It’s been pretty windy these last couple of days, but, although we’ve had some heavy spells of rain, we’ve not had it anything like as bad in South Yorkshire. The news yesterday evening showed narrowboats up on the towpath at Todmorden.
It was last spring we were up on the Calder and Hebble, after similar high water in January. NB Pipestrelle was high and dry on the towpath then.
The river Calder runs alongside the canal here, and burst it’s banks, flooding the navigation.
Tuesday was a fine dry day, at least until evening. So I took the chance and sanded the right hand side below the gunwale in preparation for painting. Still fine, I slapped a coat of paint on by roller. Pushing my luck now, I thought, but I was on a roll so turned around in the flash and did the same on the left side.
OK, it’s not to my usual standard. It’d normal take me a few days to sand out, prime and fill the scratches and scrapes so they did not show through the final coat. This was just a quick sanding to key the surface and remove any loose paint. But it has made it look a lot better, at least from 5 feet away!
I just got away with it. The left side was just tacking off when the first of the evening showers arrived.
After rain yesterday today’s forecast was for dry but windy weather. So we thought we’d make a move back towards Anderton. They were right about the wind, strong gusts in the early hours got Mags out of bed to check whether everything was OK with the boat rocking so much. Me, I slept the sleep of the just and the innocent. Didn’t hear a thing.
There’s a handy Spar shop near bridge 83, and we were running short of milk so decided to make a quick stop. There’s a winding (turning) hole there as well, and when we arrived NB Empire No 2 was making hard work of turning around. Every time they got the stern around it was blown back again by the strong wind coming through the bridge ‘ole.
So I hopped off and took a line to pull the stern around. We got the boat around, but then the wind blew her across the winding hole, and held her fast in the shallows.
Empire No 2 stuck.
I manoeuvred alongside, took the bow line and towed her back into the channel.
The chap had only bought her a couple of months ago, and was taking her back to Wincham Wharf for a repaint.
Shopping done, we pushed on past the large Brunner Mond chemical works.
There’re some good moorings just before the factory, handy for Rudheath.
The works straddles the canal.
They produce a variety of alkali products for industry, and are working towards building a “sustainable energy plant” using non-hazardous waste and biomass (plant material) as a fuel. There’s a leaflet here describing the proposal. The fuel is to be transported by road and rail. I wonder if they’ve considered water? The site is ideally placed, and there’s only one lock between here and Manchester…….
Past all the moored boats at Wincham Wharf, and around the tight left hander at Wincham Bend, there’s a clear run to the extended line of moorings around the Lion Salt Works at Marston.
Moorings near Marston
We pulled over on one of our regular spots, just on the edge of Marbury Wood.
It’s very pleasant down on the flashes, but there’s an absence of footpaths away from the canal. Walking the same bit of towpath every day gets a bit boring, so Meg and I had a good stroll this afternoon, through the woods and across to Anderton, and back through the nature park on the south side of the canal. She almost got her first squirrel, just a couple of feet away. She was so close when it shot up a tree that she made it part way up as well, all four paws hanging on the trunk for a second.
Locks 0, miles 4½