Friday, February 05, 2010

A hint of spring

What a change in the weather today. Yesterday morning we
looked out on a snowy towpath and icy canal, this morning it was mild but grey, and this afternoon it’s been bright and sunny, even warm.

We moved from the flashes yesterday, just a couple of miles, to moor opposite Brambles Cutting.

Brambles Cutting moorings
This is a dedicated mooring with barbeque stands and picnic benches, set up 10 or 12 years ago, on the off (non towpath) side of the canal. Analogue TV reception was poor there, but with the introduction of digital, you can get a picture now. It’s very popular during the season, but no good for us as there’s no official access off the mooring, meaning dog walking isn’t practical. We usually moor just south and opposite.

It’s often that you come across rubbish discarded on the towpath. Anglers and boaters are of course the culprits, you can usually tell the difference. Carrier bags left by fishermen have empty sweetcorn cans, crisp bags and lager cans, while the boaters rubbish is more “household”, bread wrappers and milk cartons. But this morning we came across the oddest canalside detritus…..

A box of video cassettes, an economy sized bag of loo rolls (wet!) and a small butane cylinder. Weird!
If they’re still there when we come back up in a couple of weeks we’ll pick them up and deposit them in the bins at Anderton.

This morning we moved on, to and through Middlewich. Locks to do, proper ones! The first was Big Lock, so named because it’s…..big. Well, broad, anyway. This is the lock that was re-gated before Christmas and is the last broad lock on the T&M till Stenson, the other side of Burton Upon Trent.

Into Big Lock
Another 3 narrow locks swing the canal around the town centre to Wardle Junction and the branch over to the Shropshire Union.

Lock 72, Middlewich. It’s good to be doing locks again.
The Wardle Canal, all 150 feet of it, was built by the Trent and Mersey Canal Company to effect an end-on connection with the new (in 1827) Middlewich Branch running from the Shroppie at Barbridge. Having control of the junction allowed the Company to charge extravagant tolls to pass through to Middewich.

Up Wardle Lock with it’s pretty cottage alongside, and we’re officially on the Shropshire Union Canal (Middlewich Branch)

Wardle Lock

We moored a little further on, on the extensive visitor moorings for the town.
A bit of shopping in the morning, then we’ll move on out of civilisation. There’s a nice spot we know looking out over the Weaver towards Winsford.

BW's policy of disposing of disused canalside property has reached Middlewich. Townbridge Wharf is on the market for redevelopment. I wonder if the handy water tap will stay, or, like the rubbish skip, will disappear.

Locks 5, miles 5

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