|Working boats at an old Cadbury wharf.|
The way the Shropshire Union (or "Shroppie") Canal works if you join it at Barbridge Juction, as we did, is that the vast majority of the locks are in the three flights we tackled yesterday at Audlem, Adderley and Tyreley. This still leaves you a long way from the Southern end of the canal at Autherley Jucntion, (on the outskirts of Wolverhampton), but with nearly all the locks done.
|Former Cadbury wharf.|
|We had already passed "Marquis" once (at Fradley).|
We could predict, therefore, that today would amount mostly to clocking up the miles, and that how quickly might depend upon other traffic - it's not often a canal where a slow mover is going to want to let you past.
|Probably the most photographed bridge on the canal ?|
I have to say much of the "Shroppie" is very beautiful. You alternate between looking out across wide areas of countryside, sometimes from the top of impressive embankments, to being plunged into deep dark cuttings, often showing signs of being cut straight through rock. It also has many near perfect bridges, most neat and small, but some impressively tall ones in the deep cuttings, and even the occasional highly ornate one.
|Tunnel cut through unlined rock.|
However, being one of the last built canals, it is also one of the straightest, often running for a mile, or even several miles without any real deviation. This does tend to mean you have long periods where it all looks much the same, and you have already seen what you will see for the next quarter of an hour or more, (just not from quite so close, at first!). I miss some of the excitement of a more windy canal, where you never know what is coming around the next bend.
|"Thea" is a "Middle Northwich", like "Sickle", but was once a butty.|
A few things broke up the "sameness" of such a day, however. We stopped for some diesel at Norbury Wharf, (at a very good price, by current standards), and were served by a chap who both owns and boats with historic boats, so we spent quite a long time chatting there. There is a single lock at Wheaton Aston, standing alone in miles o otherwise lock-less canal, and we also made a brief shopping stop at Brewood.
|Strange boating gear - this one wasn't getting married....|
|And I'm not sure, but don't think this one was either.......|
|I think it may have been this one about to wed!|
|Crossing the A5 at Stretton Aqueduct.|
We had decided we would stop in the open, well short of the end of the canal, but in practice moorings were either too shallow, or had underwater ledges, (or both!). In the end we pushed forward right to the end o the "Shroppie" at Autherley. This proved an excellent choice, as there was a circular walk, with some parkland for Charlie to burn off some excess energy on.
|Unusually ornate bridge.|
Goldstone Wharf near Cheswardine to near Autherly Junction
Miles: 23.4, Locks: 1
Total Miles: 253.6, Total Locks: 181