Now on Staffordshire & Worcestershire canal above Penkridge lock

Thursday, 31 May 2018

We have now left the Shropshire Union Canal and started to wend our way along the Staffordshire & Worcestershire to Great Hayward. The weather has been very mixed with mist, drizzle, heavy rain, hot sun and high humidity.

We are tonight moored above Penkridge Lock which is very busy compared to our previous few nights out in the country side.

We have now done 158 locks all narrow ones and 293 miles.

The old buildings at Autherley Junction the end of the Shropie. The left one is the old toll house. The larger one is the old lock keepers cottage.

The sign is Stourport right and Great Hayward left.

I think it refers to the boat

Cormorant drying its wings - we have not seen many of these.

Atherton lock is about 100 yards from the north bound carriage way of the M6.

Our mooring tonight just before Penkridge lock. We are second on the left

Fisherman on the boat behind us tonight.

Past Brewood and now at my falling in point again

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

We have been making our way down the Shropshire Union over the last three days in lovely warm and humid sunshine. We have managed to miss most of the heavy storms except for last Sunday afternoon. Luckily we had already moored up so watched it from the comfortable inside of the boat. When we went up the Audlem flight of 15 locks on Saturday,moorings were in short supply as they were holding a music and beer festival. We did in fact find a space made for BB and the music sounded really good. Anne went into Audlem Mill which is an excellent craft centre for a few things.

We are now moored just past Brewood at bridge 8 which is famous to me as it is where I fell in on the way up. Thankfully I didn’t repeat the experience.

Anne guarding the entrance to a lock on the Audlum flight. She doesn't like steering into any of the locks around this area as they all have those damn ferocious  by washes. Soon they will be over and I will be able to do some locks.

Nb Empress which was originally steam powered and owned by Fellows Morton and Clayton - it is nearly 120 years old.

Leaving Gnosall you go through the 81 yard Cowley tunnel which is unlined through sandstone. It has one of the most spectacular tunnel entrances.

It looks like a landing craft as you approach it.

Brewood is a lovely village and this is the Swan Hotel in the square

The bridge which is for the carriage way to Chillington Hall to appease a local landowner.

A selection of more boat names.

Narrowboat figures and animals

Figures and animals have started to appear as something that boat owners seem to collect and display on their boats. Some examples of these are below - you can draw your own conclusions.

Through Hurleston Locks now at Coole Pilate moorings on the Shropie

Friday, 25 May 2018

No posts over the last few days as no EE signal. We have though had a few good sunny days which has got us off the Llangollen Canal. One of our most productive days had us cover 12 miles and go through 13 locks in 6.7 hours. The final part down Hurleston Locks today was in pouring rain. We again stopped on the Nantwich Embankment and walked in the rain to town for the usual shopping and coffee. On our return it had stopped raining so at 14.45 we pushed off for a couple of hours and tonight we have moored on SUCs moorings at Coole Pilate near bridge 83 just before Audlem. The Shropshire Union Canal Society does excellent work and provides very good moorings all along the canal. Hopefully tomorrow will be a journey up the Audlem flight of 15 locks but the forecast does not look promising.

One last view of Blake Mere as we leave Ellesmere

There is a lovely wooden chalet that over looks Cole Mere,not a very good photo but it gives an idea of its location

Our mooring Wednesday night just past bridge 37 before the Whitchurch Arm

We had an early call from this fellow in the field opposite the other day

It was for the sun the other day - today it would have been for the rain
Our mooring tonight at Coole Pilate,we are the boat in the distance

A very long line of cows wending their way back to the fields

We came across a narrow boat with two birds of prey on the roof

A lapwing in the field opposite the boat tonight

Escape from Llangollen

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

We left Llangollen yesterday after a very enjoyable two days. Before leaving we went round the independent shops in town and visited the excellent butchers, bakers and deli.

The journey out through the narrows was far less stressful as there were less boats coming in - although this did change as we went further down past the Pontycysyllte aqueduct. Anne went completely forward and made sure no boats entered the narrows and then rang me with the all clear. It was surprising that the majority of boaters did not know about the narrows or that they should send someone forward - even though there are signs.

Once we had passed the Ponty aqueduct there followed two narrow tunnels both of which we had to wait for many boats- they just kept on coming!!!!! boy is the Llangollen busy thank heavens we will be off it before the bank holiday weekend and school holidays next week.

Tonight we are moored just outside Ellesmere in open country side.Tomorrow is a visit to the local deli and a replacement gas bottle,one has just run since the fiasco near Nuneaton on 17 April. Then it's onwards towards Grindley Brook hopefully the hire boaters will be kind to us. Since we were last here in 2008 it has got a lot busier and it will be a relief to get off it.

Our final view of Llangollen basin which has room for 30 boats

The dreaded narrows

Waiting at Whitehouses tunnel for the steady stream

There are some fabulous houses near the canal with some fascinating additions

A house at Chirk Bank with a collection of canal memorabilia 

Llangollen basin and a climb to Castell Dinas Bran

Sunday, 20 May 2018

We came into Llangollen yesterday after an eventful trip especially after we had crossed the Pontycysyllte Aqueduct. After the aqueduct  is a 90 degree left turn under a bridge towards Llangollen. As we approached this turn a boat started to come through,so I held back. Once he had sorted himself out I started to make the turn, just as the bow was in the bridge hole a boat appeared. There is no room to pass the boat so a quick reversal was required. This happened twice more to the large gathering crowd in the glorious sunshine. Finally on the fourth attempt we made it through to a loud cheer.

The canal into Llangollen is very shallow and narrow especially through the bridge holes. B&B has a draft of 2ft 5inches which means it occupies a large volume of the channel. This together with the flow of water coming down slows BB right down so it becomes a real struggle to get along. In fact we were doing less than 1.5 miles per hour. Our usual average speed is about 2.6 miles per hour.

The other interesting feature as you make your way in are “The Narrows” where there is no room to pass other boats. Anne goes ahead to check all is clear before I enter the section. All was going well until the last section of 500 yards which goes round a few bends. Anne had gone ahead and indicated that it was clear so I started to come through. As she got to the other end a single handed boater had entered and refused to go back about 75 yards. I had already gone about 350 yards. He still refused to go back - an impasse ensured. To say the least I was not happy at all!!!!!! Luckily there was a slightly wider section about 50 yards behind me. He passed by but a girl came up and said there was another hire boat coming through and he had refused to reverse back. So the wider section helped me again. Eventually we arrived in Llangollen Basin and moored up. You can stay for 2 nights for which the charge is £6 per night including electricity. Lunch was then required to calm us down in town.

Today we have enjoyed the glorious sunshine and climbed the hill behind us to the Castell Dinas Bran which was burnt down in 1277 which is 1000ft above sea level.

The sunset from our mooring near Chirk

Anne steering the boat across Chirk aqueduct with the train viaduct built in a similar style and still in use. It is also the border between England and Wales.

Anne now steering over the Pontycysyllte aqueduct which is all part of the World Heritage Site.

Approaching Llangollen looking over The River Dee valley.

From our mooring in the basin

A view of Pontycysyllte aqueduct as we approach it through a gap in the trees

A caravan built on a trailer. I met the man who made it - it took 4 months.

A view of the river,railway and the building set back up the hill on the right is the horsedrawn boat base on the canal.

A view of the castle at the start of our walk

Anne taking pictures and emailing from the top

Looking down on the town