The Shropshire Union Canal changes character after Market Drayton. Leaving deep cuttings tall embankments and the Captain’s carnage behind, the canal dives down hill through loads of lock: a flight of five then another of 15 taking one down to Audlem. There were decent moorings after the first two of the Audlem flight, and the weather dull and grey so we called it a day.
Wednesday morning started grey as well, and thirteen locks later we tied up outside the renowned Shroppie Fly pub, but eschewed its lunchtime delights for a shopping trip into Audlem and coffee and cakes in a posh café instead.
Audlem is rather a fine little Cheshire village, with a splendidly situated church right smack in the middle. Despite the busy wharf area and threatening weather, we arrived back to find Sir enjoying a spot of fresh air while watching the world go by.
Two more locks after lunch, and we were away from Audlem, into pleasant open countryside, before passing Overwater Marina – one of the larger (and better) ones on the system. It really is huge.
We finally moored up at Hack Green, which is signposted on the roads over a large area, as well as the canal. The signs are just wrong for so many reasons…
The above pictures were taken in October 2011 – we’d moored here before – and the “temporary sign” is now even more overgrown. The bunker (built underneath a WW2 radar station that doesn’t look all that different from a bunch of farm buildings) is disturbing and fascinating, if only as a chilling reminder of the political mind-set during the cold war.
Despite the threatening grey skies, we walked down the canal a bit to Hack Green Top Lock, while the Captain joined us for a constitutional.
Reaching the lock, something that had been vaguely bugging us finally crystallised: shiny new or old and decrepit, all the balance beams on the descent from the top of the Shropshire Union were painted a battleship grey colour. It’s an article of faith that canal lock gear and balance beams are painted black and white.
What on earth were they thinking? Did someone screw up and order the wrong paint? Was the DoD having a fire sale now that they won’t need their new aircraft carriers for several years, until we can afford to pay the US for some planes to put on them?
Whatever the reason, it’s seriously disturbing to the peace of mind and predictable tranquillity of the canals: we should be told!