Monday, 13 May 2013

The Middle of Nowhere.


Well,it’s not strictly the middle of nowhere,in fact we are about a mile,as the crow flies,from the little village of Marbury in Cheshire.We’re on another Shropshire Union Canal Society mooring and,having had lunch,we decided that we had cruised far enough for today,so staying here for a couple of days seems like a good idea.Lunch today was Duck egg sandwiches,the eggs we got from the stall with the honesty box at the last lock,Quoisley Lock.

It’s exactly one year ago today that I retired from work in preparation for an adventure,an adventure that we had set in motion with the building of Chyandour our narrowboat,but would really begin in October when she would be handed over to us,completed.Am I sorry? No,definitely not,what we are doing now is better than we ever expected,we are having a great time,seeing new places and meeting lots of nice people,and then moving on to see other places and meet other people.We couldn’t ask for more,life’s good.

After spending a couple of days on the SUCS moorings just before Hampton Bank,where the weather was simply beautiful,we moved up to some more SUCS moorings just past the junction with the Prees Branch.All the SUCS moorings are good in that you can be sure the water is deep enough,there are mooring rings to tie up too and the towpath is usually in good condition.OK,they can be a bit remote but that’s what we signed up for and there’s plenty of peace and quiet.The weather turned then and,as you are all well aware,it has been a tad wet and windy.I don’t want to dwell on the weather ‘cos it’s been pretty much the same for everyone,so, ‘nuff said.

Prees Branch 003 Prees Branch 005

A view South on the unnavigable section of the Prees Branch and there’s Mum sitting on her eggs.Don’t know what she would want with the Bubble Wrap,perhaps she bursts the bubbles when she’s bored.

Prees Branch 010 Prees Branch 022

Part of the navigable stretch of the Prees Branch and there’s me relaxing on Allman’s Lift Bridge number 1.No comments about the hair this week Eric please,they haven’t started sheering the sheep around here yet,when they do I’ll give some more thought to having a trim.

We spent our time at the end of the Prees Branch by walking around the nearby Wixhall Moss,or to give it it’s correct title,the Fenn’s,Whixhall & Bettisfield Mosses and also down the towpath to the Prees Branch Canal Nature Reserve.The latter being the stretch of the Prees Branch still in water but unnavigable.Both these places are worth the visit,not only as nature reserves but also for their history.The Prees Branch was another of those ambitious projects that was never fully completed.After about three and a half miles,it ended at Quina Brook in 1806,somewhat short of it’s intended destination of Prees.An interesting fact about Whixall Moss is that,in 1804,the water level of the bog had to be lowered by five to six feet to enable the canal to be built across it.There has been peat cutting at the Mosses for Centuries but in 1990 commercial cutting of peat was brought to an end and the area turned into a nature reserve.

Lisa's Prees Branch 007 Lisa's Prees Branch 011

Some of the peat that had been cut from the Whixall Moss peat bogs and how the land is being returned to it’s natural state now that commercial peat cutting has stopped.

On Friday we moved from the Prees Branch and progressed Northwards for about 5 miles to Whitchurch where we could stock up again with food and get a few other bits and bobs.When we got back to Chyandour we decided to stay overnight,for no other reason than we could ,and move on on Saturday.Now,I have a Twitter account and occasionally I post the odd Tweet or two and as a result of my Tweets we have been in contact with other Tweeters on narrowboats.On Saturday morning we had the pleasure of putting a face to a Tweet,if you like,for the first time.It was nice to meet you both,Julie and Jeff,the crew of another,Cat’s Whiskers.They were heading in the opposite direction from us,towards the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Llangollen,we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

From Whitchurch we moved on to another well known place on the Llangollen Canal,Grindley Brook,with it’s Staircase Locks.Three lock chambers where the top gate of one chamber is the bottom gate of the next and vice versa.We stayed there,doing not much of anything, until today,when we filled up with water and fuel,emptied the cassettes and made our way here.Just to say that our stay at Grindley Brook wasn’t entirely wasted,we managed a few pints of a varied selection of real ales that were available in the nearby Horse and Jockey,a pub that is well worth the short walk from the canal.

Grindley Brook 006 Grindley Brook 007

A drop of rain at Grindley Brook.We managed to take shelter under the old railway bridge just before the heavens opened.I wonder,has anyone mentioned to Mother Nature that it’s May now,not March or April? Oh,one more thing,Rodger and Pat,what was that you said last week about summer? Chimney’s still up.

Grindley Brook (2) 001 Grindley Brook (2) 003

There’s Lisa talking to the Lockie at the top of the Grindley Brook Staircase Locks.Now,are these lock gates leaking a tad?

OK,that’s all again for this week,we’re planning to move on again soon,but not sure where we will get to by next Monday,probably not far.Since last weeks blog we have done 9 Locks and 12 Miles,giving us a grand total of 249 Locks and 374 Miles.Take care everyone.

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