Tuesday, June 12, 2007

An overcast and cool morning first thing, but still OK for T shirts. We had a short shower overnight, but it’s dry now.

Off at 10:45, and a ½ hour saw us arrive at the first of the 2 Swanley locks. Once again a short queue. Ahhh… the joys of summer cruising…

Through those 2, then another hour to the top of the Hurleston flight, where we filled up with water, emptied the loo and got rid of the rubbish.

Mags in Swanley No2
Just timed it right, we’d just finished as a boat came out of the top lock, so dived straight in. Had a chat with the lockkeeper as we were going down, he said that since the 1st of April there have been 3,200 boats through the locks! Looks like being a busy year. And with the opening of the new Swanley bridge Marina, it’s set to get busier.

We got down the first 2 locks without incident, but as Mags tried to exit No 2 a hire boat pulled out of No 3 and blocked the way. Mags had to go round on the outside, and was not amused! Anyway, the holidaymakers will have an anecdote for when they get home, about this mad woman on a 57 footer giving them grief. They were suitably contrite and apologetic.

In Hurleston locks
Out of the flight without having a go at anyone else, and turning onto the Shropshire Union at 13:00. A steady run to Barbridge, and the right turn onto the Middlewich Branch, heading for, would you believe, Middlewich. The sky had cleared and it was getting hot again.

Barbridge Junction. Straight on for Chester, turn right for Middlewich.
We were lucky to turn into the branch before 3 more boats that came down the Shroppie from the north. As it was we were able to go almost straight into Cholmondeston (pronounced Chumston??) lock without queuing.
There were 4 waiting on the other side to come up, though.

Cholmondeston queue and Venetian Marine
Toddled on to the next lock at Church Minshull, then pulled over soon after bridge 8.
A pleasant but popular spot. I wish BW had cut the grass though. You need a machete to get off the boat!

A bit overgrown! But a nice shiny boat!
Locks 8, miles 8.

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