Cream teas, bluebells, bats and swallows on the Shropshire Union Canal
We spoke to Stan Cullimore about his latest Anglo Welsh narrowboat holiday
Where did you go this time Stan?
We set off from Bunbury on the Shropshire Union Canal in Cheshire. We travelled south to Nantwich, and then we went up the Middlewich Arm. We were really lucky with the weather. It was great to enjoy the sunshine in pub gardens, as well as on deck and at the tiller.
What appeals to you most about canal boat holidays?
I love being on the water, and I think it’s the perfect antidote to the stress we’ve all experienced over the last year. Canals are green corridors and when you are on a boat, you are right there at water level with the wildlife. We sat out on deck each evening enjoying a sundowner and watched bats swooping around us. We also saw the first swallows of the spring dipping to drink from the canal and lots of baby ducklings. The sound of birdsong all around you is really lovely.
Where did you stop along the way?
On our first night, we moored up just south of Nantwich Aqueduct and walked to the town square. There’s a good choice of cafes and restaurants there, and it’s a great place to watch the world go by. Nantwich is a lovely old town, with lots of historic buildings, including a really pretty row of alms houses.
We also moored between bridges 12 and 13 on the Middlewich Arm, close to Church Minshull. On the recommendation of a local boater, we took a stroll through a wood full of bluebells and walked on up to a hill beyond with some fantastic views. And we stopped for a drink in the garden of the Badger Inn at Church Minshull.
What were the highlights of this holiday?
One of things I love about canal boat holidays are the unexpected things you find, and people you meet along the way. On the Middlewich Arm, we spotted a small shelter next to the canal with homemade cakes and cream teas for sale with an honesty box. And close to Nantwich Aqueduct, we met The Doggie Boat selling all sorts of doggie treats, toys, collars and leads.
Any tips for first narrowboat hirers?
Pack a disposable BBQ – we found a picnic bench and BBQ stand close to one of the locks on the Middlewich Arm. And make sure you’ve got some cash for any canalside ‘honesty box’ purchase opportunities. As well as cream teas, we’ve found eggs, vegetables and honey for sale in the past. Frozen sweetcorn and peas are good for feeding ducks and swans along the way. Defrosted first! Also, I’m thinking about investing in a bat detector for next time. It would be great to hear the bat echolocation sound waves, and find out which type of bats they are.Tags: Anglo Welsh, bunbury, narrowboat holiday, shropshire union