The trip got off to a slow start as Starcross was facing north and I had to reverse down to Norbury Wharf to turn. I've only started doing this since I got my new mooring spot nearer the wharf (previously I used to go a mile up to Grub Street and back to wind) and I'm just getting the hang of it - managing to avoid both lines of moored boats (one either side) and the bridge on the way.
The next obstacle was the other two lines of moored boats (visitor and permanent moorings) strung out along the start of Shelmore embankment; but these are "normal" hazards and it was only after they were passed that the fun began.
Apparently, one of this lot won fifth prize!
The National Angling Championships were being held that day - 690 anglers dangling their maggots throughout the Shropshire Union, Trent & Mersey and Staffs. & Worcs. Canals and a large proportion of them lined the towpath all the way from Norbury Junction to Gnosall.
Slow boat and steering committee in Cowley cutting
I like to think I'm a considerate boater so it was "tickover" all the way and a sigh of relief after Gnosall,when the anglers disappeared and it was time to resume normal cruising speed - for about half-a-mile! At Cowley I caught up with a boat under the control of a four person "steering committee" proceeding at speeds varying from "slow" to "stopped" depending on which member was temporarily in charge. I followed them all the way to High Onn where by now it was well past lunch time. However, we were now back to maggot dangling which meant there was nowhere to stop so, after turning, it was back to the far side of bridge 26 before I could find anywhere to tie up and have lunch. Even here there wasn't anywhere to knock the mooring pins in properly and passing boats, glad to escape the lines of anglers at last, sped past pulling them out more than once!
But it was a lovely sunny day (a shame for the anglers who only seem truly happy when its raining) and there was plenty of space at my favourite mooring "between the bridges" back at Gnosall to sit in the sunshine for the afternoon, listening to the cricket (ouch!), and keeping an eye on service 481 crossing the bridge until it was reasonably time to go to the pub!
One of the two bridges at Gnosall. The 481 bus runs across four times an hour and the Navigation pub is on the left.