So early Sunday morning I’m lying in bed listening to the rain hammering on the roof of the boat, then I fell asleep and when I woke up it was lighter and the rain was still hammering away on the roof of the boat. The forecast even as late as Friday evening was that the band of rain would have pushed north and east to Newcastle by Sunday morning… but obviously it hadn’t : sometimes you do wonder just what they do with all those very expensive super computers down at the Met Office because it apparently doesn’t seem to be doing a weather forecast.
By the time we got up the rain had stopped but it was still far from the nice day that had been forecast so we decided to head down to Park Lodge Winding Hole and wind there before starting our return trip – our logic being that if weather forecast was this wrong then we’d be better off doing a shorter journey and not get quite as soaked to the skin. There were a few more boats on the move and Wheaton Aston Lock No 2 was almost a hive of activity and most of the boats on the visitor moorings had obviously decided not to move and to just have Sunday lunch at the pub… but not us…. we had different plans.
The Royal Oak in Church Eaton can be approached either from High Onn Bridge No 25 or Turnover Bridge No 26 – we decided to stop just before bridge 25 which might have been a mistake as there is a bit of an underwater ledge, and the moorings immediately after the Turnover bridge do look a lot better.. It’s a shortish walk down the lane to the village and the pub is very easy to find. They had 3 real ales on : Bank’s bitter, a Blonde from Ludlow and Franc in Stein from the Flipside Brewery All three were in fine form and there were complimentary peanuts on the bar. They do do food, and the specials looked quite interesting, but it is probably worth phoning them to double check… and they are only open all day on Saturday and Sundays : the rest of the week they only open from 5pm.
We had been rather foolish and stupidly assumed that the blue skies and pleasant temperature were a sign that things had changed for the better – but how wrong we were because just after we left the pub the heavens opened and we were soaked by the time we got back to the boat, at which time it decided to stop raining again.
The rapidly changing weather became a feature of the rest of the afternoon and we had fleeces etc. hanging up in the “wet cupboard” with the blower running trying to dry them off before we needed them the next time.
The Cock Inn in Woodseves is well worth the visit but the road you have to walk along from the canal is very busy and very fast as has NO pavements until you reach the village. You can approach it from either Double Culvert Bridge No 40 or High Bridge No 39 – the route from Double Culvert Bridge involves less of the main road but more of a muddy track through woodland.
Things looked pretty busy at Anchor Bridge No 42 but we pushed on through the now rather nicer early evening to our stopping place for the night. You can get up to Cheswardine from three different bridges – the best one is actually Hallemans Bridge No 53 but the moorings there are quite limited so if you are approaching from the South then you are better off stopping before Fox Bridge (the bank between 51 and 52 isn’t very good for mooring) and making a slightly longer walk up into the village…. don’t forget to take a torch if you are going to be returning in the dark as there are no streetlights.