Thursday, 15 August 2013

Kingfisher through Cowley Tunnel


A warm humid day today with the promise of a little rain.  We set off fairly early, and soon arrived at Brewood, we were in need of a few supplies, so a quick stop and shop and then we were again on our way along the long straights and the approach to the only lock of the day at Wheaton Aston.  We descended this in the rain, a short sharp shower and then made use of the services below the lock.  Once done we moved 500 yards or so to the service wharf at the famous (in canal circles) Turners Garage, where we filled with diesel.  You cannot afford to pass these premises without topping up as they are usually the cheapest on the system.

The canal throughout the length of our journey today consists of many a straight, lock less leg with the occasional bend often with a blind bridge just to make life interesting, it is very rural and we saw few boats moving our way although they were some moving south.  We soon approached the Cowley cutting this is extremely narrow deep and overhung with trees.  As we made our way towards Cowley tunnel (all 81 yards of it) we spotted a kingfisher, which was flying in short hops, just ahead of the boat.  It would rest on a branch and as the boat approached it would make a hop to another branch 10 yards or so in front and so on.  It flew through the tunnel and rested on a rope on a moored boat until we caught up then it flew off again, this time disappearing.

Gnosall is a busy little place with some good moorings and a couple of pubs, it was busy and we spotted a few day boats from Norbury Wharf.  We slowly made our way through and as we left we were aware of a day boat travelling behind us.  Once out of Gnosall the canal resumes its mainly straight but somewhat elevated along what becomes the Shelmore Embankment.  We were soon at Norbury Junction and managed to get a mooring prior to the wharf for the first time, normally we have been the other side.  Its not been busy since we moored although we did watch the day boats returning.  Ali decided to give the roof a clean and whilst doing this two boats were approaching from either direction all of a sudden there was an almighty bang, lots of reversing and blue smoke, we still don’t know what happened but there was definitely one big impact as when we looked up the boats were bouncing off each other.  Both were private boats and how they came to collide with each other goodness only knows.  As predicted by mid evening the rain set in, lets hope it clears for the morning.

Cowley Tunnel exit

Apologies for the lack of photos, but our internet is very slow, so I'll upload more when its better.

12.5 miles, 1 lock, Cowley tunnel 81 yards

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