since my last post we have covered the rest of the 'Shroppie' and are now on the Middlewich branch heading for the Trent & Mersey canal.
The Shroppie is a canal of mixed scenery. Some very deep cuttings and also some impressive embankments. The weather has been mostly kind this week with some warm spells to sit out at the fine mooring places with picnic benches and BBQ stands.
The only big flight of locks to negotiate was at Audlem. There are 15 locks in the flight so we set out early, before they got too busy. After the chaos we found at the single lock at Wheaton Aston earlier in the week, these were quite civilised. A lot of the locks have very fierce bypass weirs which exit across the tails of the locks, sometimes called the 'Audlem Jetwash'. They can make negotiating the flight somewhat tricky, especially after some heavy rainfall.
After spending a day at Hack Green, the site of the 'Secret Nuclear Bunker', we moved on through Nantwich and turned west at Barbridge Junction. This branch connects the T&M with the Shroppie. It is quite an important link and, as a consequence is very busy at this time of the year. We have spent most of today moored up and have been astonished at the number of hire boats passing us, mostly heading for Llangollen I suspect.
We did take a walk away from the canal, down a footpath to the village of Church Minshull. The river Weaver runs through the valley here, although it is a mere trickle compared to the part we were cruising on earlier in the year. Alongside the path we saw a large amount of freshly dug earth, spilling down the bank from some quite large animals den. We debated whether it was foxes or badgers but still can't decide.
After a quick 'half' in the local pub we made our way back to Oakapple to cook Sunday Lunch and to watch the cows opposite us drinking out of the canal.