Sunday, 29 March 2009

South Pennine Ring - Goldstone to Nantwich

South Pennine Ring - Goldstone Wharf to Nantwich
29th March 2009
Shropshire Union

15 Miles
27 Locks
8 Hours

The weather took a glorious turn for the better. After yesterday's icy wind from the north today it was wall to wall sunshine, blazing out of an azure blue sky - the perfect spring day.

Tyrley Locks

And how better to start the day than a trip down my favourite three miles of the Shroppie including Woodseaves and Tyrley locks / cutting? The image of Woodseaves southbound was seared into my memory as a seven year old and the picture of a deep straight cutting with a high bridge creeping closer (but never reached) was a mental image I used during my adolescent years when sleep evaded me. I now fall asleep at the drop of a hat but my love of the cutting remains undimmed.

We has a lazy start, at about 10.00am by my watch but 9.00am in yesterdays "real" time. Patches of frost lingered in the shady depths, nipping my nose and numbing my fingers. However, this cold was short lived and Tyrely Locks sparkled in the morning sun, glinting off some miniature daffodils which surrounded the sign. They nodded their tiny heads in the morning breeze, acknowledging our progress down the hill.

Our progress down the Audlem flight was thwarted by the novice crew on "Invincible", a Challenger shared ownership boat who were tentatively finding their feet.
Audlem Flight
We paused outside the Shroppie Fly to refill with water and as I filled up, Belle popped inside the pub and emerged with two pints of very acceptable Flowers in plastic "takeway" glasses kept on board for precisely this purpose. The spring sun had brought out the bikers en mass and the outdoor seating area was packed. Our arrival proved to be an interesting addition to proceedings and we spent 15 minutes fielding "any questions" on all things canal.

The Shroppie Fly PH

Just above Audlem Bottom Lock we passed nb Debdale. Sadly the current crew of this shared ownership craft were not the editors of the Debdale Blog but awarded me 10:10 for observation.

As we exited the second Hack Green Lock we caught our first sight of our destination - the Pennines, three days cruising away in the north east.

We moored just short of Nantwich at the wide section between bridges 90 and 91, well away from both roads and rail. Time for a spot of fishing in the evening sun. I caught a tiddler and Jeff lost a good specimen - he therefore claimed a moral victory but as we all know, the ones which get away don't count!

A peaceful mooring under a starry sky. A perfect end to a perfect second day.

1 comment:

Adam said...

Debdale's various crews are getting increasingly used to this sort of thing! I have told them that most people who approach them are likely to be friendly.