Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Has Spring arrived?

A bit grey first thing but by mid-morning the sun had come out, the birds were singing, and I was out walking with Meg.

There’s a bridleway that runs for a few couple of miles to the east of the canal, making for a couple of enjoyable circular walks. We went north yesterday afternoon, to High Bridge and back.
One of the iconic images of the Shropshire Union is High Bridge, with a masonry strut across the span, mounting a telegraph pole.

A slightly different shot, taken from the towpath.
The remains of the Newport Branch, which used to drop through 17 locks to the town. It closed in 1944, and only the stub to the top lock, now used for moorings, is in water.

Newport Branch
Today it was south from Norbury, along the towpath to the end of the embankment, then back along the bridleway.

Signs of Spring?
Minor roads pierce the embankment in 2 places.
Meg looking for “tree rabbits” (squirrels)
Norbury Wharf

Incidentally, I learned a bit more about Shelmore Embankment last night. It appears that it needn’t have been built at all, if the local gentry had been more co-operative. Lord Anson, of Norbury Park, refused permission for the canal to cross his estate, fearing that it would upset the shooting. I’m guessing that Telford’s original survey didn’t take this obstacle into account, as the straight route from Bridge 37 to Bridge 38 would have been pretty much smack on the 325 foot contour, the same as the rest of this stretch. A 19c NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), then!

We moved down to the wharf for the services this morning and spotted a boat coming through the bridge towards us. We were surprised to see that it was Sue and Vic on No Problem. We knew they were ahead of us, and expected them to stay there!

No Problem makes an unexpected arrival at Norbury

They’ve decided to have the boat’s saloon refitted, and came back to Norbury for measuring up and confirming dates.
So we had the opportunity to catch up with the gossip. The dogs couldn’t, however, as Sue’s Meg and Lucy are still officially in quarantine after getting a bout of kennel cough at Christmas. Apparently it takes 3 months before risk of infection has passed. Our Meg was well frustrated at not being able to have a chase around with NP Meg!

I made a visit to the chandler, mainly for a fire brick set for the stove (the rear liner has cracked), but finished up with a few odds and ends as well.
Then we set off, in convoy, heading north up the canal.

No Problem under Bridge 40, Double Culvert Bridge
Sue’s on the towpath, with the K9s

We only went a couple of miles, pulling over at Anchor Bridge, while Sue and Vic pushed on to Tyrley. We both heading for the same place, Ellesmere Port, but, while we don’t need to be there before the end of March, they need to be back at Norbury for the refit before then. So we’ll not see them again till they’re on the way back down again.

Locks 0, miles 2½

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