Tuesday, 25 July 2017

A long morning's cruise

We started a bit later this morning – it was 6.45 before Sheila started off. I’m not sure quite why we felt more relaxed about it, as we knew that, if anything, we had rather more to do to get to Market Drayton. As it happened, it was quite a bit more to do, for two reasons. The first was that curse of the Shroppie, the online mooring. I manage to forget in between times just how frustrating the endless lines of offside boats are.

I know boating isn't about dashing around, far from it, but passing mile after mile of usually rather boring looking boats at 2 mph is just plain dull. It doesn't help that the long straights which Telford’s cut and fill techniques made possible make it a much less interesting canal to steer, just as motorways are inherently less interesting than winding country roads (and are built with those selfsame cut and fill techniques, of course).

The deep cuttings are the only relief from the boredom, frankly. The spectacular embankments must have been too, once upon a time, but are now so tree shrouded you need the map in front of you to remind you that you are up to 80 feet in the air.

The other source of delay came right at the end of the morning in the shape of Tyrley locks. We were pleasantly surprised not to find a queue at the top, but there was sufficient traffic up and down to make everything a bit slow, so that we took well over an hour for five locks. There was one volockie on, but he was staying at the second lock down, presumably because its top gate was leaking like a sieve. I’m not altogether sorry he stayed there – he was a bit gung ho winding the bottom paddles and certainly didn’t check with me as steerer before he did so. In a 70’ boat, that’s not good practice.

We finally got moored on the aqueduct VMs a little before one and flung ourselves on our lunch. Having rested and recovered a bit, we made an expedition to the Aldi that I recalled not far from the Morrisons. Actually, it turned out to be a Lidl, but as we said, aldigether it makes lidl difference.

Apparently, there’s a canal festival in Audlem this coming weekend and the moorings are already filling with ex-working boats, steamers and the like, so we need to think about cruising strategy when we leave here. We’re staying put for tomorrow, anyway, whilst the storm blows through.

Location:Market Drayton

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