Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Down we go

After last night's indulgence, I'm surprised we've not sunk, but in fact we've just started the descent towards the Cheshire Plain. Considering that this canal is now called the Shropshire Union, remarkably little of it is actually in Shropshire. We've not long left Staffordshire (for the second time) and will shortly be in Cheshire. The reason is, of course, that this is actually the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal and was just one component, albeit the principal one, of the amalgamation of canals, including the Welsh Canal and the Chester Canal, which were collectively called the Shropshire Union.

Come to think of it, the "Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal" doesn't actually reach either Birmingham or Liverpool...

I'm probably rambling on like this because I'm still digesting last night's grub. We had a very good evening in the Wharf Tavern, excellent beer including Joule's Pale Ale and their Green Monkey lager which was good enough for Sheila to guess that it was a continental beer. The food was indeed freshly cooked and the banana split would have done the two of us, though Sheila's sundae looked like it would have too.

(John C, if you are passing that way, you will particularly like the quality of service we received.)

An eight o'clock start saw us soon chugging through Woodseaves cutting, the most dramatic on the route, indeed probably one of the most dramatic on the system, steep sided and narrow. CRT have done some sterling work with gabions and concrete filled sandbags to make it more secure and Sheila had little trouble steering through, though the northern half, which bends, always causes anxiety, there being little room to pass another boat.

This is a good reason to do it first thing, before the boats which have moored overnight in Market Drayton have made it up Tyrley Locks. We followed a boat down Tyrley and crossed with boats coming up for the last two. There was plenty of room here at Drayton when we arrived just after ten, though it's all filled up now.

After coffee, we staggered down the road as far as what used to be the Netto and is now a small Asda. Not our favourite store, but the others are much further away, so it had to do. We'll get some more supplies in Audlem the day after tomorrow, and then probably a trip to Morrisons in Nantwich in due course.

Tomorrow, the plan is a half seven start, down Adderley and the top two of Audlem.


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