Monthly Archive: June 2013

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Fish Friday

Bratch Locks to Rocky Lock: 5.1 miles, 11 locks       Off down the Bratch (three locks) this morning – its octagonal toll house at the top is very distinctive. By the middle lock the volunteer lockkeeper was tugging her sweatshirt off to get down to T-shirt level in the sunshine. She confirmed that this end of the canal is quiet at present; her home area of Penkridge, however, is seeing six boat queues and confusion.         At the bottom of the locks...

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Knights and damsels on the Staffs and Worcs

Brewood (SU Canal) to Bratch Locks (Staffs & Worcs): 10.23 miles, 7 locks          Cleddau arrived at Autherley Junction just after midday. A lady materialised and insisted on working the (3”) stop lock while her husband turned their boat round at the Junction, so as to return back down the Shroppie. A mile or so later at Compton Lock, the first Staffs and Worcs lock after the Junction, a local walker materialised, put his red rucksack down on the ground,...

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‘Ever forward, but slowly’

High Offley to Brewood: 14.2 miles, 1 lock           “Investigate the pub,” the Captain had suggested yesterday afternoon. “See if it does food.” The Anchor Inn had looked closed, seriously closed, though map books declared it a boaters’ pub. At about 6.30 a potter along the towpath confirmed its CLOSED status.        “Opens at 7,” called a lad from the front deck of a boat. “We know, we’re local.”          Intrigued, there was a repeat potter along the towpath...

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Straight lines on the Shroppie

Market Drayton to High Offley:  9 miles, 5 locks         For the last two nights Cleddau and crew had enjoyed a luxury berth: there had been easy pedestrian and vehicle access, with plug in electricity and a tap right by the stern. It was farewell to Tom’s Moorings this morning. The canal rather skirts Market Drayton but it was interesting to see how via frequent information maps and footpath signs the canal does its best to entice visitors into the...

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Jolly useful day

Moored in Market Drayton         “Can I give you a lift into Market Drayton this morning?” called the boater from the next pontoon. “Save you a long walk on a warm day.”  So a first trip by car today – driver comments and advice came thick and fast: “Town’s a bit run down, mostly charity shops, great breakfasts at Morrisons…”         First stop was the library, where jolly and efficient staff plied the Cleddaucrew with leaflets, explained the county boundaries...

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A whimsical wander

Adderley to Market Drayton: 4 miles, 5 locks        A short cruise brought Cleddau to today’s destination, Tom’s Moorings in Market Drayton. There have been few bridges, houses and roads; the canal route alternates between wide expanses of fields, often grazed by cattle and pretty tree-lined stretches. It seemed the (admittedly delightful) middle of nowhere – but where exactly where were we and where are we now ?  Close examination of the Geo Projects canal map reveals that last night’s...

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Hot Spot Audlem

Coole Pilate Moorings to near Adderley, 4.04 miles, 15 locks         Audlem Bottom Lock was a mile or so beyond last night’s mooring. Fairly frequently alongside the towpath other boats were moored. Then on the right appeared a whole array of boats, neatly parked beside pontoons in the recently opened Overwater Marina. It was breezy: a boat was struggling to exit the marina, poles were deployed and other hands recruited. Waterside was a large marquee, set up for a function...