Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Butterflies in Gnosall



Unlike the South, Tuesday morning was very windy and grey.  It was too windy to travel so we stayed put waiting for it to die down.  Amazingly two boats thought differently and both were caught by the wind as they went past us.  Both of them scraped all down the side of us and the second one didn’t even bother to shout an apology!

Little did we think that it would be a day of butterflies including one rescue.

Poor Karen was worried about her flowers in the wind.

By 11 the wind had died down and the sun came out so we set off to break the back of the journey to Market Drayton.  The Shropshire Union was one of the last canals to be built and was built at the same time as the railways were starting.  Consequently it was constructed like the railways; straight and level with high embankments and deep cuttings.  We find it amazing that these were built by hand without mechanical aids; steam powered shovels weren’t available then.

We stopped for water and fuel at Norbury junction and washed the boat.


At Gnosall (pronounced No-Sell) we popped into the butchers to get the meat we needed for our wild garlic recipe.  Butterflies were out in force – in fact I don’t remember seeing so many of those that over winter as adults, such as Peacocks, Brimstones, Commas and Small Tortoiseshells.  Karen managed to get a few pictures.  Here is a Comma.

A Small Tortoiseshell.

And a Peacock on our pots.

We also saw our first Orange Tips and Small Whites of the year.  At one point a Small Tortoiseshell got caught in a cobweb and ended up in the water – the picture of me nearly falling in was when I rescued it.  We went under this really unusual bridge with an old telegraph pole in it.


Cowley tunnel is not brick lined like most.
 
This old car was amongst many old items such as a Fordson tractor and a Mk1 Land Rover in this small holding.

At Shebdon we passed an old chocolate factory and wharf.  The chocolate crumb was made here using local milk and then transported by boat down to Bourneville in South Birmingham to be refined into chocolate. Apparently dried milk is made here now.

There are very few locks on this canal so every so often a lock gate can be seen under a bridge.  These are closed when a section of the canal needs to be drained for maintenance.

We saw our first ducklings of the year – just after we saw these we saw another mother with 12 ducklings.

We moored for the night in yet another remote spot...
 
... with a heron patrolling up and down.

Karen used the wild garlic leaves we cut the other day to make a wild garlic, fennel and chilli pasta dish - yum, yum!



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