Boatwif Blog

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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...

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Busy, busy, busy

Calveley to Coole Pilate Moorings: 9.5 miles, 2 locks       Busy this morning: one crew member showered, washing machine in action, water tank refilled, mint and basil watered, rubbish disposed of, toilet compartments dealt with – and all before breakfast.      Busy on the canal this morning: boats from five different hire boat companies returning to base.        Busy at Barbridge Junction, boats approaching from the Shropshire Union to the south and the Middlewich Branch. The A51 Nantwich Road was noisy...

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New experience at Bunbury Staircase

Christleton to Calveley: 11.2 miles, 6 locks        Retracing a route allows views of familiar things from a different angle. Today’s course involved first the eight mile long lock-free pound from the Chester outskirts to Wharton Lock. Whereas on Saturday the route was boated in gentle sunshine, today the morning skies were leaky and the air chilly. Gloves again! The houses in the village of Waverton have those pretty gardens – and the one with the boathouse. Slowly the boat cruised...

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A tramp round historic Chester

Chester to Christleton: 2.5 miles, 8 locks        A guided walk – with a tour guide? It seemed like a good idea and indeed it was. At 1030 the little group of UK nationals (and one visitor from Minnesota) congregated outside Chester’s Town Hall for a 90 minute stroll plus commentary around the city.       In a place like Chester it helps to have some idea of historical era: the city has developed via contributions made by the Romans, Saxons,...

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An umbrella day

Ellesmere Port to Chester: 8.5 miles, 2 locks      It was a great day for umbrellas – but less of a good one for boat mooring.      Get up the two locks early from the lower basin before there was any boat traffic, assemble rubbish for drop off at the bins behind the Visitor Centre, sort laundry for the washing machine, refill with water, proceed to Chester, find a good mooring at Tower Wharf – that was the plan.     ...

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Tied up at Ellesmere Port

            10 am on Monday and the Cleddau crew were ready to start their exploration of the National Waterways Museum. From their mooring behind the Holiday Inn they wove their way off the islands, climbed a steep ramp to top lock level, wandered past a number of old working boats in varying states of restoration, trudged past a building or two and found a bridge across two locks to arrive near the Visitor Entrance.           “Can you advise us where is...