After an easy drive up via The Falcon at Hinstock on Wednesday evening we went and tried Market Drayton’s newest pub – The William Chester. It’s a really rather nice pub and it feels like its been there for ages and has just had a rather nice refit. The beer range was limited but given that it was a Wednesday night in early September you couldn’t complain, and it was in good condition. Over a few pints we made plans about when we were getting up on Thursday morning and where we were going to stop for the night.
We walked back to the boat under cloudless skies : the stars were clear and there was a nip on the edge of the breeze,
We woke to a slightly cloudy day but the sun was shining and so we got ready to set off…. but the engine wouldn’t start! Borrowing the jump leads from Nick’s car we established that the engine battery was basically dead and just about open circuit. So we left the engine running and jumped into the car and drove over to XX Motor Factors and picked up a replacement battery. We decided not to fit it right there and then but to get going. So we left the moorings at about 08:20 with a new battery sitting on the back deck.
We chugged past the moored boats and arrived at Tyrley Bottom Lock No 7 where there was a boat just entering the lock so we pulled in and waited. There was a single hander in front of them but he seemed quite efficient and with some sensible lock wheeling we made it out of Tyrley Top Lock No 3 before 09:35 which isn’t bad considering.
We recently acquired a cheap sandwich toaster so rather than regular bacon and mushroom sandwiches for breakfast, which can be awkward to eat whilst steering, we had toasted versions which were very good apart from the pockets of super-heated ketchup that they seemed to contain.
The moored boat situation on the southern Shroppie hasn’t improved so progress was a bit slow in places and of course we met a couple of boats either at bridge holes or other narrow place, and to cap it all off it had started raining, but we made it to Norbury Junction by early afternoon where we fueled up and got a pump out before pushing over to the other side of the canal, mooring up and going for a couple of pints in The Junction Inn.
We sort of hoped that sitting in the pub for a bit might give the weather time to improve but it didn’t so just after 2:30 we headed back to the boat and cast off into the rain. We had to jump the engine battery so we’re going to swap it out first thing tomorrow morning.
The rain never really got very heavy – it just varied between various intensities of drizzle – but it made steering a less than pleasurable experience until it dried up round Rye Hill Bridge No 22 and the last couple of miles to Brewood were quite pleasant.
We mooed up just before the bridge and swapped out the dead engine battery for the new one which didn’t seem too keen on starting the engine!
We got cleaned up and went for a pint at The Bridge Inn before heading off for a curry at The Curry Inn. We finished the night with a couple of pints at The Three Stirrups before wandering back to the boat under clear skies