Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Big Hole in Canal - BW looking into it!

Yesterday was the first chance I'd had to go up to the Shroppie and have a look at the "leak" that's closed the Shropshire Union Canal at Shebdon embankment, just north of Starcross' mooring at Norbury Junction.

There's not much to see: British Waterways has closed the canal and fenced off the towpath. The hole appeared in the bed of the canal towards the Knighton end of the embankment and, from the old Cadbury's wharf, you can get near enough to get a view of the coffer dam and the empty canal beyond.
British Waterways has helpfully placed explanatory notices on the towpath fencing, complete with photographs of "the hole".
There is less to see from the Shebdon side: the canal here is closed just north of the winding hole and a considerable distance from the leak. Neither boats nor towpath users should be able to get anywhere near - although a couple of boats seem to have sneaked past the barrier in this shot and I must confess that I had strayed a few feet past the existing hole in the barrier across the footpath that leads down to the Wharf Inn.
Strangely, BW has placed the towpath barriers such that there is no access at all from the towpath to the Wharf Inn even though boats can tie up just south of the winding hole. It can't be good for trade and the pub certainly looked deserted for a bank holiday lunchtime.
BW's latest estimate is that the canal should be open by the school half-term in October, which is just in time for the winter stoppages that will see the canal closed all winter at Wheaton Aston embankment and at Nantwich embankment between January and March. The great embankments are a major feature of the canal but they continue to cause problems as they always have done!

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