Monday 5th October
Shebdon Embankment to Little Onn
The rain started overnight and it was a gloomy morning. We left our mooring with our wet-weather gear on about 9.30. It wasn’t cold, just damp and drizzly with occasional heavier showers. It brightened up as we stopped at Norbury Junction, and Dave went over to the chandlery and shop while I filled the water tank. He came back with milk and bread, both of which we were running out of, some fire cement and a chinaman’s hat – ours had vanished over the summer. Of course the rain started again as we left.
The old cars were looking incongruously smart and shiny tucked away in the woods behind the less-than-pristine boats.
And the obligatory photo of Grub Street Cutting’s High Bridge. It was raining quite hard at this point!
The overnight rain brought down enough leaves to need occasional bursts of reverse to clear the prop. At the end of Shelmore Embankment is a stop gate so that the rest of the canal can be protected if there is a breach.
We stopped at Gnosall for lunch, and by the time we were on the move the weather had cleared up, it was warm and there was even some blue sky. Is this what Scottish rugby supporters look like?
Through the striking Cowley tunnel, hewn out of the solid rock.
We attempted to moor soon after the High Onn moorings, but the ‘Shroppie shelf’ is very wide at this point – or at least there is something under the water there to stop you mooring! but we found a lovely spot a bridge further on at Little Onn. While it was still dry and bright we took Meg for a walk after her day tucked up indoors in the dry; we walked back to an apple tree full of red fruit we had spotted a mile or so back. It looks as though it had grown from a core chucked from a boat many years ago, rather than a crab – but the apples were very small and rather sharp to taste. There is an attractive turnover bridge where the towpath changes sides.
When we got back, we got on with some cleaning – Dave down the engine hole and me inside the boat. Contractors have been doing the towpath’s final cut of the year and it’s impossible to avoid bringing in grass cuttings on your boots (or paws). It was beginning to get dark when a hire-boat pulled in behind us, thoroughly relieved at finding a suitable mooring while they could still see where they were going.
Nine and a half miles, Cowley tunnel