Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Big One (16-7)

Wednesday 1st of August 2012

Autherley Junction to Aston Wheaton.

The rain continued for most of the night only easing around dawn. We were disturbed in the middle of the night at 3am when Poppy the dog started barking. A couple of people were observed hurriedly walking along the towpath on the opposite side of the canal.

The Napton Narrowboats boatyard at Autherley seems to have a good selection of hire-boats moored up in breasted pairs. This may be another sign of the poor weather so far this year. Now we have a twenty five mile section of the Shroppie with only one lock at Wheaton Aston before we get to the Tyrley five.

We were under-way quite early as there was a fishing match taking place where we had moored for the night. We intended to stop at "Brood" (Brewood) moorings and have our breakfast. However, the moorings were full so we had to plod on and eat on the hoof.

Brewood is also well known for its strange story regarding "Window Tax". At one point in the past the government of the day easily out-did Mrs. Thatcher's Poll Tax by charging people according to how many windows they had! Apparently, Brewood's answer to this was to build houses with no windows at all. To keep things looking right they then painted false windows complete with curtains and flower boxes on the front of each house.

The Shroppie has some narrow sections (close to bridge's 5, 6, 8 and 9) where it is one boat at a time. In some places there is an underwater ledge on the towpath side that can be as much as  three feet into the canal. We had just entered a bridge-hole when we encountered a boat coming the other way. We had to reverse out to let the other boat and butty through.

We knew we would have a good day as their was only one lock for the day. However on arrival we were number eight in the queue. After locking down we went onto the water point to fill the fresh water tank. The toilet block is out of use and has a "British Waterways are Aware" notice on the door.

We eventually found a spot on the Wheaton Aston visitor moorings.

Wildlife: Best spot was a Sparrowhawk patrolling a hedgerow.

Daily Total
Miles: 8.1
Locks: 1
Swing/Lift Bridges: 0
Tunnels: 0
Pump Outs: 0
Engine Hours: 3.6
Diesel: 0

Accumulated Totals
Miles: 1020.2
Locks: 748
Swing / Lift Bridges: 119
Tunnels. 18
Pump Outs: 12
Engine Hours: 2303.7


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