Monday, 15 July 2013

Woodseaves Cuttings & a pub with no beer!

We pushed on through Tyrley Locks, the last five locks before the Shroppie summit. This task was not without incident. It turns out that the pound between lock 5 and 4 has a substantial stone sill next to the tow path and pound very shallow. Once aground it took 10 minutes for both of us with rope and boat pole to free TM. Was'nt till we were doing the bottom gates for lock 4 that we noticed a sign telling boaters to set the lock for lock 5 before leaving 4 - wrong direction for us - did'nt notice any instructions on lock 5 top gate! Busy flight of locks as everyone moving early before day got too hot.

Tyrley Locks
Much of the Shoppie here is either in a deep rock cutting or on top of an embankment. The scenery is fantastic. The cuttings make for interesting boating as they tend to be rather narrow.

Tall bridge in Woodseaves Cutting

Most of the embankments are tree lined so you can only glimpse the view through gaps but occasionally the trees disappear to give a view of Clee Hill and The Wrekin.

Clee Hill

We finished the day moored at the Wharf Inn at Shebdon, however the pub had been sold and was closed. This was not a problem as the mooring was nice and we met Carol and Dave from Nb Moon River.  Carol and Dave quite upset re pub closure as they had run out of beer! Back to TM and a bottle of Gordon's was cracked open - the rest is history as they say but a very pleasant chatty evening ensued.

Before mooring we had passed the old Cadbury factory at Knighton (now owned by Premier Foods). Cadbury moved milk, cocoa and sugar by canal until 1961. The last boatman to trade to Knighton was Charlie Atkins senior, known by his nickname 'Chocolate Charlie'.

Cadbury Knighton Wharf

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Gongoozlers in the sky & Market Drayton

Friday we completed the rest of the Audlem Flight - 11 locks and 2 miles in 2 hours!  Jan and I have worked out a good routine to do the  locks together to make life easier, though Jan still ended up walking most of the 2 miles uphill with Spot having a whale of a time. Only motored another couple of miles and then found a fabulous remote spot with a magnificent view over the vale close to Adderley to moor. We followed the same pattern as previous day, starting early and were then moored by 11:30. Chairs set up and parasol on the bank and sat in the sun admiring the view, reading, and listening to music - a very restful day recuperating was had by all.

Yesterday we were awoken by a strange wooshing sound outside TM. I stuck my head out of the side hatch and was greeted by a basket full of Gongoozlers attached to the bottom of a large red balloon with Virgin written large on the side. All flyers were waving furiously. I was thankful that I had looked out the side hatch and not gone out onto the stern as all I had on was a t-shirt. I was not expecting visitors you see.
Bridge 73

Rope grooves on bridge 73

Tilly May at Adderly

Once on the move we did the five Adderley locks: it was like Clapham Junction, boats queueing both top and bottom to pass through, although it made life easier to work the paddles - good team work between boaters except a 60-footer with 7 lads at the top lock who waited on their boat while we worked through the lock and set it for them (Jan said if it was'nt for the waste of water, she'd have emptied the lock and let them do the job themselves!!).  The passage through Betton Cutting was beautiful, a wide glade of high-banked woodland overhanging the cut. Again we were moored in Market Drayton by 12:30. Before mooring we stopped at the CaRT services in Drayton to fill up with water and try to use their self service pump out. It uses a digicard system to give you access to the pump so I found the card that was given to us by the previous owner of TM almost 3 years ago and pushed it into the slot. Hey Presto, it worked! All the pump out kit looked brand new and everything worked like clockwork. Well done CaRT.

The reason for the stop over in Market Drayton was to meet up with Andrea, a very old friend of mine. She had never seen TM so after a quick tour we had a few glasses of wine before adjourning to the Talbot Inn for more drink and a bite to eat. It was a good night and great to see Andrea again.

Early morning boating

Friday, 12 July 2013

We're back and Hauling!

Back to Overwater this morning, after a week back home for the annual “Music in the Park” in Castle Donington and to do a few jobs. Jan was pleased to see the horses, and to see how well Monty (The Old Fella) looks.
Set off about lunch time in the heat of the day, but our intention was to only do four locks and moor near the Bridge Inn in Audelum. Found a nice spot in the shade of a big oak tree and tried out my new Bose Bluetooth speaker. Pairs to the iPod in seconds and produces a sound that rivals my hifi at home.
Walked down to the Bridge Inn for a pint and a bit to eat. It's a standard Marsons pub. The beer was good and the food fine for the price. Sat in the garden under a tree talking boats as everyone in the pub seemed to be from a boat.
Early start this morning as we have a few locks to do before the sun is to high in the sky. The 
Audlem Flight

Audlem Flight

Audelum flight consists of 15 locks rising 93 feet in one and a half miles. We did 4 yesterday and the remaining 9 today. Once at the top we found a nice spot in the middle of nowhere and moored for the day. I managed to buy some scones, jam and Cheshire Clotted Cream from the cottage at the top lock. High tea in the sun!

Jan Chilling

Back into boat mode, salad and new potatoes for tea!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Cotton Inn and a trip home

We have been a bit lacks with the blog so I thought we better do an update. We stopped the night at Wrenbury again on our way back up the Llangolen. This time we ate at the Cotton Inn. The pub does not look fantastic from the outside but do not let that fool you. The meal we had was the best food we have eaten  on this years cruise. Jan had slow roast Welsh shoulder of lamb and I ate slow cooked Welsh Black beef. Both were full of flavour. Whilst moored at Wrenbury we met Sandra and Bill on their new boat Marlady. Had a pint with them on the Cotton Inn, we hope they have many years enjoyment from NB Marlady, I sure we will bump into them again.

Spot asleep at Blake Mere

Last night we moored at the bottom of Hurleston Locks, back on the Shroppie. we are now moored at Overwater marina near Audelum for a week while we pop home to catch up on a few things and go to Music in the Park in Donington.