We needed to do some work on Mintball to get her ready for the BSS certificate, there wasn’t a huge amount of work to do and it seemed silly to drive all the way to Market Drayton just to do a couple of hours work so we decided to do some boating as the same time.
We headed south from the moorings to Tyrley Bottom Lock No 7 . The locks were moderately busy with us meeting a boat at just about every single lock, but we didn’t really have to wait at all which was good.
When we got to Tyrley Top Lock No 3 and Tyrley Wharf (which for some reason doesn’t have a CanalPlan ID) we moored up and decided to go and try out the Four Alls which is about 10 minutes walk up the hill from the wharf.
The pub was quite nice, they had an extensive food menu which included light bites as well as full meals, and a decent range of real ales. It was tempting to sit there and have an even longer lunchtime than we planned but we wanted to push on a bit.
So back to the boat and off through Woodseves cutting which stretches from Tyrley Farm Bridge No 59 to Cheswardine Bridge No 56 which as it’s not high summer wasn’t actually totally overgrown so you could see just how friable the sandstone they had to cut through to make the cutting in the first place is. The quality of the stone, and the fact that after two weeks without rain water was still oozing out of the rock, also explains why they are always having problems with slippages. Having been through this cutting in high summer I had to say that I found it much more interesting, and prettier, in mid April rather than late July/August.
Once you are out of the cutting its only a shortish run to Goldstone Bridge No 55 and it’s pub (called the Wharf). There is a winding hole here and an extremely neat private mooring which looks like the remains of some sort of gauging dock.
There are a lot of moorings along this section so progress is not much faster than going through the cutting but there is a lot to see and the people on the moored boats seem to be friendly enough.
It’s a long winding, gentle chug through open countryside to the tiny settlement of Knighton whose inhabitants apparrently don’t have to pay “tax” under a charter granted by King Charles II. From a canal point of view you could pass Knighton by without even noticing it if it wasn’t for the rather large factory behind the old Cadbury Wharf. A few years ago when we came through the factory was making drinking dhocolate and the air was full of the sweet smell of chocolate, this time however it wasn’t apparently making anything and the only thing we could smell was the nearby sewage works! The bank side opposite the wharf has been rebuilt from engineer’s blue brick but don’t even think of mooring there as it’s sitting on rocks!
Knighton Wharf is perched right at one end of the Shebdon embankment, which is quite an impressive structure, especially when the trees aren’t fully out and you can see just how high up you are: the views across the surrounding countryside are pretty impressive too.
Shebdon Wharf is located right next to Shebdon Aqueduct and here is the second pub called “The Wharf” in just a few short miles. The moorings here have just been refurbished with an overhanging top, rubbing strakes and rings and with steps down to the pub it’s a handy place to moor up… which we did.
After doing some work on the boat we popped down the steps and tested the pub – like the FourAlls it has quite a wide ranging food menu with some extremely good value deals. The beer, which was Everard’s Tiger, was extremely quaffable . The next day we turned at the winding hole at the wharf and returned, without visiting the Four Alls, to the mooring