Answer: Pints at the Badger Pub.
After breakfast, our Boar’s Head hostess Liz drove us to the local market where we bought provisions. Mostly breakfast and lunch fixing as our plan is to conclude each day with a pint and meal at some canal-side pub. Shopping accomplished, Liz then took us to the Andersen Boat yard where we loaded our belongings and supplies aboard Salten-Fjord, our 61×8 foot “home” for the next 3 weeks.
Items stowed, Ryan and Pauline conducted our vessel and lock orientation. We all received the overview of vessel systems and safety. Thereafter, Chris and Kris received training on operating the canal locks and I attended to my crash (no pun intended) course on piloting the narrowboat. These instructions required our absolute attention, so sorry but no pictures. The entire orientation took an hour after which the vessel was ours!
I remember the day my father “taught” me how to drive. I was 14, the car was a manual shift 1961 Plymouth Valiant, and he handed me the keys and said “drive”. It was a solo experience on the rural roads as he merely walked away and left it for me to figure out the details.
Today Ryan handed me the keys and helm of Salten-Fjord. His instructions were infinitely more compete than those provided by my father 53 years ago. Also, I was sharing the responsibility with 2 very competent women. Nevertheless, that old conjured memory hints at the insecurity that I was feeling. We survived the initial locks and navigational challenges, quickly acquiring confidence.
The newness of the experiences kept us on our toes, but we were able to relax enough to gain awareness of the extraordinary sights that were unfolding before our eyes.
Kris had the presence of mind to take a 3 minute video from the bow that gives some sense of the experience. Here is a link to the video: 3 Minutes on the Shropshire Union Canal
Over the course of 3 hours we successfully navigated 5 locks and 16 bridges. We arrived and made our mooring near the town of Church Minshull, home of the highly regarded Badger Inn and Pub. No sooner than we had securely tied up and Christine and Kris were pouring over the charts for tomorrow’s passage.
The Badger was reached by a perilous walk quarter mile down a narrow country lane. The road was without a shoulder, often presenting blind turns, and the cars approached fast and heedless of our presence. A pint and an excellent Steak and Ale Pie were my reward for a day well and safely done. This is a 45 year dream realized. Although the dream has been mine, the enthusiasm and wonder are shared equally among the 3 of us.
I took the opportunity to take some pictures of the interior and exterior of Salten-Fjord. They appear at the end of this post. We are traversing a rural landscape and finding that internet service comes and goes. These posts my be delayed for that reason.
Tomorrow we continue on towards Llangollen in Wales and the world renown canal aqueduct.
Peace Everyone. Pete