Rewind to Friday 26th August
Autherley Junction to Goldstone Wharf
One of the great joys of boating is the sheer variety that England’s canals, and climate, has to offer. After yesterday’s excess of locks and rain, today we had a day of blue skies, sunshine and one of the longest lock-free pounds on the system. We hardly took any photos yesterday, but today a kingfisher obligingly sat on top of a hawthorn tree for long enough for me to get several photos – such a difference!
We’d had a mercifully quiet night on the mooring and enjoyed a relaxed start, casting off at around 9.30am. However we didn’t get very far – as soon as we’d turned onto the Shroppie via the silly stop lock, we stopped at the hire base to get a pump out. We then moved a boat length onto the waterpoint and filled the tank. Archie and Henry were weary, once they’d had a good rummage at the junction, they were happy to settle as we set off along the Shroppie.
It was a day for services – we stopped at Wheaton Aston, well, it would be rude not to given that it has the reputation for being the cheapest on the system – today it was 51.9p per litre base price. We also got a new gas cylinder.
With various tanks properly full, or empty, we set off for a long afternoon on the lock-free pound. It’s easy to see why the Shroppie is so popular – it’s so pretty and there is a great contract between the cool, deep cuttings and the sudden embankments with breathtaking views across to the far Wrekin.
I dropped Richard off at Gnosall so that he could catch a bus to Stafford then a train back to Birmingham to retrieve his car and collect his new bike from Wolverhampton. The hounds and I carried on cruising, the late afternoon is my favourite time of day on the water and it was a welcome respite after a vexatious couple of days.
There were good moorings at Shebdon Wharf with the 5-day rings totally unoccupied; the long stretched of long-term online moorings made for slow progress but they were leavened by long stretches of unoccupied country canal. I envied nb Gorgeous George, that had bagged itself a prime mooring spot with a magnificent view of the Wrekin. I’ve always fancied mooring there, but it is very isolated so nigh on impossible for Richard to get back to the boat. As I cruised past I was very glad I hadn’t moored – nb Gorgeous George had a cat running loose around the towpath and adjacent field – could have been a close call with the hounds!
I arrived at Goldstone Wharf at 7.15pm – I’d just moored up and fed the hounds when Richard turned up on his shiny new bike. We went to the nearby Wharf Inn for supper – sadly dogs are only allowed in the garden but it was a bit chilly for sitting outside so we left them on the boat, but they didn’t seem to mind 🙂