We left our mooring yesterday morning at about 11:00, fine and sunny if a little breezy as we headed towards Brewood. The first of the cuttings was just after the first bridge.
Bridge 8, Park Bridge.
It actually looks more like a tunnel entrance than a bridge. The cutting isn’t very long, nor very deep compared to those further north.
The general run of the land is east-west, as the high ground around Cannock Chase drains towards the Welsh border. This means that the embankments and cuttings appear almost alternately as the canal encounters valleys and ridges.
Unfortunately, the villages tended to be established on the higher ground, so any associated moorings are in the gloomy cuttings.
Chillington Hall, the ancestral home of the Giffard family, lies to the west of the canal, and one of the carriage roads into the estate had to go over the canal. No ordinary bridge would do, though, it had to be in keeping with the family status.
Ornate Avenue Bridge
Brewood Church, dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin and St. Chad.
We moored in the village and I made a visit to the shops, but, as expected the towpath was a bit muddy so we pushed on out of town, stopping just before Bridge 15 as it started to rain.
Yours truly messing with ropes in Brewood
We decided to push on a bit further this morning, Wheaton Aston seemed a good place to wait out the stormy weather we’re due tonight.
Once again, it was a bright start to the day, but I decided to light the fire anyway. If I get wet I’d need to be able dry off!
The wind was a bit gusty, and the paper and kindling smoky, and when I opened the front doors……
Opening both ends soon cleared the fog, though, and we were on our way.
I thought we might have a bit of trouble crossing the A5 aqueduct, the wind was coming in strongly from the west, but we got across without touching the sides.
….and the A5
Heading through Lapley Wood Cutting I caught a glimpse of electric blue plumage as a kingfisher flew ahead of us. I made a careful note of where it settled… and got another blurred picture!
It was “interesting” at Wheaton Aston Lock. The landings are a bit exposed, making getting off them a bit of a struggle, and the lock chamber was full of leaves, clogging the propeller. There was a boat coming up as we arrived, who battled to get in then lost power coming out so ran down our offside gunwale. Just behind us had arrived a hire boat, so I sent them down ahead of us, as they’d further to go than us today. They could barely make headway out of the lock, a burst in reverse cleared the prop for a few seconds, but going forward fouled it again. It turned out that he had a load of plastic on the blades, too.
The steerer of the boat coming up had to hold off while the hirer got himself out of the lock, and was a bit uncharitable, poo-pooing the idea that it was leaves that delayed his exit… till he had the same trouble himself!
We dropped down without incident, pulled onto the services for water and the usual “offices”, then sneaked into the last space above Tavern Bridge. It’s the preferred spot for mooring in Wheaton Aston, the other side of the bridge is in a cutting (again), poor TV and manky path.
We’ll wait out the weather here, moving on on Tuesday. So long as we’re at Market Drayton by this time next week we won’t get stuck on the wrong side of the winter stoppage at Tyrley Locks.
Two days – Locks 1, miles 5