Shroppie Sunset. 10th March

Audlem Lock 3 to River Tem Aqueduct

As ever on a Saturday we were on the hunt for a newspaper. With just over a mile to walk or cycle back to Audlem you would have thought that would have been where we headed to. But it was raining when we woke and due to continue for a couple of hours (Frank wouldn’t have been put off!). So we decided to sit out the rain and then continue onwards to reach Market Drayton where there had to be one copy of our paper left.

The towpath would change sides today, so we made use of it being on the easier side to empty  the yellow water tank, once it had stopped raining. Then we pushed off and continued our climb. There are quite a few locks on the Main Shroppie, but they are grouped in flights, with the exception of Wheaton Aston lock and the stop lock at the end of the canal. We had two more to do of the Audlem flight to be able to tick them off.

Going large

The cottage by the top lock is having quite a bit of work done to it. We’d heard rumours of a large extension being built. At first glance it does look huge, but then you realise that the original lock cottage was single story and they have extended some of this upwards. It’s not going to be an architectural masterpiece, but the large first floor window will have great views down the flight. Due to all the building works the little cabin, normally full of cakes and goodies, was empty. No need to have spare change in your pocket today. Maybe there will be some treats put out for Easter?

Magically opening gates

After a gap of just over a mile we arrived at the bottom of the Adderley flight. These have older wooden, slightly rotting, bottom gates, these I can normally kick open, the metal ones are not so easy. My back feeling much better today I gave them a shove to open them up. Sadly my legs are not long enough and I’m not brave enough to hop back over the gap with one gate closed to close them again. So there was still a walk round to close the bottom gates.

There were a few walkers on the towpath, some of them helped as they went, bottom gates on empty locks miraculously opened before us, Thank you. Reaching the top didn’t take us long and then it was the three or so miles to Market Drayton. Mick paused in a bridge hole at one point as he had moved our starboard centre line to port (it’s the longer of the two) to make life easier, but now as the towpath was changing sides it would be better for it to return to starboard.

Oleanna smilling because she knows she's better than she would have been

The first stretch of moorings at Market Drayton are noisy with a busy road. Then there are permanent moorings which you can moor opposite, but only overnight as you’d be in their way should they want to head off on a cruise. The short stretch that followed didn’t appeal either so we carried on past Betton Wharf and under the next bridge where there was plenty of space for us. Here Tilly would have trees and a playing field to amuse herself.

Betton Road Bridge

Mick patiently had lunch before he headed into town for our paper. Asda didn’t do well, so he had to venture further to WH Smiths and then Lidl for a few essentials. We’ll venture out tomorrow to stock the cupboards, we’re almost out of wine!

PoppiesThe remainder of the afternoon I popped a large pot of chilli on the stove to gently cook and set about checking a couple of knitting and crochet patterns for some friends in Scarborough. Animated Objects are enlisting local community groups to make them a mass of poppys for their ‘Stories Of Remembrance’ project which will be on display on Armistice Day. Before sending out the patterns they wanted to make sure that they weren’t written in gobbledygook, an extra pair of eyes is always useful.

Shroppie sunset

This evening we have been treated to a very red sky. A couple of years ago we had a spectacular sunset near Norbury Junction, the Shroppie knows how to do sunsets.

DSCF7114sm7 locks, 5.09 miles, 0 cakes, 2 almost dry boaters, 1 smiling boat, 1 disused workshop, 2 spring lines, 1 mid afternoon paper, 3 poppys, 1 vat of chilli, 1 very red sky.