We woke up to a beautiful morning. A sharp frost and bright clear skies heralded a fine day. Barely a breath of wind as well, in sharp contrast to yesterday.
The weather brought out the boats. I don’t think we saw one all day yesterday, but today we had three or four past before we even got off.
NB Armadillo was first away from Coole Pilate, at around 9 o’clock.
Rock’n’Roll was next out of the gate, but, hang on, they’re going backwards! It turned out they’d decided to have a pump-out of the loo tank, so were heading back to Overwater Marina.
Moore2Life was next, with us bringing up the rear (as usual!).
Heading towards Hack Green, M2L in the distance, nicely smoking chimney in the foreground.
There’s a pair of locks at Hack Green, near the (Not So) Secret Nuclear Bunker. I really will have to visit it one day…
These two locks are the last on the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal and as such are the last narrow ones on the way to Chester. The B&LJ ends with a connection to the Chester Canal at Nantwich. From this point, heading north, the canal is designated as broad, with wide locks and bridge-holes.
These two canals, along with the Llangollen, Montgomery and Middlewich Branch, plus several smaller branches, were merged under the umbrella of The Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company in 1845. The initial plan was to fill the canals and use the route for track bed, but the decision was luckily deferred as the canals were still making money. The plan was finally abandoned in 1849.
The Shropshire network remained in profit till WWI, but then the inevitable decline set in as transport was switched to the developing road system.
Mags leaving Hack Green Lock 1
Bridge 86, between the locks, is suffering from serious health issues.
Charles delicately threads M2L’s canopy between the footboards on the lower gates of Lock 2.
Ann, big Molly and Meg look on with interest…. Will he, won't he....
Another couple of miles saw us coming under Marsh Lane Bridge, onto the long embankment which runs to the west of Nantwich.
Coming onto Nantwich Embankment.
The embankment crosses the A534 Chester Road on a fine cast iron aqueduct, which, as always, looks better from underneath.
Over Chester Road
M2L pulled in soon after the aqueduct but we pushed on a little further, first to the services, then to reverse down to Basin End and the fuel wharf of Nantwich Marina. Ann was on hand to fend off from imminent collisions (narrowboats don’t steer well backwards, unless you’ve a bow thruster like R’n’R), but she was only needed once to put us back on the straight and narrow.
Into Basin End.
The Main Line runs under the bridge, heading south. We’re heading backwards to the right. This is the original terminus of The Chester Canal, before the B&LJ joined up in 1835 over 50 years later.
We wriggled into the corner of the busy basin, took on diesel, gas and solid fuel, then replaced all 4 of our domestic batteries. I’d decided to “bite the bullet” and change the lot. Two of them were over 2 years old, and one of the others is the dodgy one I identified some time ago. What the hell, it’s only money. And I’ve just received a tax rebate from 2006….
Access is good so I had the whole lot swapped and reconnected inside 20 minutes. We motored back out again to the spot above, then reversed back through the bridge to moor on the end of the visitor moorings.
Leaving Basin End, the fuel wharf is on the far right.
Busy old spot, init!
The clear skies have allowed the temperature to plummet, after a high of 12° in the sun, we’re now down to –0.4°and it’s only 7o’clock. Could be a nippy one, methinks.
Still, it’s worth it for days like today.
Locks 2, miles 4