Well,we made it to Audlem as planned and we’ve had a good weekend.OK,the weather has been a bit Baltic but it could have been a lot worse and we’ve managed some sunshine,which has been in short supply around here for a while.We met up with some friends on Thursday and together we’ve enjoyed the delights of this little village that sits on the Shropshire Union canal.I said in our last blog that one of the pubs here,The Shroppie Fly,would be closed,well it was,till Good Friday evening when it reopened for business.That meant that we’ve had a full compliment of pubs to enjoy while we were here.There is still a lot of work to be done to get the “Fly” back to anywhere near its old self but at least it’s open,albeit,without food of any kind at the moment.
A few photo’s of the wharf area at Audlem.Top left is the lock cottage by Lock No.13.Top right is the deserted Shroppie Fly a couple of days before it was to reopen.Bottom left is Chyandour with Audlem Mill in the background.This mill houses a collection of canal art as well as a good selection of canal books and maps and other bits and pieces of canalia.At the bottom right is the wharf a few minutes later when it really started to snow.It didn’t last long though,and not long afterwards you wouldn’t know we’d had any.
A bit of a transformation of the “Fly” on Saturday.We had the pleasure of a group of Morris Dancers and they were ok,if you like that sort of thing that is.We are used to them being all in white,with just sashes and waistcoats being red or blue,we were told that there was no significance in this group being in pink.I did think that the dress was rather fetching though,just a shame it didn’t go well with the beard.
There are a few things to do here,other than the pubs that is.There are a number of circular walks around the local area,all of which are explained in a leaflet available in the mill,and of course,there’s the pastime of sitting,or standing,and watching the world go by.There has been an Easter gathering at the National Waterways Museum at the end of the Shroppie at Ellesmere Port,which is about 33 miles and 22 locks north of here.This has resulted in quite a few traditional working boats and their Butties passing through and it’s always interesting to watch the methods of boaters who’s boats are so very different from ours.The Butties,by the way,are unpowered narrowboats that are towed behind the powered boat,and in the days of working boats,they made it possible to double the payload.This was important when the canals were beginning to face competition from the railways.
On the left is a view up part of the flight of fifteen locks here at Audlem and on the right,a traditional working boat and its butty approaching one of the locks.The first boat enters the lock,leaving the butty outside.After the first boat has gone up the lock,it is drained and the butty enters.On a flight of locks,like the ones here,the butty is then bow hauled through and up to the next lock,which will then be empty because the first boat will have gone up.Bow hauling is,of course,done by the crew,sometimes with the assistance of any willing bystanders.This particular boat is operated by a coal merchant who helps to supply coal to boats and others who live and work along the canals.There are a number of these coal boats on the system,each covering a particular area and some selling diesel and bottled gas as well as coal.
The left pic’ is the view from our lounge window after we had moved out of the wharf area when we filled up with water yesterday.On the right is a view of Audlem from one of the shorter walks around the village.St James’s church in the background which is quite an imposing structure for such a small village.It was built in the late 13th and early 14th Centuries.
That’s all again for this week I’m afraid.We will be moving on tomorrow,not far,but we would like a couple of days out in the wilds again.Since last Mondays blog,we have done 13 Locks and 3 Miles.This gives us a grand total of 191 Locks and 221 Miles since we set off in October last year.Take care everyone.