It happened that I had two weekends in a row where the Sunday was free so I decided to go somewhere new in and around where I live. The aim was also not to have to drive anywhere, or at least no more than ten minutes. Looking at the map I decided to follow the waterways in the area, one being the River Dee and the other the Canal.
Of I set with a small rucksack with a couple of bits of kit and my lunch, closing the front door behind me as I made my way to the point where I could pick up the canal tow path.
I walked further passing more interesting gardens and a barge that was certainly made for me called 'Mountain Dreamer'. As I began to leave the villages the canal took an interesting change. It became very overgrown either side with the evasive Himalayan Balsam blocking the edge.
It suddenly began to feel rather wild, not where you would expect a boat to cruise past. Here the wildlife truly flourished and I nearly bumped into a Heron who was stood on the path ahead of me. He only decided to fly off as I approached giving me a spectacular view of his wing span as he headed down the canal.
Approaching carefully so not to disturb the infamous Canal Pirates I could see that next to the barge was a cool little shed and a large canvas tent with structures made from willow inside. There also seemed to be a stone pizza oven type structure. This was a full living set-up and a sign pointed out that you could do willow weaving courses there. How fantastic, this pirate’s life was not at sea but more so at the canalside.
Walking further the canalside community increased with a row of barges on the other side moored up with their own little gardens (one featuring the biggest sunflower i have ever seen) and areas where they could sit outside watching the canals go by whilst having dinner.
I walked slowly by, waving hello to them and engaging in chat across the water. This water community was so intriguing and it was a lovely surprise to discover it on this stretch of the Shropshire Union Canal. Sitting on a bench having lunch I said hello to the passing barges, moving slowly across the water at a pace that is perfect to have a quick chat with those on board as they pass by.
It is very easy to take for granted the things on your doorstep, especially with the lure of mountains and wild terrain. Let’s not forget though that there are so many places to discover that boast a different but equally fulfilling experience. On that Sunday I was glad to have made the most of it.