Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hot, init!

Phew! Last week we moved a couple of hundred yards to find some sunshine, now we’re looking for shade!

We stayed put on the bank on Sunday, had a very pleasant day waving to all the boats going past. They were leaving Middlewich after what appears to have been a successful Boat and Folk Festival.

Teatime for our neighbours
We got away yesterday, under clear skies and gently cruised down to the town. There were still a lot of boats heading the other way, usually in pairs with a few minutes between. I guess they must have been queuing at Big Lock, the only one in Middlewich which takes 2 narrowboats.

Picture postcard Whatcroft Lodge

Above the Dane Valley
We arrived at Big just as another couple of boats were coming down, and shared the chamber going up with NB Shy Swan.

Leaving Big Lock
It was about 13:00 and pretty warm by this time, so we pulled in near Bridge 172. It’s handy for the shops here, and also for Ed to get to us to repair our heating boiler. As it turned out he couldn’t make it, and came today instead.

It’s pretty noisy near the main road bridge, so today we moved on a bit, up through the three Middlewich Locks, to moor on the branch across to the Shropshire Union.

The distances are very precise at Town Wharf
Up the 3 narrow locks
Meg finds a cool spot halfway up the locks
Under the bridge onto the Wardle Canal.The sign states that this is the shortest canal in the country, only 154 feet long. It was built by the Trent and Mersey Canal Company, up to Wardle Lock to ensure that they kept control of the junction from the branch to their own water.
During the heyday of commercial carrying the canal companies jealously guarded their investment by charging tolls for boats moving onto their canals. These links were usually at locks, often very shallow ones like those at Dutton or Hawkesbury, to prevent unpaying boats from sneaking through. Alongside would be a building, doubling as a lock-keepers and toll house.

Above the lock the water was under the control of The Shropshire Union Canal Company.

Leaving Wardle Lock, now on the Shroppie.
Ed turned up just after 2, and soon had the heating boiler purring like a kitten, rather than snorting like an asthmatic drunk…..

Ed repairing the unit…. In the shade.
We were thinking of moving on out into the country for the night, but we’re only a few minutes away from the excellent fish and chips at the Kings Lock chippy…. Couldn’t resist the temptation.

Locks 5, miles 5
I’m running the Great North Run for Cancer Research UK. SmileyCentral.com

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