Well,this week we are on the Shropshire Union canal,or,as it is more commonly known,The Shroppie.Three separate canals,The Ellesmere,The Chester and the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction canals were merged,in the middle of the 19th Century,to form,what is now,the Shropshire Union Canal.It is just over 66 miles long and has 47 Locks between Autherley Junction,where it joins the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal,and Ellesmere Port,where it joins the Manchester Ship Canal.Though I love all our canals,the Shroppie is one of my favourites,having cruised its entire length,and various other parts of it at different times,when we hired boats.There are some great places on here and we are moored at one of them as I write.We are in the middle of nowhere,a mile or two south of the village of Brewood,pronounced Brood,on one of the Shropshire Union Canal Society moorings.This Society takes a lot of pride in the Shroppie,which is evident wherever you go,but non more so than at the moorings they maintain.Just outside our lounge window someone has hung some bird feeders and there are many different varieties of birds feeding here all day long.
Last Tuesday,while we were still in Penkridge,out came our Senior Railcards and we got the train for the six minute journey to Stafford,the County Town,and we were pleasantly surprised.From the station we walked across the very nice Victoria Park into the town where we found a variety of shops that the villages we visit,and even a town like Penkridge,don’t have.We were able to get some of the things we need to enhance our life on Chyandour.I don’t want to screw anything to the walls on our boat so we use those Command hooks that stick on and can be removed without damage.Thanks to Google I’ve discovered there are a number of different types and there are some that enable us to fix pictures to non vertical walls like we have on a narrowboat.On Wednesday morning we visited the Market in Penkridge,filling up the refrigerator with meat and replenishing our stock of fresh veg so we wouldn’t need to shop again for a few days.Not having a freezer on Chyandour hasn’t proven to be a handicap,in fact,we have access to a lot more fresh food being on the canal as there are still the more traditional Butchers,Bakers and veg shops in some of the villages.We left Penkridge on Wednesday afternoon and cruised about six miles till we found a nice place to moor in the middle of nowhere again,somewhere nice and peaceful,just above Deptmore Lock.
On the left is part of Victoria Park in Stafford,this was taken from the bridge over the River Sow which flows through the park.On the right is Penkridge Goal and Stocks.The building was converted to a goal in 1785 but the stocks have been there for 500 years.
Thursday,Friday and Saturday we spoilt ourselves a bit and moored next to a pub,one that we have visited on our travels before,the Fox & Anchor at Cross Green.The first thing I noticed was that they had installed WiFi since our last visit and that’s a bonus.A good pub with good beer,good food and free WiFi is as good as you can get,it also saves my data allowance.We have two sources of Internet access on Chyandour,we have tethering with my iPhone with Orange and a MiFi with 3 and so far we haven’t been without Internet anywhere we’ve moored,one or the other has worked,though the MiFi is top so far. While at Cross Green we went into the nearby village of Coven,I wasn’t allowed to be in the pub all the time you know,and there we found a pretty good chip shop and a number of other shops and,surprisingly,it wasn’t far to walk.I also managed to get some of my chores on our boat done,as I’ve said before,I do like to keep her tidy and it’s easy when the weather is as good as it’s been for the last few weeks.
That’s me walking alongside one of the locks on the Staffs & Worcs.The M6 Motorway is in the background,only a hundred yards or so from the canal.Lisa sets the lock and opens the gates,I bring Chyandour in,then we both do the rest.On the right is the Fox & Anchor at Cross Green.Now with WiFi it has everything.
On Sunday morning we left Cross Green and made our way along the Staffs & Worcs,a couple of miles or so,to Autherley Junction,where we disposed of our rubbish and filled our water tank,and then three more miles to where we are now.
The top row is of a narrow bit of the S&W,just wide enough for one boat with passing places.Bottom left is what I can see as I steer Chyandour through the narrows.On the right is a view of Wolverhampton Boat Club,on the Shroppie, with the footbridge and the crane that was used to lower Stop Planks into the canal so sections of it could be dewatered.
Today,Monday,we had a lazy morning,just pottering around the boat,before taking a very steady stroll along the towpath in the warm sunshine,to Brewood for a pint in the Bridge Inn at bridge 14.Now that’s the life we’ve signed up for.
Top left is the view from our lounge window,birdfeeders have been hung in the hedge and birds are feeding all day.Top right is a view along the canal about a mile or so beyond our mooring,Bottom left is Brewood village from the canal and bottom right is one of the cast iron bridge protectors on one of the Shroppie bridges.The tow ropes for the horse drawn boats got wet and picked up fine particles of grit,this made them like files which would have made very short work of the brickwork.As you can see even the cast iron shows a lot of wear.
Well.that’s all again for this week.Since our last blog we have done 7 Locks and 14 Miles,giving us a grand total of 168 Locks and 193 Miles since October 2012.Take care everyone.