Friday, November 02, 2007

Well here we are in November, and still the weather stays fine and dry! We stayed near The Anchor yesterday as planned, I had a couple of long walks with Meg, and made a folding stool for use at the stern. That’s what I went to Focus for the other day!

Off this morning with just a short day planned. Down to Norbury Junction for the services, then stop at Gnosall for the weekend.

Straight into Grub Street Cutting, the colours in the sunlight are fantastic!

Autumn Colours in Grub Street

High Bridge, near the South end of the cutting. An iconic image of the Shroppie.
We reached Norbury after just over an hour, and found it a very attractive spot. We considered staying here, but, after doing the “necessaries” at the services, pushed on to Gnosall.

Norbury Junction
At this junction, the now lost branch ran to Newport, Shrewsbury and Trench. Only the section to the first lock remains, now used for moorings.

Newport Branch
Out of Norbury we crossed the impressive Sheldon Embankment, a major engineering headache and the last section of the canal to be completed, in 1835.
Shopped in Gnosall, but decided not to stay in the village as the visitor moorings are in cuttings, making the towpaths damp and muddy.

So we carried on through Cowley Tunnel. At 81 yards long it’s more of a long bridge, but it should have been much longer. During construction, dangerous faults in the rock led to opening out, leaving a long sheer sided cutting on the South side.

Cowley Cutting and Tunnel, South end
The remaining tunnel is unlined, looking more like a natural cave than a man-made excavation.

Cowley Tunnel, North Portal
We moored in the open a little further on, near bridge 31.
I took Meg for a walk this afternoon, on down the canal and through Castle Cutting. She loves running up the vegetation clad slopes, sending squirrels up trees, and pheasant up on whirring wings, with their “smokers cough” alarm calls ringing out.

Locks none, miles 5½

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