Yesterday we turned on to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and immediately moored up for the night. This morning we travelled about half a mile along it and turned off on to the Shropshire Union Canal (“the Shroppy”) . There is a stop lock at the junction with a drop of six inches. This took surprisingly long to operate as the tail gate wouldn’t open the whole way. We got half way out before getting stuck. Reversing and then closing and opening the gate fixed it.
There was a water point a short distance from the lock. The footpath here was annoyingly muddy – usually there is a hard surface at a water point. We filled up anyway, and managed to keep most of the hose out of the mud.
The wind today was still quite strong and cold, it was blowing across us from the side. At one point I realised that I could hide from the cold if I sat down with the back doors closed. That worked rather well for the long straight bits.
The Shroppy is a surprisingly straight canal. Many canals wander around the edge of hills and skirt valley sides to retain their height. We spent much of today on embankments and in cuttings with occasional gentle corners joining long straight sections. We crossed Watling Street on an aqueduct. It struck me that this roman road (now the A5) was also built in a straight line. We had a view of it as we crossed because we were on a long straight embankment above the surrounding land.
Mooring on the Shroppy is notoriously awkward. The way the the canal was constructed means there is often stonework under the water at the edge – referred to as the “Shroppy Shelf”. We intend to try mooring only at spots shown on the online maps as suitable. We used such a spot today for lunch, and then pressed on as far as the lock at Wheaton Aston. We worked through the lock and then stopped at the moorings just below.
In the village, a surprisingly well stocked little shop (other little shops are available) has provided us with bread, milk and much more. On the way back we picked up free range eggs, paying at the honesty box. The wind feels much stronger now we’ve come back to the boat, no wonder it felt cold.