Distance 12 miles 10 Locks
Another much more successful BBQ last night and a more moderate headache juice consumption had us in bed by 10.
Woken by excessive movement of the boat as others went past. Seems the pegs had come loose in the bank, no surprising as we were moored at the top of a huge embankment part of the canal. The rain started shortly thereafter and persisted throughout the day (apart from while we enjoyed our brief sojourn in Market Daryton)
A large part of the canal was effectively single lane where it has been dug through a kind of soft(ish) rock. It still is an unimaginable amount of work to be done entirely by hand. The picture shows a tunnel dug by hand originally intended to be 690 yards but only 81 yards remain as it was opened out in 1831 because of dangerous faults in the rock.
Anyway we met a boat on the single lane bit being towed by a couple of British Waterways loons. The collision would have been avoidable but only if they had stopped running full ahead. Fortunately we were well in reverse by this point and no damage except to the new paint work. Apparently they were repossessing the boat as it had no licence. They do say narrow boating is a contact sport.
We walked into nearby Market Drayton for a spot of lunch during the one dry part of the day. We were also able to shop for some provisions at the most hopeless supermarket called Netto, a minimal selection and quite useless.
Market Drayton however is a lovely little market town but inexplicably the council are trying to kill it. Many of the shops are vacant, we were told because of high rates, but suspect the absence of parking may well have as much to do with it. There is no comparison between this area and the vastly overcrowded South East England. The whole place is a case study on local and national government incompetence.
Stephen and Gerlinde picked up the girls in Banbury (Oxfordshire) and drove them to meet us at Audlem, a tiny village on the canal. A passing bargee warned us that the lock gate on lock number 6 (out of 15) is jammed so we may be not be moving far tomorrow.
Family dinner at the very excellent Shroppie Fly in Audlem with first class home cooked steak and Guinness pie a couple of pints of Timothy Taylor ale and a couple of bottles of Chilean wine.
Walking back we found the lock gate had been closed, we were told a stone had gotten under it.