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Tour 2002

Index

34 - Penkridge to Llangollen, Staffs and Worcs Canal, Shropshire Union Canal and Llangollen Canal.

Wednesday 31st July 2002.

07:00 start from Penkridge. Uneventful passage down the rest of the Northern Staffs and Worcs Canal. At 11.40 we arrived at Autherley Junction and tuned right through the stop lock onto the Shropshire Union Canal. We stopped at Water Travel for a 13Kg Calor Gas. Linda managed a quick shop for essentials in the boat yard.
At 12:00 we were on our way again. After Wolverhampton Boat Club suburbia is left behind and we were once again out in the country. Spotted the "Crocodile" just before Bridge No 17 - an exposed rock that looks like a crocodile head - some wag has painted eyes and nostrils on it!
Once through Wheaton Aston lock we stopped (14:25 - 14:50) for water. A very short run through the next bridge for a diesel stop at the very cheap Turners Garage (15:00 - 15:10).
A minor disaster occurred after we set off from Turner's - beeping noise and red light on control panel indicated that the main house battery (NOT water pump) fan belt had broken. Neil went and got one of the spares, then proceeded to loosen the alternator and got ready for a very quick non-stop belt change. This alternator belt was on the outside of the three, so the other belts did not have to be disturbed and the engine was only stopped for a couple of minutes.
We followed an extremely slow Anglo Welsh narrowboat through Grub Street cutting, then stopped for the night at The Anchor Inn at High Offley (18:15). We had not visited this unspoilt establishment for many years.......it was like stepping back through a time warp! As this place is a a proper pub and does not do food, we went back to the boat for a meal.

Thursday 1st August 2002.

07:10 start. Soon we were on the great Shebdon Embankment and passing the Wharf pub by under bridge No 44 A. This is another unspoilt establishment, that does do food on "in season" evenings and some lunchtimes. By the next bridge - Newport Road No 45 is the Ex-Cadbury's dairy. The facade and undercover loading bay have been preserved. The factory now behind is a modern affair, that produces dried milk.
Soon we were in the private world of the lush deep Woodseaves Cutting. Beyond this is the shaded Tyrley Flight of 5 locks, taking you down to Market Drayton. a bit of traffic through here, with the inevitable grounding of other craft on the rocky shelves - some of which are on the towpath side. Heavens knows why BW do not remove these during winter stoppage work.
The waterside at Market Drayton certainly looks more vibrant than during the early 1990's with the now thriving Ted's Boatyard in the basin and many more bankside houses. Uneventful passage through the Adderley Flight of 5 locks.
We arrived at the top of the Audlem Flight of 15 locks at 12:15 and started down without a lunch stop. Wendy did the lunch on the move. A good few boats about, so rather slow passage down, arriving at the bottom at 14:40.
Now on the flat Cheshire Plain the fights of locks, cuttings and embankment of the central section of the Shropshire Union Canal was left behind. Not far from the bottom of the Audlem Flight we passed over the infantile River Weaver on the Moss Hall Aqueduct.
At Hall Green are an isolated pair of locks with a characteristic Shropshire Union stable block, which still clings to life. We stopped on Nantwich Embankment for a quick spot of shopping. This was between 16:30 t0 16:45. The visitor moorings were chockers, so Neil stayed aboard as we were on a rather prone corner, just after Nantwich Aqueduct.
In true TNC fashion onward we ploughed, determined to get through Hurleston Locks at the beginning of the Llangollen Canal, making a start, to get clear of next mornings rush. So we arrived at Hurleston Junction at 17:20 and started on the Flight of Four Hurleston Locks, following up another boat.
Eventually we gave up for the night, on the deep piled moorings just above Swanley No 1 Lock. Eat on board that night.

Friday 2nd August 2002.

07:00 start, Linda did  the early morning dog walking by going to set Swanley No 2 Lock. We passed a lot of moored up for the night boats and had rather free passage all the way until the Grindley Brook locks. Wrenbury electric lift bridge was done for us by a down coming boat, so even here we managed to stay ahead of the morning departures from this popular overnight mooring spot.
There was only three boats going up the Grindley Brook staircase and we were out at the top at 12:05 with free passage, seeing as the other boats directly in front had stopped for lunch / water.
Two new water points were noticed on the off-side just before Bridge No 48 in Bettisfield. 16:30 saw us pass the Meres at Ellesmere.
We passed Frankton Junction at 17:40 and managed to catch sight of the opening times of the locks. We needed them, seeing as we had planned to go down the Montgomery Canal on the way back.

10:00 - 12:00 Saturday
14:00 - 16:00 Sunday
09:30 - 10:30 Monday to Friday
14:30 - 15:30 Monday to Friday

We were thinking of stopping at the Narrowboat pub at Maestermyn Bridge No 5, but carried on past (18:05) seeing as there were no moorings left on the wharf. (seeing as the pub is owned by the boatyard, they allow free overnight mooring if you are visiting the pub)
The stop for the night (18:40) was at the next available venue - the Harry Myton Inn (01691 679861)
at Hindford Bridge No 11. Cosy, comfy bar serving a range of real ales (including Timmy Taylor's Landlord) and extensive restaurant in a sprawling complex - food up the the same standard as our last visit.

Saturday 3rd August 2002.

We were going to try for a crew changeover in the centre of Llangollen - but this was dependant on getting a mooring!
Cast off was at 07:00. Free passage until Chirk. The shallow section after Whitehouses Tunnel, was much improved since our last visit, with a lot of bank protection having been undertaken above Irish Bridge No 29. Having passed over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct we turned left at Trevor Junction and started up the narrow feeder to Llangollen.
Linda got out at walked from Sun Trevor, to act as policeman for the narrow single file concrete trough sections. Arrival at Llangollen was not ideal, we got the last barely 60ft spot (12:25) on one of the water point, then started the "long" fill up.
Car parking was also not brilliant and Julian E could not get the Passat that near. Eventually we shoved off at 13:50, up to the winding point, then back to the outskirts of Llangollen, by Llanddyn Lift Bridge No 44, after the first lot of narrows as you exit Llangollen. Not bad moorings here, concrete bank and room for boats to pass.
The new crew consisted of Neil, Martin Clark and Julian Edgington; Linda, Peter and Wendy having departed. That night we walked back into town and searched around for a restaurant, we ended up in the Simla Indian (01978 860610) OK.


The Anchor pub at High Offley on the Shropshire Union Canal. This is one of the most wonderful, truly original canal side pubs left anywhere, beer straight from the barrel via a jug and no fast food.


Sun Trevor. One of the last wide bits, up the navigable feeder before Llangollen. Llangollen Canal.


Llangollen Wharf. Llangollen Canal.


Coming back down from Llangollen Wharf you pass this this characteristic cottage. Llangollen Canal.


Looking back at Llangollen Wharf. Llangollen Canal.


Looking back down from the visitor moorings in Llangollen. Llangollen Canal.


Looking back up at the visitor moorings in Llangollen. Llangollen Canal.


Coming back down the narrows just before Llangollen. Llangollen Canal.


Our moorings in Llangollen, just downstream of the first narrows, above Bridge No44. Llangollen Canal.

The Tour Continues...


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