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Link to this photo on flickr.Monday morning and we were on our way at 7.15am and passed through the first lock of the day soon after, with a further twelve locks in the Audlem flight to follow. On a flight of locks one of us, usually me, would work one lock ahead to prepare it ready for the boat to enter unhindered. This works well early in the morning as rarely are there other boats about at that time of day and we were able to proceed fairly rapidly without interruption and in no time at all we were at the last lock in the flight and then moored up for a little while for breakfast; for me, bacon and egg butties with lovely black coffee.

Link to this photo on flickr.A short while afterwards we arrived at the five locks in the Adderley flight, these, like the locks at Audlem, are kept very tidily, the grass cut short and the towpath properly surfaced. I took a number of photos at these locks so choosing just one to show here was difficult, in the end I selected this one as it shows the crew, minus me, very interested in something going on alongside the canal, I guess they were chatting to someone or just being nosey!

Link to this photo on flickr.From Adderley the canal becomes more wild as we approach the little town of Market Drayton where we had decided to stop and re-fill our water tank and make a short trip into the town for milk. We didn’t need any food, we had brought enough with us for a small army, we did however buy fish and chips which we took back to Gotrik and ate them on board whilst waiting for the water tank to fill before proceeding to find a quiet spot for the night a bit farther along the canal, where hooting owls later kept us company in the dark.

Link to this photo on flickr.The following morning (Tuesday) we were on our way at 6.45 and proceeded as far as Norbury Junction and then turned round for the return journey. I wanted to take photos of the boat passing through some of the cuttings and under a few bridges so hopped off onto a very muddy towpath for a mile or so to do this. Here’s the famous bridge with the telegraph pole in the middle arch, everyone wants a photo of this bridge and it appears in most of the guide books for this canal. A bonus here with two boats in the shot.

Link to this photo on flickr.This photograph was another bonus, a narrow boat from the opposite direction passing us at possibly the narrowest point on the whole canal, in Woodseaves cutting. I guess most photographs I’ve seen of this section of the canal have been taken by boaters as it’s not very easy to get to this spot by car, it involves a lengthy walk along a very muddy towpath partially submerged or even sunk into the canal in some places and many sections would have been difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate if I hadn’t been wearing my wellington boots.

Link to this photo on flickr.Before Market Drayton the canal drops down through the lovely and picturesque flight of the five Tyrley locks, another well-known photography spot and I couldn’t resist taking some photos myself as Gotrik passed through. After we cleared this flight at 11.10am I put the camera away as it was an uneventful but busy journey back down the five Adderley locks and the fifteen Audlem locks before mooring at Hack Green locks just before dark at 5.15pm on Tuesday evening; a lot of other boats mooring there overnight also, so much chin-wagging ensued with a glass of my favourite red in hand!

~ to be continued ~

You can view the whole set of photographs of the holiday on my flickr pages.

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