Thursday, 10 March 2011

Swindon to Pendeford Bridge (Shropshire Union Canal)

We left at 8.30 with an overall plan of 10 miles and 15 locks with a rather dodgy weather forecast - the main reason for such an ambitious (for us) cruise was the lure of a supermarket by Compton lock. We were out of veg, bread and milk, otherwise we would have stopped by Mopps Farm Bridge - a more reasonable 4 miles and 11 locks. There were no real options in between. So we set off leap-frogging the boats.
Because of th leap-frogging,when we came across a new, unmarked in the book, Sainsbury's by bridge 43 the boats were ahead of us and it was too late to stop them c'est la vie!

2 locks at Swindon, then the 2 Botterham staircase locks-here my day goes a little sour as the bloke that has bought the lock cottage is a long way short of genial (I do so love an under statement). Then into the pretty Bumblehole lock - I wonder if this name has any connection to the Bumblehole on Dudley No 2 Canal?

Th 3 sort of, but not quite, staircase locks at Bratch with their octagonal toll office

As Caxton leaves the top lock, we bring MR up in the second, by which time we have collected gongoozlers and the crew of 2 boats waiting to come down.
This is one of the boats waiting to come down - evidently a  prototype and one of a kind. This was designed to carry troops into specific inland areas and then beach/land them on riverbanks etc. The hook on the top was so that it could be moved by helicopter to the location required. It's not the 1st April is it?
Beautiful and unusual ballustrading on this one (the bridge, not Lesley)
Now somewhere just after this lock we spotted the 'supermarket' that had been the reason for our long day - our hearts sank as we saw 'Daisy-your local supermarket'. What a super place to shop - fantastic deli and butcher within and NOT at posh prices. Lesley and I got carried away and bought more than we could carry so they lent us a young man called Danny to deliver our goodies to the boat - if only Danny had been on bogof we could have had one each and kept them; to help with the locks of course.
Aqueducts and railway bridges just after Aldersley Junction with the Birmingham Main Line
A mini NB - approx 10ft long by 3ft high - a sort of NB Wendy House
Hang a left for Chester
and last....the Shroppie
MR hangs the left into the stop lock
and we move out past the pretty boatyard
Before mooring up with a gang plank on the Shroppie ledge under big skies at around 5.30am - a long but happy day.

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