Wow, summer has really arrived. What a lovely weekend it has been, for those who differentiate the weekend from every other day.
We have always liked Market Drayton, whilst being very sorry that the town centre is so depressed, with many empty shops. We walked along to the aqueduct and along the back road into town by the River Tern. There are steps up to the church so we climbed up to admire the view over the valley, and went along the high street to Lidl. Alan loves German frankfurters so when we got back to the boat we had an early lunch of frankfurters and fried onions.
It was just on 12.00 when we set off south. The five Tyrley Locks are in a beautiful setting, especially the approach through the cliffs. A lady from NB Debdale spotted us coming just as she started to fill the locks for their descent from the lowest lock pound and kindly opened the gates again and waited for us. It was particularly kind because that pound is a nasty one to wait in with a rock shelf on the towpath side and two strong by washes powering down on either side of the second lock. Debdale was grounded by the time we came out and had a lot of trouble getting off the side. Meanwhile another boat had started descending the second lock. In these circumstances it would be much better if they had waited for us to ascend before jumping in to fill the lock and add a third boat into the equation. When we exited the second lock we advised the next boat coming down not to leave the lock until they had a clear run straight from one lock to another. I had completely forgotten about this since the last time we went through these locks eighteen months ago, (and it was winter then and far less busy). The rest of the flight was uneventful and pretty speedy as the locks were set in our favour.
Almost immediately after Tyrley we were into Woodseaves Cutting. No walking on the towpath here, even in summer its muddy with the occasional green pool swarming with insect life. I spotted what I think was a buzzard up in the trees and it was all very green and cool. Just before Bridge 57 another boat waited a considerable time for us to pass, strangely in a place that was considerably narrower than the stretch we had just passed through. They had very glistening paintwork, perhaps that’s why they were so nervous. A second boat waited on the other side of the bridge, again in a very narrow place. A little further on we went through the area of the huge rockfall. It was obvious that a large section of rock face had come down and huge rocks and piles of earth cleared from the canal edged the towpath for a considerable distance.
Country mooring seemed attractive today and we pulled in to the side where there was a good view of the Wrekin just past Little Soudley. We are settled now but rather regretting our decision as we are banged on the dreaded Shroppie shelf by every boat that goes past, as ever, too fast.
Today we did 5.32 Miles and 5 Locks
Statistics so far:-
2785.51 Miles, 1752 Locks, 177 Swing Bridges, 97 Lift Bridges, 50 Tunnels