At Grindley Brook, just before railway bridge 27 the canal curves as it travels through the bridge, making it difficult to see what is around the bend. What I know is out of sight just beyond are six locks--three individual locks, which open out to a short pound and three staircase locks--which will be my first. (Staircase locks for our American readers,are locks which open directly onto one another without a pound of water in between--so the gates are shared between the previous lock and the next one instead of each lock having 2 sets of gates all its own.)
Due to the sharp bend under the bridge and the first lock just after, this is a bottle neck, and traffic can get crazy, as boats pile up in a line, waiting to go up the locks. As we sit and eat lunch hire boats careen through the bridge without blowing a warning on their horn and slowing to listen for someone else coming the other way out of the lock. Some call this entertainment--I call it chaos. We've been told by other boaters that the Shell garage just up on the road past railroad bridge 27 has really cheap diesel, so we decide to put our steel Jerry cans on the trolley and wheel them up for a fill.
As we walk under the bridge a lovely surprise awaits! Lane Croft Wharf with its old canal side cottages immediately enchants me. Can you imagine sitting here beneath the bower of vines, perhaps with a book from the little shop nearby, pausing as a boat comes through the lock?
The old wharf building is re-purposed as a loft home with a jewel sized bookstore underneath. On the way back from getting petrol I stop and pick up five good books, sliding pound coins into the honesty box. I've never seen anything like it in the States. I find amongst its shelves a vintage hard backed edition of Anthony Trollope's autobiography. A bargain purchased as a gift for a loved one Stateside.
As we move off our mooring there is a queue of two boats ahead of us just past the bridge. The owners are in a heated argument about who is first in line.
The second boat moored up actually is first in line to go up; but he being a New Boater and inexperienced to boot, came through the bridge, saw no one moored up for the locks and took his half out of the middle of the bollards, leaving no room for a boat to moor behind him.
The next boat through the bridge had no choice but to go 'round and moor in front. That lovely old gent was an experienced live aboard single-handing it for the weekend. He simply needed to moor up where he could. Since New Boater assumed he would have all the bollards to himself and the middle was best for his shiny new boat, the single handed gent took what was left in front. He was not attempting to jump the Queue, but New Boater was not listening and stalked off to do the lock in a right lather.
By the time we came up to moor they had straightened out the misunderstanding and were helping each other with the first three locks.
Grindley Locks: A Pictorial Visit
Looking back at NB Valerie moored up before railway bridge 27 on the Llangollen canal.
Under bridge 27 looking toward the locks.
Looking through railway bridge 27. Bridge 28 and the first lock immediately after are just out of site on the left. The lane on the right curves toward the main road.
Now you can see bridge 28. To the right is Lane Croft Wharf and the gravel lane leading past several cottages and the bridge, heading right toward the main road.
Bridge 28 is in front with the lock gate visible just past it. This is where the two boaters got into an argument about the queue. The towpath connects with a gravel lane which turns right...
...onto a lane to the main road and the Shell station. Les with our Jerry cans and trolley.
The shell station on the road at Grindley Brook.
Les filling our emergency supply cans with red diesel.
145.9 per liter for petrol; five liters in a gallon. Add 50 cents to each pound to get the U.S. $ equivalent. Do the math Americans, and perhaps you will be humbled and quit complaining about about U.S. gasoline prices. I have yet to recover from the shock.
Jerry cans full of diesel costing us 81.5 pence a liter, we head back down the lane. Les goes back to the boat and I stand on bridge 28 to take in the lovely view...
...to my left looking down a hidden lane past a small cottage directly across the canal from the gravel lane, the towpath, and Lane Croft Wharf.
Here is a better view of the cottage from bridge 28. The rush of the water bypassing the lock creates a fresh, clean smell and the sound of rushing water.
The cottage garden is lovely; arbors flung with spring flowering vines, and seats tucked in out of the way places to watch the passing boats and listen to the water sing...
and back to my right is the gravel lane along the canal...
the lane, the towpath, and the old re-purposed Lane Croft Wharf building. The canal bends back towards bridge 27.
Take a seat on this bench; listen to the rushing water and the songbirds in the garden. Watch folks hiking along the towpath, and narrow boats mooring up in a queue to enter the first of Grindley's six locks. Close your eyes, wish real hard, and maybe...
you can make a little magic as everything around you blossoms! I love the robin's egg blue cottages. Their color makes my heart sing.
Look! There's a sign on the door of the old wharf building. It says "Book shop!"
I love book shops. How convenient to find one just here.
What's your pleasure? Books, art cards, book marks...hand made jams and old maps!
A view inside the pocket sized shop...
Don't forget to pay for your treasures. I picked up five good books to keep me company, and a special hard cover edition for someone I love. :)