It was surprisingly sunny when we set off this morning. Wharton’s Lock was already set for us. The mooring above the lock was really peaceful, with a wide grassy towpath, great views towards Beeston Castle, and a picturesque setting with the lock and bridge in the foreground. For these reasons, this mooring is now one of our top five spots so far. We passed the Shady Oak P.H. I am sure we will visit again, and then a little under an hour later we pulled into Tattenhall Marina. The winds were only light so manoeuvring was easy but they did have a helpful windsock to aid with direction.
As planned we set off this morning on our excursion to Beeston Castle. The walk began with a fairly gentle slope upwards from the canal towards the village of Beeston, increasing in gradient the closer we got. On reaching the castle we had a quick drink at the cafe outside the perimeter wall, before we commenced the really steep climb to the top.
Last night it poured down, and it was still raining when we woke this morning. It was a flip of the coin whether to delay our departure for a day, but the forecast indicated improving conditions. So beneath leaden skies we pulled pins and set off for Beeston. We met a share boat at the nearby services where we both took on water, and thought that they might double up with us in the locks. They finished taking on water and were about 5 minutes ahead of us. By the time we reached the Bunbury Staircase locks they were already descending. They claimed to have waited, likely story.
Today we walked to the junction and then left up the lock flight onto the Llangollen Canal. We wandered on for about a mile before returning. On the way back we took a short detour along the A51 to visit Snugbury’s Ice Cream Parlour. They have an endless list of flavours to choose from. The only thing missing was the sunshine.
Still planning to move one mile tomorrow, nearer to Barbridge Junction and our Sunday lunch venue.
Conditions this morning were somewhat blustery as we departed Coole Pilate. On arrival at Hack Green Locks we found a short queue going both ways. Whilst waiting I read the information board at the locks, to find that Hack Green played an important role during the Second World War, as a radar station providing protection for the docks at Liverpool. We forget how far north we have come, and that Liverpool is not that far away. We descended through the pair of locks without incident. That’s it for the easy narrow locks for a while, it’s the heavy wide ones from now on. A couple of miles later we arrived at Nantwich. There is a small but bustling basin, with full services. We took on a tank full of water and visited the waterside cafe. We did not visit Nantwich town this time, we will save it for another day. Two more miles and we reached our destination, Hurleston Junction. This is were the Llangollen Canal departs from the Shropshire Union heading off towards Wales. Our intention is to do this trip when we have finished in Chester and Ellesmere Port.
Yesterday we had a plan. After spending an extra couple of days at the foot of the Adderley flight due to it being a picturesque and peaceful setting, it was time for us to leave. The plan was to descend 11 of the 15 locks at Audlem then stop for a day or two.
Having spent a couple of days at Market Drayton it was time to move on. A local family of swans were there to see us off. These are the first cygnets we have seen this year.
Not long after stopping we got neighbours, but by Sunday we may be on our own again. It does not seem very busy at the moment.