Coole Pilate (what a great name for a village)

We wanted to get into Cheshire by the end of Tuesday so left Market Drayton in the morning.  I stopped in the local boat yard to fill up with water whilst Karen walked into town to get something we forgot on our trip yesterday.

Whilst filling up with water an old couple came by and made a great fuss of Buddy.  I told him to get back on the boat but they insisted they wanted to stroke him and both had tears in their eyes.  It transpired that their 13 year old dog had died the day before.
Soon after setting off we went down the five locks at Adderley…

…and the first of three honesty boxes/stalls that we passed at locks during the day.

This stone turnover bridge also acted as an accommodation bridge.  The wider accommodation side was to allow farm animals to cross the canal without escaping onto the narrower towpath side and thus onto the towpath itself.

After lunch we dropped through the 15 locks on the Audlem flight.  Two thirds of the way down is Audlem Wharf with the Shroppie Fly pub.   Shroppie Flies were horse drawn boats built in the mid 1850s that operated 24 hours a day as they carried perishable goods.

This fascinating building stands by lock 10 and was known as ‘the Shops’ by the old boatmen.  Built in 1914, it housed a carpenter’s shop, a stone mason and a blacksmith.  

At Lock 8 there was once a lock keeper’s cottage but this was demolished in the early 1960s because it had no road access.  This was a tad shortsighted as lock cottages without road access fetch a fortune these days.

Lock landings are usually available before and after each lock and supplied with bollards.  They allow crew to be picked up/dropped off or are used for queuing when there are a lot of boats waiting for the lock.  They are designated as lock landings everywhere we have been apart from the one at the bottom of the Audlem flight which made us both smile.

Leaving Audlem we passed this pleasant lake…

…and moored shortly afterwards at a place called Coole Pilate.  We were right opposite a field that was full of Canada Geese – we haven’t seen them for ages and now realise where they have been congregating.  Karen is really concerned that they are going to take over the world.

These are the 15 locks on the Audlem flight.


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