Monday, 14 May 2012

Easter 2012 - Whixall

Easter 2012
Marbury to Whixall
April 2012

12 miles - 8 locks - 5 hours

The forcast wasn't encouraging - wet turning to very wet with a temperature of 7c feeling like 3c - Brr.

Wand'ring Bark on the Prees Arm

Our mooring above Marbury Lock was somewhat blighted by a goose with a territorial streak about him. He strode up and down a patch of dredgings and honked his superiority every 15 mins or so. OK in the evening but a bit tiresome at night.

It was a slow slog through the isolated locks with the rain getting heavier and heavier. Its days like this I start to wonder about my choice of holiday. We were fortunate with Grindley Brook having a wait of just 10 mins before we were into the staircase. I was told that the evening before there were 15 boats waiting to ascent at 5.00pm and they were still coming through at 8.00pm with a residual queue there again at 8.30am this morning.

We lunched as we filled with water above Grindley Brook and I was puzzled when the tank never overflowed. I eventually looked for a reason and discovered a passer by had turned the tap off when he spotted it overflowing. Very thoughtful. It was then a short run on to the Witchurch Arm, a short section of canal we had never visited. Its a quiet little backwater with a good winding hole at the far end beside the moorings.

The shame of the Witchurch Arm is that it fails to reach the town itself. Its a 15 minute walk to the town centre following the line of the old canal which terminated in what is now the town park. There is talk of a restoration project but so far progress has stalled at the winding hole.

Whitchurch Junction

 The route could follow the stream which flows down the valley, and I have to say that the town of Witchhurch is well worth visiting with its broad range of shops, pubs and amenities. We restocked at Tesco's and then had a bit of a slog back to the boat. In the end our two hour walk into Witchurch was under a watery sun which represented the best of the day.

End of the Witchurch Arm

Our destination was Whixall Marina at the far end of the Prees Arm but before that there were numerous lift bridges to negotiate as we crossed the remote Whixall Moss. Along the way we passed Peter Scott on Copperkins 2 - another candidate for the C&RT Council.

We moored at the extreme end of the Prees Arm, opposite the BWML marina which is one of our favourite spots. Many use the junction as an overnight mooring  and its a shame that so few venture up the mile or so of narrow and twisting channel, under two lift bridges. This remote spot is well worth visiting - but there is much more to the Prees Arm.

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