Since last weeks blog we have moved a little farther up the Shroppie to the town of Nantwich,a lovely little town with lots of Tudor style,timber framed,black and white buildings.Apparently,there has been a settlement here since Roman times when salt was processed for the garrisons at Chester and Stoke on Trent.The Shropshire Union canal passes about half a mile west of the town and is raised on an embankment with a cast iron aqueduct where it crosses the Nantwich to Chester road.The Engineer for the aqueduct and canal was Thomas Telford and it was built around 1836.It seems the local landowner refused permission for the canal to cross his land,to the west of here,so a more costly and difficult embankment had to be built.As with other embankments,this one also suffered from costly and time consuming landslips. There are boating facilities here,alongside the canal,including showers and a launderette,together with diesel,gas,coal and a chandlery,so it’s a good place to stop for a few days.
A couple of pic’s of the buildings in Nantwich.I have always wonder why buildings like these always look as though their builders had never heard of a spirit level.
There’s Telford’s 1836 aqueduct that carries the Shroppie over the Chester Road.On the right is a pic’ of some of the Almshouses here in Nantwich that caught my eye.The windows are a window cleaners nightmare and the chimneys,well,if your going to have a chimney,then at least have proper ones like these.
We left Audlem last Tuesday and stopped off at the moorings at Coole Pilate for a day or two.About four miles south of here,Coole Pilate is another of the SUCS moorings and this one has picnic and barbeque tables alongside the neatly trimmed towpath.The towpath was trimmed the day after I took these by the way,just before we set off for here.
Coole pilate moorings.It did brighten up and one day we had some lovely sunshine,though it was still cold.
On the left is a view out over the fields as we were leaving Audlem and on the right is Lisa opening the second of the Hack Green Locks as we left Coole Pilate behind.
While we were at Coole Pilate we walked to Hack Green to have a look at the Secret Nuclear Bunker.This was one of the bunkers that would have been used by the government in the event of a nuclear war with the old Soviet Union.As well as the,now redundant bunker,Hack Green had been one of the RAF bases that had been used,during the second world war,as a bombing decoy site.These sites,originally called Special Fire or SF and then later,Starfish sites,were used to lure Luftwaffe bombers away from major cities with fires and lights.The one at Hack Green was used as a decoy for the main railway centre at Crewe.The Nuclear Bunker is well worth a visit and even though I lived through the period that it was operational,it is quite an eye opener.It’s unlikely that things would be handled in the same way today though.
Some pic’s of the inside of the bunker at Hack Green.The bottom right is a mock up of how a Russian Command Centre would have looked.We were watching them watching us,watching them,etc. etc.
On the left is a somewhat knocked about wood and metal sculpture of a horse,symbolising the horses that once pulled the narrowboats along the canals.There are a number of other sculptures on the towpath close to here but you need to see them for yourself.On the right is the aqueduct viewed from the canal embankment,give the engineers their due,they didn’t build bland structures like they do today.
Well,that’s all again for this week,we should be up on the Llangollen Canal next week as we make our way steadily towards the Pontcysyllte aqueduct and Wales.Since our last blog we have done 4 Locks and 6 Miles,giving a grand total of 195 Locks and 227 Miles since October.Take care everyone.