Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Good to get some locks again.

(Boats Chalice & Sickle - posted by Alan)

Still not a particular early start, but today we had reasonable determination to put in quite a few more hours than yesterday, and to get broadly back on track with our outline plan.

"Sickle" at High Bridge
Yesterday we had put fuel in "Sickle", but we didn't do so with "Chalice".  Although there was still no urgent need to refuel "Chalice", a couple of outlets on the Shroppie sell diesel at fairly competitive prices, so it is sensible to top both boats up as we are passing - we therefore planned a stop at Norbury Wharf.  I was also exasperated by only having one copy of the Nicholsons canal guide for this area, meaning that as it was being used by Cath on "Chalice", I never had a map to refer to on "Sickle" - so we shelled out on one of those as well.

The former Cadburys works at Knighton with boat "Birmingham"
Only when we had left Norbury Wharf did anybody remember we had an empty gas cylinder on "Chalice", so we pulled over beyond the next bridge, and David and Cath went back with a folding trolley to correct our oversight.  (Again this was not urgent, as the cylinder we have swapped to should last some weeks, but it is always prudent to change the empty as soon as possible after you swap, in case you forget to do so later, and eventually end up with no gas at all.)

Working down Tyrley locks
Thereafter there are a lot more lock-less miles.  The scenery is stunning, and the weather has been superb, but the Shroppie does have mile after mile of very straight canal, (quite often in cuttings), and I must admit I would find it more entertaining if there were a few locks to break up the long periods of just steering.


Leaving Tyrley locks
We continue to enforce a proper stop for lunch, and today we stopped near Goldstone.  Finally we reached Tyrley locks - the first real locks we have done for days - David worked flat out on the bike to try and help speed both me and Cath through with our respective boats, but not content just with lock work, he was giving Odin a thorough work-out too, as he repeatedly chased after David's bike.

Tyrley is approached through this distinctive and atmospheric cutting through rock.
Then forwards to Market Drayton, where a supermarket shop was planned.  I don't greatly enjoy this if the shop is any distance from the canal, and here, unfortunately, it is.  We had quite a lot to carry, and I actually found it quite tiring. I was actually glad at the time we bought no beer to add to our load, though I'm regretting that now, as I type this!

Market Drayton
There was a bit of debate about whether we stayed overnight in Market Drayton - we had found reasonable moorings, despite it being quite crowded.  In the end we decided we would like to get out of a town, and place ourselves somewhere far more rural .  So we are now at the top of Adderley locks, in total tranquility, surrounded by farming,  One other boat eventually arrived and moored a discrete distance behind, but, unlike much of the day, I do still feel like we have this bit of the canal just for ourselves right now.

Gnosall to top of Adderley Locks
Miles: 17.0 (Chalice), 17.0 (Sickle), Locks: 10

Total Miles: 257.77, Locks: 103

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