Four Counties ring, spring 1987
Thurlwood steel lock - now gone
A 1-week circular trip from Gailey Marine via the Staffordshire and
Worcester Canal, the Trent and Mersey Canal and the Shropshire Union Canal
back to Gailey. Total 110 miles and 94 locks.
- Sat 1987-04-25
- Arrive at Four Crosses by about 1220. On boat and away by 1500 in hot
sunshine, shorts and T-shirt weather. Get to Weeping Crosses (br 98). Moor
1/2 out in stream 'cos all the good moorings are taken by 1900. Toby Inn (The
Trumpet), children outside in the garden only. Fortunately it's still warm
enough. (11 locks 8 mi)
- Sun 1987-04-26
- Off at 0745, good start except 3/4 hr to remove from the prop 2 metres
of 12mm plastic-covered steel hawser, barbed wire, plain wire, wire netting,
an old sock, a piece of washing line, twigs and bits of rope, all held
together by a partly unravelled reel of fishing line. Bright but cloudy
morning. No lunchtime stop. Hot again, shorts, T-shirts and sunburn. Lots
of local spectators at locks through Stone. Moor about 1745 at (103) Barlaston.
Mooring right opposite a pub with a children's room! Watched by a large crowd
of drinkers in the pub garden/car park. (13 locks 17.5 mi)
- Mon 1987-04-27
- Fog, visibility <50m. All but two of the crew off on foot to Wedgwood
factory. We meet them at bridge 104 after the fog clears. Leave about 1020
and run up through Stoke as the weather got gradually warmer and then hotter.
Water at Etruria BWB. Shopping. Under way again and manage to get to
Harecastle at 1430, the latest time for going N, and go straight through
with one boat behind. Door shuts behind and fan starts up. Cold in tunnel,
so warm air sucked in turns to a cold fog by the time it's got to the other
end of the tunnel, producing a weird swirling effect in the headlight beam.
1 hr to go through, all rode through, the girls stayed inside with the lights
on. Then heavy locking down to stop at Hassall Green (about 1900) bridge 146.
Photos of aqueduct carrying Macclesfield canal over Trent and Mersey and
Thurlwood steel lock. Evening to "Romping Donkey". Sign on pub says "No
children's room" but in practice children can come into the lounge bar. (22
locks and about 16 mi)
- Tue 1987-04-28
- Under way by 0750 or so, bright right from the start, and warm by 0900.
10 locks before breakfast, then steady locking to Middlewich, for a water
stop. Twit trying to turn right out of the Shroppie provides amusement for
all. Through the first Shropshire Union lock, shopping then off down to
Barbridge by 1845. Very hot, 23degC. Red arms, burnt nose and back of steering
hand despite sun lotion. Evening to Barbridge Inn for Boddington's Bitter.
Mooring site has changed since last year, as construction work on the
Barbridge by-pass has started. (19 locks, 18 miles)
- Wed 1987-04-29
- Start at 0755. Sunshine at first, but rapidly clouding over and starting
to drizzle. Pass "Queen Jennifer" of last year at her moorings at Nantwich.
Sun re-appears when arrive at Audlem locks and "Shroppie Fly" pub (with
Marston's Pedigree AND Boddies). Lunch stop 1200-1430 (with water). Old mill
shop, buy biography of Jessop and 4-counties T-shirt. Hot and sunny again in
afternoon for all the locks, moor just beyond bridge 62 in Market Drayton.
So 87 locks down & 7 to go (despite the 4-counties ring T-shirt that
says 110 mi & 93 locks). Finish about 1810. Evening to Talbot ("Families
welcome") but no room, so sit in garden. (22 locks, 15.5 mi).
- Thu 1987-04-30
- Overcast but warm. Shopping in Market Drayton then leave at 1020. Through
Tyrley flight, then just 30-odd miles and 1 lock + 1 stop-lock to go. Stop
1500-1550 at Norbury Junction for water and 2 pump-outs (10L), then to
Wheaton Aston, just after bridge 20, by 1830. The contrast between the
contour canals & the SU became even more obvious with the long level
from Tyrley, which is hardly ever on a level with the surroundings, but
blasts its own way with deep cuttings and tall embankments. (5 locks, 19
- Fri 1987-05-01
- Rain and heavily overcast. Start 0810, through the last real lock and
away, all in wet-weather gear for the first time. Cabin temp down to 14C.
Lunch at Coven (by bridge 71) - arriving about 1240. Leave about 1415 and
head straight for Gailey, arriving about 1600. (2 locks, 15.5 mi)
Day mi km hr ksec l ms-1
Sat 8 12.9 4h 14.4 11 0.90
Sun 17.5 28.2 9h15m 33.3 13 0.85
Mon 16 25.7 9h 32.4 22 0.79
Tue 18 29.0 8h50m 31.8 19 0.91
Wed 15.5 24.9 7h45m 27.9 22 0.89
Thu 19 30.6 7m20m 26.4 5 1.16
Fri 15.5 24.9 6h15m 22.5 2 1.11
Tot(Ave)109.5 176.2 52h25m 189 94 (0.93)