Everyone you speak to that has passed along this canal has nothing but positive and beautiful things to say about it and I am not about to contradict this general feeling. Ever since we went up through the first difficult lock after the sharp turn to the left at Hurleston Junction, I have found everything to be sheer bliss.
There are just about enough locks and lift bridges along the way to keep the single hander busy without the process beginning to become tiring, though this never ceases to be anything but a labour of love for me.
Then from Grindley Brook there is the wonderful long and continuously changing pound as far as Ellesmere, where we now find ourselves. It has been a superb experience even though the weather has been heavily overcast and showery for most of the time and quite cool in the moderate westerly breeze that has been with us.
The scenery, always very green at this time of the year, changes frequently from rich pastorally fragranced cow meadows strewn liberally with predominant yellow Buttercup and the almost overpowering scent from nearby hedgerows across the towpath, of sweet smelling Honeysuckle as it climbs great distances up and along its host flora, to mighty wetland fens and mosses that seem to stretch for ever on both sides.
However this latter observation might have something to do with the speed at which ‘Futurest’ travels. The slow pitch of her chug has never seemed to change as if she too is quite happy and contented with the countryside we pass through.
The only draw back we have experienced is that the internet signals along this quiet (though busy) thoroughfare remain almost non-existent. Today, though the speed very slow, is the best that I’ve experienced since leaving Nantwich and hopefully I will be able to upload this posting. At all other times I haven’t even managed to get onto the internet, which is sad as I’ve taken many photos as well as having plenty to say at the time. I shall endeavour to recap as I proceed further.
Janis and I have both agreed that we need to see everything on the canal that we can, so on Friday last we visited the short Whitchurch Arm and remained at its end till Tuesday where we shopped, walked, both had haircuts and Janis entertained her two friends Tina and Jane who stayed for the weekend.
Then yesterday we travelled as far the marina at the end of the navigable Prees Branch and walked for about a mile even further along the canal which is still in water and has been turned into the most beautiful nature reserve. It has all been quite wonderful.
Finally today we were treated to an extravagant pageant of Nature as we passed beneath low tunnels of green branches that have at times gently stroked ‘Futurest’s chimneys and past large lakes on both sides called meres. It reminded me very much of a mini Lake District (with a canal of course) and the weather was warm while the Sun began shining for us again.
This evening we are tied up at the busy little town of Ellesmere and tomorrow we plan to explore the shops as well as the various walks around. In Nicholson’s Guide the adjacent mere looks very enticing.
All will be revealed.