Goldstone Wharf

Good Friday saw us moving further north up the Shropshire Union. We had moored just south of Brewood, so since we needed provisions, we moved up to the visitor moorings close to the village. Back in 1999, when we passed this way before, we found Brewood to have plenty of “proper” stores.
Bridge 10, Avenue Bridge 
Views of Brewood
We were not to be disappointed this time. Brewood still has Coopers parts of which are a delicatessen, florist, greengrocery and  bakery. We were able to stock up on the basics but also get some delicious local food. This included a “Pork Pie Royale” which with a crusty loaf, cheeseboard chutney and tomato made a great “boatman’s lunch” - taken at the helm of course.
A Boatman's Lunch
Moving northwards we crossed the aqueduct over Watling Street (A5). It seemed odd that all this way north we were crossing a road which runs alongside our home village. Looking down onto the carriageway there were road works and queues of vehicles because of a landslip. Immediately north of the Stretton Aqueduct we found Chertsey and Bakewell on their mooring.
Stretton Aqueduct across Watling Street 
Sarah's Chertsey and Bakewell at Stretton
Just a little further on, in the Rye Hill Cutting I saw the second kingfisher of our trip. The first had been spotted in the industrial area of Warwick. This time the bird stayed put and didn’t immediately take flight, so in something of a panic I grabbed my SLR camera and shot off some pictures in rapid succession. On a moving boat, at maximum focal length (200mm), it is not easy to get good quality images. However, they turned out to be acceptable. This is only the second set of pictures of a kingfisher I have managed. As the boat started passing the bird eventually shot off down the canal so I wasn’t able to get near enough for a really good shot.
Kingfisher near Bridge 22, Shropshire Union
Cowley tunnel, which is just south of Gnosall Heath, was interesting. I hadn’t realised that it was unlined and you could see the rock strata.
Cowley Tunnel Northern Portal 
Roof of Cowley Tunnel 
Cowley Tunnel Southern Portal

The views across the countryside from the wonderful Shelmore Embankment were spectacular. The massive size of the structure can be easily overlooked but so few leaves on the trees made it more obvious.
Norbury Junction
Norbury was relatively busy with a few hire boats leaving. One even tried to go north under the bridge with a boat coming through the other way. Not a good start, and they continued on an erratic course for some time.
Bridge 39 
Long line of linear moorings

We passed the former Cadbury Wharf at Knighton and found the ex Cowburn & Cooper working boat Starling moored up under the overhanging canopy.
Former Cadbury Wharf, Knighton
Near Shebdon there were good views of the Wrekin in the distance. It even had a snowy cap.
A misty snow-capped Wrekin
Canal-side snow drift

We finally moored up at Goldstone Wharf just before six and then had a tasty meal at the Wharf Tavern. It lived up to its good reputation and appeared to be thriving.