Thursday, 7 August 2008

Narrow and Rocky.

5 Locks, 17 Miles,1 Tunnel. Now moored at Market Drayton.

Due to poor internet services last night we were unable to post a blog so its a double whammy tonight. Although phone reception was also poor we just managed to make contact with Mr Tesco for our expected delivery last night. Whew. Tuesday we cruised in wet miserable conditions as far as Norbury junction where we caught up with Derek and Christina on Kalimera. There wasn't much to see but the sheer rock faces and rock walls along the canal were staggering when you think about how the navvies had to cut the canal through such a formidable terrain.

This morning we set off reasonably early in the hope of getting as far as possible before the threatened bad weather kicked in. We were travelling in warm overcast conditions but it was slow going what with moored boats, and meeting boats including a BW tug with 2 work butty's in some of the narrow sections, believe me these cuttings are narrow with just enough room to squeeze past another boat.

At Knighton we slowed for a close look at the old Cadbury's chocolate factory which is out in the middle of nowhere so to speak.There are 3 old restored working boats moored under the old overhanging canopy which is helping to preserve them. We had noticed that there are a lot of disused wharves along the Shroppie and it was apparently due to the huge quantities of milk churns that were taken to these wharves for collection by barge and delivered to Knighton. Many farmers just set up jetties at the end of the paddocks for the bargees to stop and collect the milk. The milk was treated and blended with cocoa and sugar before being shipped off by barge once again to Bourneville to be made into the final product.

The old Cadbury factory and note the name of the boat in the picture

At the Tyrley locks we joined the 4 boat queue for the locks and with a steady flow of boats in both directions locking was relatively easy. The only problem was in the pound between locks 4 and 5. A hire craft had hit the cill in lock 4 and dislodged his rudder so they had pulled him out of the lock but due to the rock walls of the pound jutting out into the water he was unable to moor up properly and he was making it difficult for boats negotiating between the locks.

When we arrived at Market Drayton moorings were scarce so we pulled into the water point as this is the last water for quite some distance. While filling the tank, a boat 2 boats behind us left, so we quickly disconnected the hose and reversed back into the vacated mooring. As the weather was still holding out we walked into town for a look around at this old world town. Upon our return the boat ahead of us left so we pulled forward to get us away from the nearby bridge.

1379 locks, 1999 miles, 45 Tunnels, 42 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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