wondering how long this can go on for.

We have had to make a decision to either stop and enjoy the weather by sunbathing, or carry on chugging while we can.

Chugging has won as we can stop when it rains. Anyway we are on the back deck all day in the sun and you should see the colour of us now.

This was the view from the back doors this morning, the countryside goes on for ever from up here.
On this stretch I brought the boat up to a good speed and then turned the engine off. We drifted on for another 5/6 minutes in complete silence listening to the birds and the water passing the hull. One of "those" moments.

This canal is full of changes, one minute you are in a tree lined cutting and the next you are crossing an embankment high above the fields and houses.

Also the A5. This aquaduct was not long but quite high over the road.

This balustraded bridge is private and in another great location. It is near a village named Brewood (pronounced Brood) where we had a wander around but soon got back on the boat.
We have met up with a few other boaters who are livaboards going the same way as us and we are constantly "leap frogging" to the next moorings. It will probably take a change in the weather to break this pattern.
Until tomorrow...........................

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Tuesday/Wednesday 21/22 April 09. Bratch Locks to Bridge 7 on the Shropshire Union.

Will do two days today and catch up.

These two days have been a bit nasty to say the least, there has been a spillage of something very nasty into the canals (Staffs & Worc's/Shropshire Union). We have been travelling through thousands and thousands of dead fish. The whole area seems to have been wiped out.
The people in the "know" are blaming a local sewage plant but that is not proven yet.

On our way through one lock we found this bridge, this one was not for the faint hearted!!
D did her lock dance and all was well. No splashes this time.

This is a really picturesque canal and is going to the top of my favorites list at the moment.
The spring seems to have crept up on us while we were in the trees further down the canal. As we emerged the fields have turned yellow, the trees are all in bud and the Daffs have ended.
Its one of those things where you wait for ever then blink and you have missed it.

Another Canal Picture.................

Passing the turn to Birmingham, we were going there but the outskirts always put us off, only last night the boat was bashed by some stick wielding morons running down the towpath.
I think if you were going to chance it, a days cruise in daylight to the centre would be the only way.

Just past that turn was this nice country bridge,

Then these two Goliaths taking the railway overhead in complete contrast.

Now what about this?
what a little gem.
The boat it is tied to is only small in itself lengthwise, but is the normal size in height and beam. I have some more pics of this and will post them another day.
So until tomorrow...........

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Sat/Sun/Mon 18/19/20. Swindon to Wombourn, 6 locks and a staircase.

The reason for the lack of blogging recently is the mouse gave up the ghost on Sat.

This would not normally be a problem but you cant just quickly pop to the shops and get another one. People have tried to help us though even to the extent of us being given a mouse, but unfortunately it needed a driver downloaded from the Internet.

Catch 22 again, cant get the Internet without a mouse cant use the mouse without the Internet.

The pop to the shops took us two days.

But here we are again.

On our way to Wombourn where the computer shop is supposed to be, we passed through this lock delightfully named "Bumble Hole" . It is once again a lock in the middle of a huge housing estate, but seems to go unnoticed by the residents.

Now this was something special, we are at the "Bratch" locks. These are a set of three locks in a row but they are not a staircase. In this picture you can see the single top gate of the lock we are in and the double bottom gates of the next lock up towering above. You do begin to think how are we getting through here?. Thankfully there is a lock keeper on site who guides you through the whole process. That's him just behind D.
Right! now we are in the middle lock and it just gets better, the towering gates of the next one are partially hidden under a very low bridge, this one nearly had the chimney off.

Only D could be the one to get in that alcove without getting squashed.
This is the lock keepers eyrie, a lovely octagonal building leaning out at the top of the set.
The secret of these locks is that there are pounds in between each one allowing you to fill the next one down, although they are only about six feet long they are deep.
Well I should be able to catch up with the Blog now there is a new squeaky thing attatched,
So until tomorrow............

Friday, 17 April 2009

Thursday/ Friday 16/17 April 09. Wolverly to Kinver 2 Locks 1 Tunnel.

On Thursday we stayed put again as the rain was falling quite hard and as I have said before I am allergic to rain, it makes me wet.

So just as we slipped away from the side on Friday morning it started to rain, this then very quickly turned into a hail storm, at this point D disappeared into the engine room again saying something about the kettle as she went.

This really is a tortuous piece of canal to navigate, full of blind corners and U bends at one point I'm sure we passed the bow going the other way!

Lots of this red Sandstone lining the cut and looking very dramatic in places. Just enough room for two boats through here, I do mean just!

This was the entrance to our first lock of the day, it is called Debdale and is in the Nicholson as a very pretty lock. It is nice and the approach is great but the lock cottage looks quite sad now.

This doorway leads into a cavern carved out of the sandstone which was used as a stable to overnight the horses. It was surprisingly large and very dark in there.

Our tunnel for the day was the Cookly Tunnel, this one really is no more than a long bridge but it did have a tow path along its length. Only one boat at a time through here.

We stopped at a Village named Kinver for lunch and a walk around. It has turned out so nice here we have decided to stay until tomorrow.

We will have to move on though come rain or shine in the morning as the moorings are only for twenty four hours.

So until then..................

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Wednesday 15 April 09. Staying put.

Awoke this morning to the sound of thunder in the distance and then followed by rain lashing against the roof.
If you go and make the coffee, Ill keep the bed warm says I.
Can't print what D said.
There are some more pictures from yesterday below.This lock had one of those split bridges to allow the towing ropes from the horses to drop through. There is a modern concrete "Plank" in front of it now.
This is another first for us as these few locks through here are fitted with anti vandal locks and you need a special key to open them. You can just see them fitted near where you use the windlass.

You can tell you are approaching a large mooring area by the colour of the water.

Kidderminster and a renovated warehouse, they have bricked up every window and put huge glass structures at each end. Not too sure I like the look of that.
This building is being altered as well with massive amounts of glass,

but it is still hanging on to its old world dignity from this side (apart from the Franky & Bennies Pizza house in front of it).
A hire boat has moored up in front of us this afternoon and they are all sitting in the cratch and drinking wine at the moment.
We are sitting in the boat with the fire on.
It is cold and damp out there but they ARE on holiday and they WILL enjoy themselves.
Well the weather seems to be getting a bit better now so we should be on the move again tomorrow......................

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Tuesday 14 April 09. Stourport to North of Kidderminster. 5 locks.

It still has an effect of disbelief on us when we leave the confines of a Town or City, pass under one bridge or move past one more corner and there is the countryside again.
You can tell the weather is getting better! 4 boats up 2 boats down, this took all of an hour, a whole hour waiting in the sunshine and chatting to other boaters. I used to well and truly moan about getting stuck for fifteen minutes on the motorway. Times have changed...... for the better.

Absolutely rural through here with rocky outcrops along one side of the canal.

This lock is in a fantastic setting, rocks and trees overhanging really give a chocolate box or jigsaw feel to the whole place.Back in someones garden again, lots of these small plots along here and all seem to be using the
canal as an advantage rather than just shutting it out with a fence or wall.

Passing through Kidderminster we came across this bridge which helpfully was all lit up.
Handy, as at the other end was a lock that cannot be seen.

This is the view from that lock. yet again the canal system throws in a little surprise, suburban bridge opening up onto a cathedral.
No and a thousand times no, we are not mooring near it.

Go back two pictures and there really is no hint that this is here. It all changes so fast at canal level.

I'm not sure if this has come across in the picture but the canal did seem to be going down hill.
We both felt it and have taken loads of pictures. It obviously wasn't but it was one of those moments!

Another treat for the Duck watchers, there are 15 in this clutch.
Going back to an earlier post about how many eggs a Duck can lay, this is a lot of eggs.
We have seen another lot today so maybe spring has sprung at last.
Until tomorrow..............