The lovely picturesque canal soon turned industrialised with storage depots and a large chemical plant dominating one area we passed through. For the lads at work, no I'm not missing work one bit but.....
|Familiar sight and sound of work.|
|Hatherton Marina, the junction is to the right out of shot.|
We did not get chance to photograph it because of the other boat.
|Novel use for a wagon wheel|
Next we pass under the M54. The bridge here is currently being widened as part of improvements to the slip road and with its multitude of scaffolding and support trusses one cannot help but feel you are entering the bowls of an alien space ship straddling the cut.
|Felt like saying take me to your leader at this point|
|Now more a tunnel than bridge, should we put the tunnel light on?|
They were not kidding. At this point I would like to point out after leaving Gailey and travelled 6 miles we only saw one boat coming the other way After entering the narrows and travelled only 60 yards we were confronted with no less than four boats in succession!
|Entering the narrows at bridge 68|
|boats 2 and 3|
|No passing at this point|
|boat no. 4|
I have to say I was both relieved and a bit disappointed not to find a throng of boats coming and going. After putting Chris ashore to scout the junction was clear we only had to wait a few minutes for one boat to clear the stop lock before making the turn onto the Shropshire Union Canal and into the lock.
|The arrow pointing towards the camera says "To Chester"|
|Waiting for the all clear to make the turn|
|The Junction itself. Stop lock is just beyond the bridge portal|
|After the turn and entering the stop lock|
|Napton Boats and Chris disappeared for an Ice Cream and gifts|
We travelled at least half a mile before our passenger decided it had arrived where it wanted to be and jumped off.
At Pendeford itself I took the boat out of gear and coasted through the bridge 'oles as on the tow path at each one was a collection of rusting shopping trolleys, bicycles and other unrecognisable objects. Not wanting to play trolley roulette I took no chances until clear of the neighbourhood.
From this point the canal turns from the familiar Oxtail soup brown of the last week to a very dark bottle green and for the first few miles is incredibly clear. Since we left Crick we had got used to cruising at a throttle setting of between 12 to 1400 RPM to maintain a comfortable speed, however, since turning onto the Shroppie we have had to throttle back to 900 RPM to keep the speed down to the same level, as there is definitely a flow in our favour.
At one bridge we found a good way to sand and paint your boat in the cool shade under such and a few boats were making good use of this. The bridge walls resembling the colour swatch of many a good brand of boat paint.
|Cool spot to paint your boat out of the sun|
|For Jo and Keith. The owner knew of Hadar but we did not have time|
to get his name.
|Just after our encounter with the C&RT lad we came across|
this beautiful old lady, clearly well looked after.
|Ornate high bridges seem to be popular on this reach.|
|Lovely leafy vista but muddy tow path makes mooring a problem.|
|Or mooring tonight below the Bridge Inn, Brewood|
|Looking behind us|
|Our route today|
Total distance:12.60 miles Elapsed time:5h48m1s Locks:1 Bridges:40
Average speed:2.17 mph (2.35 lock/mph)