"Its like the M6 up here today" said the boater, sat on his mooring at Shebdon Wharf as Starcross crept by on tickover. Its a traditional summer greeting on this part of the Shroppie as boaters intent on completing the "Four" Counties Ring speed by in convoy in both directions.
But at the moment its being used very much tongue in cheek! Mind you, I could see his point: for him, every northbound boat, including Starcross, was followed minutes later by a southbound boat (including Starcross) that had just winded at the current limit of Navigation of the "Southern Shroppie "at Shebdon.
Canalside businesses must be suffering. The Wharf Inn at Shebdon is virtually inaccessible to boaters and the moorings at the Anchor at High Offley were quiet. There was plenty of space at the visitor moorings at Norbury Junction as well, although the Junction Inn and Norbury Wharf's cafe get much of their weekend trade from car-borne visitors. On a two-hour bank holiday trip up to Shebdon and back I passed a total of five moving boats - last bank holiday that would have been 25 and it proves the point that early waterway campaigners made that its the network that matters and an interconnected system of through routes is much more attractive - and viable - than a series of dead ends.