The day itself wasn't typical. Usually when I have a weekend aboard I manage to go somewhere. The shortest possible trip is up to Grub Street and back to wind, which is perfect for charging the batteries but Grub Street lies to the north and Starcross is on a linear mooring and, last Sunday, was facing in the other direction. Normally that wouldn't be a problem as its possible to wind at Norbury Wharf as well but last Sunday the ice was still quite thick at the wharf and I didn't think my efforts at winding would be appreciated due to the large number of boats both at the wharf and on the visitor moorings opposite.
Instead, we did as we often do: put Starcross into "country cottage mode" and go for a walk instead. The area around Norbury Junction is perfect for this as there are lots of footpaths and quiet lanes. This time we headed west, which involved crossing Shelmore embankment under what is I suppose an aqueduct (perhaps Captain Ahab can advise?) but due to the height and width of the embankment always seems more like a tunnel to me. After a mile or two on country lanes the route crosses the line of the Newport Branch of the Shropshire Union. Abandoned in 1944, the branch formerly connected the main line to Shrewsbury and the tub boat canals around what is nowadays Telford. Lock one on the old branch is now Norbury Wharf's dry dock but despite being the subject of an early restoration campaign much of the rest of the line has disappeared.
Several fine bridges survive, of which our route took us over this one, but nowadays they span only fields. The branch was heavily locked down to Newport and on the other side are the remains of one of the chambers.
The way back to Norbury Junction was partly along the main A518 road and on it we came upon this fine example of a milestone.
You see these things everywhere along the main roads of Britain - although you notice more of them if you're on a bike or on foot - and I've been meaning for some time to find out more about them. This seems a good place to start!