Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Market Drayton (a day full of kingfishers)

We had our first frost of the autumn on Monday morning and it promised to be yet another sunny day even though it was a bit misty.

These sheep woke us up crashing through the undergrowth and baaing.

Just before stopping for milk at Gnosall we went through Cowley tunnel.  The tunnel is unusual in that it is left with the rough hewn rock rather than the normal brick lining associated with tunnels bored through softer rocks.

The skies were a beautiful blue as we approached Norbury junction.

The junction was where the Shrewsbury and Newport canal joined the Shropshire Union after climbing a long flight of locks.  All that is left of the canal is this length used for moorings and at the far end is a dry dock converted from the top lock of the disused flight.  Fortunately plans are afoot to restore the original 25 miles.

As mentioned yesterday this canal is a series of embankments and cuttings.  Many of the cuttings had almost sheer rock face sides - amazing to think they were dug out without mechanisation.

This means that where roads cross in cuttings the bridges tend to be higher than on other canals.

This particular bridge is really odd as it has a stumpy old telegraph pole in the middle.

Lock gates are often used in bridge holes on this canal rather than stanking planks.

At Knighton we passed an old chocolate factory and its wharf.  The sign indicates that the wharf was used between 1911 and 1961 to collect locally produced milk and ship the chocolate crumb, produced in the factory, down to Cadbury at Bourneville which we passed last Friday going into Birmingham.

Just before Market Drayton we went down the five lock Tyrley flight.  Karen was walking down to set the fourth lock and saw the pair of kingfishers at the top of this page.  Amazingly they were still there when I went past on the boat.  I lost count of the number of kingfishers we saw during the day.

We were warned about rocky protrusions in the last pound so stuck to the centre of the channel.

After arriving in Market Drayton we had a quick supermarket shop and then settled in for the evening as was getting cold again.

These are the five locks we went down today.

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