Thursday, April 09, 2009

Back onto narrow canals, and a parting of the ways.

We had a really pleasant trip yesterday. A bit blowey, but we shared the locks up to Barbridge with Nick and Jackie on Gloriana. Gave us a chance to get to know them a bit better. A really nice couple.

There were a lot of boats about, once again mainly headed towards Chester. One unfortunate crew on a hire boat out of Anderton had got the rudder caught on the cill at Tilstone Lock. It had lifted out of the cup on the skeg, then bent at a 20° angle. I don’t think it’ll be going anywhere under it’s own steam, at least not in straight lines! And I’m sure that Anderton Marina will not be happy bunnies, having a boat needing a dry dock at this point in the season. No photo, I didn’t want to compound their misery!

There was even a working workboat on the move near Calverley, as distinct from those restored heritage boats heading for Ellesmere Port.

And this chap on the slipway at the Calverley BW yard. You're supposed to use a trailer...
The hire boats would be just about at the limit of their outward journey, most having started out on Saturday afternoon. We met boats that were heading back to Anderton on the Trent and Mersey, and Chirk on the Llangollen.

We filled with diesel at the Anglo Welsh base at the bottom of Bunbury Staircase Locks. I went in to the shop to sort out the paperwork while Mags took Seyella in alongside Gloriana. By the time I came out, both boats were almost at the top of the staircase, so I did quite well there. Well done Jackie!

At Barbridge we caught up with Gloriana again. We’d been left behind at Calverley when we stopped at the BW services there. With narrow locks from here to Middlewich, we only had a chance for a short chat while waiting for each lock, before they were on their way again.

Middlewich Branch
Good to be back on narrow locks. Church Minshull Lock.
We pulled over on the SUCS moorings not far past the new Aqueduct Marina.

The Society has been busy, they’ve opened up another mooring just this side of Venetian Marina, on the straight between the railway and bridge 6.

New mooring looks like a pleasant spot.
It was dry, so I took the opportunity to saw and chop up the last of our logs.
Last of the Summer Wine Winter Wood
Nick and Jackie are moving on today, and heading north at Middlewich, while we’re taking a day off then heading south. So we shared a farewell bottle last night, and had a great evening taking boats, boating and boaters.

I had some mail to post this morning, so walked over to Church Minshull. It was here that Tom Rolt spent a few weeks, in 1939, as described in his classic book "Narrow Boat". He’d be disappointed with the village now. Very much a traditionalist, he wrote about the blacksmith and wheelwright’s workshop, the Post Office, and the working water mill. All closed now. Even the pub, The Badger, is shuttered with a “To Let” sign outside, another victim of the downturn in trade.

I just got back in time to say cheerio to Gloriana. We’ll definitely keep in touch, and will meet up again some time in the future.

Nick and Jackie
It was shear luck that we met at all. If Nick hadn’t set off from Tower wharf in Chester at the same time as us, so we could share Northgate Locks, we’d never have got to know this lovely couple and their friendly dog, Casper. That’s the way it is on the cut.

Partings. I think Nick’s trying to tell me something. Oh yes, the website for LED lights
Locks 7, miles 9

No comments: