Saturday, 9 June 2018

Market Drayton to Nantwich

Thu 7th Jun  Market Drayton to Coxbank

We were woken early by a peacock somewhere across the canal out of sight. James got up, and looked out.  He couldn’t see the peacock, but what he did see was somewhat surprising. The boat behind us was diagonally across the canal.  The bow rope was still tied, sharing our ring, but the stern rope was no longer attached. Not wanting to disturb the sleeping occupants, he left it until about 8.30am, when he walked along their gunwale to fetch their centre line, and pulled the boat in to the side, tying on the stern line again.

Boat across canal

Where it should have been

Moored up again

We made an early start, passing an alarming grass plant on another boat, and the unusual WW11 pillbox on a concrete plinth by the bridge

Grass hairdo


We paused at the facilities point beyond the bridge for elsan, water and rubbish, before heading off past Elisha’s mooring.

Elisha (belongs to Malcolm and Stephanie)

There were no boats around as we travelled nearly three miles to Adderley Locks

Adderley Locks

We had hoped to moor at the bottom of the five locks at Bridge 72, but the mooring was fairly full and we spotted several dogs running loose – not ideal for Hugo. It was also in full sun.

A mile later after bridge 74 there were more mooring possibilities, but it was in a cutting, and very dark.

We decided to go on down the first two locks of the Audlem flight.  Just coming out of the top lock was a CRT work boat. The CRT guy operating the lock was not setting a very good example, leaving his windlass on the spindle, closing two out of three paddles before opening the gate, and dropping the paddle gear without using the windlass.

By the top lock was a small kiosk selling buns, cakes, drinks and ice creams, with an honesty box.


Audlem Locks

There were several boats coming up the flight towards us. There was a gardening team using strimmers and leaving loose grass cuttings everywhere.

What is this bush?

Wild rose.

We moored two locks down at a place called Coxbank, where there were rings, views, and some shade to begin with. When the sun moved round we put up the parasol in the front of the boat. James walked back to the kiosk later for ice creams. It was very hot!

Several Russell Newbery boats came past heading for their rally in Ellesmere Port next week.  Hugo brought us a present of a field mouse, sadly expired.

7 locks, 5 miles, 1 mouse

Fri 8th Jun  Coxbank to Audlem

Unexpectedly it was raining when we awoke this morning.  The hood was already up to keep off the sun, so James put up the side as well. We had planned to set off early, but we changed our minds and had a leisurely breakfast.

When the rain stopped at around 10.30am, everyone left at once. There had been five boats on the moorings, but five minutes later there were none.  There were lots of boats going both ways on the locks which made it easier.

First lock of the day

7 miles to Nantwich

We saw a CRT Licence checker – the first one we have seen since Fradley Junction. Then we saw a steam narrowboat called Ictus. This was built in 1989 as a cruising art studio for renowned waterways artist Garth Allan.  The skipper let off steam as we took a photo.


Old lock side buildings

We moored on rings after lock 11, on a high embankment at Audlem.

We went to explore the village, and discovered Audlem Mill, with lots of craft items and books. Surprisingly, there was a small section of chandlery, and James bought a mooring chain with rings at each end. We have one already, but we had said we needed another.

We then explored the village, which is beautifully kept with flowers everywhere. We bought some items at the butchers, and also at the Co-op.

We visited the Bridge Inn to check that the Monday music session was still happening, and they told us that it had moved to the Shroppie Fly.  We went to the Shroppie Fly and verified that it was on Mondays.  As we left there, we met Roger, from Ragged Robin, returning from the shops. He has taken a berth in Overwater Marina.

Moored in Audlem

9 locks, 1 mile

Sat 9th Jun  Audlem to Nantwich

Two boats came up before we went down, which meant that locks were in our favour.  There seemed to be a lot of water coming down the flight, and the bywash at lock 12 was quite fierce.

Lock 12, Audlem

The bywash

We stopped for water and rubbish at the facilities point, just after Audlem Mill and by the Shroppie Fly.

Audlem Mill

Shroppie Fly.

We only had four locks remaining of the Audlem Flight, and we noticed good moorings between 13 and 14, which we plan to use on the way back, when we stop for the Monday session at the Shroppie Fly.

The last lock of the Audlem flight.

Soon after this we spotted Tim and Hilary on Willowbrook, so we paused mid-stream for a further chat.  

Tim and Hilary on Willowbrook

Then we moved on into Overwater Marina where we needed to replace a gas bottle.  As we entered, we were hailed by a couple on a table outside the cafe.  We moored temporarily on a pontoon, as the service wharf was occupied by hire boats on turn around. We walked round to the cafe to see who it was that had called out, and we found Graham and Joan, who used to have a boat called Calypso, and who took part in BCF missions a few years back.  They sold their boat some while ago due to ill health, but their son has bought a boat called St Christopher, and they are using it sometimes.  It was great to meet them again. Another Divine appointment. If we hadn't run out of gas we would have gone past.

While we were there, St Christopher appeared, crewed by the family, and covered with decorations and a big 70 in helium balloons at the front. It was Joan’s birthday in a few days time, and Grahams today.

Graham and Joan

Birthday surprise.

We bought our gas, plus another windlass, and we followed them out of the Marina. They kindly let us pass, as we were going further than they were.  We also found Roger on the footbridge, so we introduced him to Graham and Joan.

 Leaving the marina behind St Christopher

We saw Oyster Catchers in a field – too far for a photo. We also saw what looked like a pink elderflower bush, and a bank of ox eye daisies.

Pink elderflower?

Ox eye daisies

More artistic paintings

The two Hack Green locks were ready for us as a boat was just leaving the top lock, and another boat was rising in the bottom lock.

Hack Green locks

Jersey cows

Spooky tree

We were looking for shady moorings, but since the canal here is mostly running North-South, and the towpath is on the right (East) side, the afternoon sun shines onto the towpath.  We ended up moored on the very high embankment in Nantwich, where there wasn’t any shade.  Thankfully it started to get slightly cloudy, which took away the worst of the heat.

Nantwich embankment

The path down

Nantwich Aqueduct

James went to look at the bus timetables, and found that buses do run on Sundays, but not until 1100. That will be too late for church but OK for returning with shopping later. The church is just over a mile away.

We spotted a boat called Rosalan last seen two years ago on the Huddersfield Canal. Andy and Jane weren’t around. Maybe we can catch up tomorrow.

6 locks, 6 miles

Next: a visit tomorrow to the Elim church in Nantwich which sounds lively. Shopping!  Then a few days doing not a lot until Friday when we need to moor somewhere (Venetian Marina probably). We will hire a car to go to the Middlewich Folk Festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  There is an open air service there on the Sunday morning.

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