On the Shropshire Union Canal
OverWater is set in the beautiful Cheshire countryside and actually is a Marina first and foremost but it also has a small (in number) campsite with pitches for 5 or 6 Motor Homes/Caravans. OverWater is a Caravan Club site, which means you have to be a Caravan Club member to book the place. There are lots of advantages in joining the Caravan Club and it’s one of the first things we did after ordering our Motor Home.
OverWater is a beautiful location set on the Shropshire Union Canal. The Marina offers mooring and services for canal boats and there must have been 50 or so moored up when we visited. A fantastic sight with more tied up along the canal. There is a café which serves hot and cold food, open each day until 4:30 except the first Friday of the month when it is serves an evening meal at 6:30. £10.00 for two courses. The site suggests booking for this and I guess they are right given the number of boats visiting the marina.
We were arriving on a Friday but I’m glad I didn’t know about the evening meal as Friday night traffic meant our ETA of 6:00 was more than an hour out. Traffic on the motorway was at a complete standstill! It’s the same every Friday isn’t it. We have great roads but you can’t get anywhere fast – just too many cars. Driving a Motor home does give you a great view into how nuts some car drivers are! I’m probably as bad when I’m in the car (though I really don’t think so) but the number of drivers cutting in, swerving at the last minute, pulling out into imaginary spaces, braking at the last minute – madness. Anyway, as soon as you get clear of the motorway all that frustration drains away and you complete the last few miles on country roads, quite a bit of it on just wider than single track so you have to give way to oncoming cars now and then.
When you turn off into the campsite you are amazed at just how spacious it is. A beautiful open landscape, with the marina on your left and the café and facilities ahead of you, right by the canal. The road forms a very lazy L shape heading towards the Café, parking area and the facilities, the pitches are placed along this road. All the pitches have plenty of room and all have electric hook up. Some of the electric hook up thingies are quite a distance away so make sure you have a long cable. Ours is 25 mtrs and was ok, just!
There is one standpipe so you may need to fill up before going to your pitch. Luckily it was right opposite our pitch and my hose reached easily……… and I had my water tank cap with hose connector now, this was going to be a doddle. Unfortunately though I am an idiot and I didn’t realise that I could disconnect their bit of green garden hose and attach mine to the tap. No, No, I thought I had to push the green garden hose into my hose and hold it together with my super human strength. (developed over weeks of holding that bloody sprinkler attachment open) It was so hard. It started off ok but after a few minutes I had a bit of a forearm burn going on. I let go a couple of times and got drowned.
Imagine how stupid I felt when I realised I could connect directly to the tap. Stupid but relieved and guess what? The hose arrangement worked just fine. Connect one end to the tap. Connect the other end to the water tank cap and forget about it. Water just flows out through the cap when the tank is full. Yayyyyy at last.
Right then with the MH all ready and Muffin safely fastened to her tie out stake it was time for dinner. Each pitch has its own wooden picnic table, the type you see outside pubs but It was almost dark by then so we ate inside. Very cosy dinner followed by reading, wine drinking and a little TV – a couple of programmes we’d previously downloaded to Lesley’s i-pad. This is what we’ve decided to do instead of having a TV. It works quite well as you can watch whenever it suits you rather than having to tune in at a particular time. A little late night dog walking, then time to turn in.
The next day was spent exploring. We had a walk around the marina and checked out the narrow boats. I always expect highly decorated barges with lovely painted plant pots along the roof and shining gold and chrome fittings but as usual the majority of them were quite plain. We checked out the cafe and the washroom facilities and like the rest of the site they were modern and spotlessly clean. They have a laundry room which you do have to pay for (you can buy tokens from reception).
You can get a little boat from the Marina to the nearby village of Audlem. It sails from the marina and costs just a pound. It’s run by volunteers and the money goes to the RNLI. It’s a nice little boat ride and the captain is pleasant and chatty.
The boat drops you off on the canal and it’s just five minutes’ walk into the village if you are good – as the walk takes you past a canal side pub the Shroppie Fly which also serves food – we decided to give it a miss and call on the way back instead. You also pass a Mill which you can visit and a couple of other little shops. This is a lovely stretch of canal and just to make my day there were some painted barges moored up. Very nice too – this is how they should all be 🙂
Audlem itself is a lovely village. It looks almost unchanged since the forties! The central part of the village where the shops etc are isn’t too big, just a few streets really but there are a number of interesting shops, cafes and restaurants. And a few good dog friendly pubs. On the way in you will pass The Shroppie Fly And the Bridge Inn while The Lord Combermere is right opposite St James church in the centre of the village. (I’m definitely in there for lunch next time we visit)
After a little stroll round the village we headed back to the pickup point for our boat trip back to the campsite. In the interest of research of course, we stopped off at the Shroppie Fly for a few cooling beers. It was absolutely boiling hot today so we were able to sit outside and watch life go by canal-side. (It’s a hard knock life).
The rest of the afternoon was spent pottering about and simply relaxing. (it’s the hard knock life for us) We enjoyed a nice alfresco dinner on our wooden picnic table and later took Muffin for a walk and found the way to the bridge that crosses the canal and lets you walk into Audlem. But that’s for next time.
What did we learn?
We learned that we are getting more organised. We still don’t know here everything is but the essentials needed to get the MH set up are all readily accessible and if it wasn’t for that pesky water we’d be set up in no time!
We learned that we need to sort out some kind of rubbish bin solution. We have been keeping a bin bag in the shower or in the garage. Neither is really ideal and I am working on a cunning plan!
We learned that we like these small sites much better than the bigger, more, commercial sites. (So we’re learning about ourselves too!)
We learned that we might be near the summit of the steep learning curve that we were on We seem to have most things that we need and seem to be enjoying an experiential learning process now! (famous last words)