Tuesday 26th March
We only stayed at Brewood overnight but Eileen took the short walk into the village. The village pronounced Brood dates back to 1350 and is an ancient market town, the entire market square is allegedly riddles with underground vaults and passages interconnecting the pubs and hotels around the square.
The landscape here is a mix of cuttings which are narrow in places and open fields, however we soon find ourselves passing under the busy M54. We pass the home of Napton boats and arrive at Autherley Junction an important and busy canal junction where the Shropshire Union Canal terminates and meets the much older Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. The stop lock only has a fall of around 6 inches, but the lock was insisted upon by the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal company to prevent the newer canal company stealing water from them!
We turn left at Autherley Junction towards Great Haywood, this is now a new canal for us having spent the whole of the winter on the Shropshire Union Canal. We pass some new housing before entering a very narrow cutting once known as Pendeford Rockin, here there is only room to pass at the designated passing places so we were grateful that we didn't meet any other boats. We moored up at Cross Green just a little way up from the Anchor Pub.
Wednesday 27th March
We leave Cross Green and head North towards Penkridge. This section of the canal is very rural and being a contour canal winds itself around the landscape. We soon pass Hatherton Marina and Hatherton Junction where the entrance of the former Hatherton Branch of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal used to connect with the Birmingham Canal Navigations. We leave you here as we pass through Otherton Locks.
Friday 22nd March
We stayed at Norbury Junction for about a week. Here we used the car for shopping, had some parcels delivered to our friends house and also decided to leave the car with them for a few weeks.
Norbury Junction was once the junction to the now disused canal to Newport and Shropshire, there is now a successful boat yard here.
We head southwards through the Shelmore Embankment, which caused Thomas Telford endless grief as the bank slipped and collapsed many time during its construction. by early 1834 it was the only section of the whole canal which wasn't completed. It wasn't until 1835, after 5.5 years of work and following the death of Thomas Telford that the embankment was completed.
Heading through Gnosall we pass through the short but interesting Cowley Tunnel, a mix of cuttings and embankments before mooring up near the little isolated village of Church Eaton for a few days. This is one of the longest trips we've done for some time.
Monday 25th March
We leave Church Eaton at around 0915 and head south to Brewood, its a cold and windy start but soon the sun shines for us and once again we are rewarded with some fine views. We pass through Wheaton Aston where we use the services and encounter our first lock for 17 miles and find a lovely little mooring in Brewood.
Friday 15th March
We had arrived at Shebdon Aquaduct on Monday 11th March completely unaware that Storm Gareth was on its way. The wind picked up that evening and Pat checked all of the ropes and attached a springer to the bow. Here we were trapped until Friday, however on Thursday, still too windy to cruise we decided to take the car down to Norbury Junction and we trudged back the 3.5 miles in the wind.
So Friday dawned cloudy, overcast but remains cold and still a bit on the windy side. We make our way through another deep cutting. This time Grub Street Cutting with its unusual double arched bridge containing a small telegraph pole. At one time the canal had a telegraph line running along its bank and the strengthening arch was used as a convenient sitting point for the short telegraph pole. The cutting is another example of Thomas Telfords engineering, in a bid to build his canal as straight as possible with as few locks as possible to allow working boats as little delay as possible as they attempt to combat the growing competition from the railways in the mid 1830's when this canal was opened.
We moored up at Norbury Juction where we stayed for the next week to catch up with our friends again before heading south.
6th March 2019
We left our mooring at Tyrley top lock where we had moored for a couple of days. We stopped here because of the torrential rain which started just as we arrived at the top lock. There are some attractive cottages at the top of the lock. The following day we walked back to Market Drayton to pick up the car and picked up some shopping while doing so. The next day we drove the car to Goldstone Bridge by the Wharf Tavern Pub and walked back to Tyrley Top Lock. So it wasn’t until 6th March that we left the top lock and cruised through Woodseaves Cutting to Goldstone Bridge.
Woodseaves cutting is about 2.7km long and in places up to 21.3 m deep. It has steep sides which are almost vertical in places. In the deepest part the canal narrows to about half of its normal width, thought to be to economise on excavation work, and passing another narrowboat along this section can be difficult. So glad that nothing came the other way!!
Hollings Bridge and High Bridge are two very distinctive bridges that tower over the cut, that appear to lead you into another world as trees and vegetation hang precariously to the steep rocky sides. The tow path here is always wet and muddy, and there are frequent landslides in this section.
The day started of bright and sunny and we took the car down to Shebdon and walked back to Goldstone Bridge where we had moored for a couple of days opposite The Wharf Tavern. In the afternoon we cruised for about 1.5 hours down to Shebden Aquaduct. But the wind had picked up and was biting cold so by the time we got there we were pretty cold. The stunning views however made up for it and we soon moored up by the aqueduct, unaware that Storm Gareth was on its way!!
Friday 22nd February 2019
We moved from our mooring near Bridge 66 up to Market Drayton and moored just before Bridge 63 for a few days. In town there is a small Asda, a Lidle and a Morrisons for provisions. As this mooring was at the back of some housing we stayed for a few days, topped up with water then moved passed Bridge 62 and moored again. While filling our water tank we met Shaun and Karen who watch our YouTube channel.
During our stay here we met up with some friends and picked up some medication required.
We stayed at Market Drayton until 4th March when we cruised up through Tyrley locks, this is a lovely stretch of canal with some great views and although still cold was a beautiful day.
As we approached Tyrley locks a training boat went up before us so all the locks were set against us. However that was not the main problem, because they were emptying the lock above us into the pound, the excess water was flowing faster down the by wash channels causing additional water flow. This made it difficult to enter the locks in the normal way, but enter with more power aiming at the by wash and using the force of the water to push the boat over to the lock entrance!!
It started to rain before reaching the end of the Tyrley flight, we pushed on and finally moored above the last lock.