We set off around 11 this morning; Mags refused to get up until the fire was blazing and the saloon had warmed up! I’ve been letting the stove out overnight, not a lot of point in keeping it going while it’s still fairly mild, and it took some getting going this morning. I’ve made the mistake of running out of firelighters, and the only kindling I could find in the hedge bottom was a bit damp after the overnight rain. Still, got there in the end. We’re at our usual 25°, now….
Leaving our overnight mooring, onto Shebdon Embankment
The principal of surveying a fast straight route for the canal was sound, in practice, these immense embankments were a continuous cause of problems during the construction. In fact, Shelmore Embankment, behind us now, near Norbury Junction, was the last section to be finished before the canal could be opened to through traffic. They still need regulart maintenance. At either end there are stop gates, just in case…
At Knighton there’s a milk products factory, now making powdered milk but built by Cadbury’s to take locally sourced milk and chocolate crumb to Bourneville for processing. The wharf and canopy have been preserved, although haven’t been used for their intended purpose since 1961.
The canal is fairly open past Soudley, with more extensive linear moorings on the offside. It’s these that make doing the Four Counties Ring in a week so difficult, especially late or early in the year. That’s if you stick to tick-over when passing, of course….
With less wind today it wasn’t such a chore gently motoring past, and there were fine views to the south and west.
The Wrekin, 14 miles away, and just visible to the far right is, I think, the conical mound of Breidden Hill, just over the Welsh border. That’s 27 miles…
It’s difficult to see in this shot, but if I adjust the contrast a bit….
There you go. Trouble is, it also emphasises the dust in the lens.
We pulled in at Goldstone Wharf, opposite the Wharf Tavern.
Way back, when we did the Ring on a hire boat with friends Val and John, we stopped overnight here and availed ourselves of the hospitality over there. Me a little too much…
Tomorrow we’ll tackle the first of the three lock flights, just five at Tyrley, then drop down into Market Drayton. Must put firelighters on the shopping list. And a new smoke detector. Our Fire-Angel has started to alarm even when there’s no smoke. I’ve tried cleaning it out but I’d rather replace it than risk it not working.
Before the locks, though, we’ve to negotiate the deepest and narrowest cutting on the navigation, Woodseaves. It’s reputed to be haunted, maybe we should be doing it tonight…
Locks 0, miles 4¾