Monday, June 16, 2008

Painting, a hitch hiking duck and QUEUES!

Spent yesterday on the mooring at Quoisley. I had a few jobs to do, putting the second coat of black on the right side under the gunwale, adjusting the stern gland and a bit of carpentry for Carol.
The Rylards black I painted on really layed off well. I’m pleased with the finish. It’s just unfortunate that by the end of the week it’ll be scratched again.

Reflections in the Paint
We wanted to have a good day today, so were on our way at 08:30. Just 5 minutes took us to Quoisley Lock, alongside the main road. This is an unusual intrusion into the peace and quiet of this section, and luckily only lasts for a few hundred yards. The next 2 locks, Willeymoor and Poveys, follow in quick succession.

Willeymoor Lock and Willey Moor Lock Inn
The countryside around here is really beautiful, rolling fields with copses of broadleaf trees.
We’d got off relatively early so we could get through the bottleneck that is known as Grindley Brook Locks easily. Unfortunately, several other boaters had the same idea, and we arrived at 09:50 to join a queue of boats waiting to tackle the locks. There are 3 single chambers here, followed by a three rise staircase. We finally cleared the top lock at midday. There are some dozy b****rs about though, aren’t there. After the first 3 single locks, you have to report to the lock keeper before tackling the staircase. There’s only room for 3 boats (just) at the bottom, and the procedure requires 3 boats up and 3 boats down. So you can finish up waiting for ½ an hour or more for the go-ahead. Although there were already 3 of us waiting, boaters were still trying to come up the last single, instead of walking up to check on the situation. And I'm not just talking about inexperienced hirers, either! Consequently it was extremely difficult for the boats coming down to manoeuvre. I despair, sometimes.

Busy day at Grindley Brook.
In the Staircase

After this there were no more hold ups, and we made good progress on the long 19 mile pound towards the next locks. The few lift bridges caused us no problems, although we had a couple of close encounters at blind bridges. Mags even found time to give a duck a lift!

Mags' Hitch Hiking Duck
Over Whixall Moss, and the long straight to Bettisfield, and we moored soon after bridge 50.
It’s been a fine bright day, warm in the sun but cool when it went in. The evening has cleared to unmarked blue skies, now.

Moored near Bettisfield.
Locks 9, miles 12.

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