Friday, January 06, 2012

Dodging the Dredgers

What a pleasant relief to wake up this morning to calm! It’s certainly been wild and woolly these past couple of days. Not cruising weather, so we stayed put at the bottom of Adderley Locks.

We moved out today around 10:30, leaving behind NB Armadillo. We hadn’t had a chance to chat, what with the weather, but this morning we discovered that they also blog. They’re heading the same way as us, up onto the Llangollen Canal, so we should have a chance to meet up.

Fellow bloggers, NB Armadillo.SAM_0002 Leaving Adderley
It was a fine bright morning, but did cloud up a bit later.
It’s just over a mile to the top of the 15 Audlem Locks, but we had to run the gauntlet of workboats involved in dredging and bank repair work.

Dredged spoil is dumped here, and spread across an adjacent field.SAM_0007 Dredging
 (I’m pleased to see that the towpath has been protected from the machinery and mud)

And this is where it comes from…SAM_0011 Dredging

The pans are loaded by boat-mounted digger, then moved to the unloading area by push tug.

Just around the corner and under the next bridge bank repairs are under way, after which back filling and dredging will take place.

I wonder which of these guys lost the toss? One of the pairs of waders leaks, apparently!SAM_0014 Dredging
Some we’ve done earlier. SAM_0015 Dredging

The fabric sheeting, supported on timber posts, is backfilled and quickly colonised by vegetation. This gives a much softer and more natural edge to the navigation than armco piling. And it’s considerably cheaper….

After all this excitement we arrived at the top of Audlem Locks.
The first 3 are spaced out along the gentle gradient, then get closer together from Lock 4 on, as the hillside steepens.

Dropping down Lock 1, push tug in the distance.SAM_0016 Audlem Locks

Meg found a playmate between L1 and L2…SAM_0018

A Beardie dog, he was only 7 months old and daft as a brush. So daft in fact that he fell in the canal just above Lock 2, and I had to quickly haul him out before he got sucked into the sluice!

At Lock 3 we had a bit of a pause while a boat came up, then it was plain sailing down to below L11.

From Lock 4 the locks get closer together.SAM_0021 Audlem Locks

Halfway down there’s a lock-keepers “refuge”. SAM_0024
A grate would have kept the hut warm in winter, and the bywash underneath provided running water!

Well on the way down, Mags lines up for Lock 8, Meg is starting to get bored.SAM_0026

That’s it, last lock for today, No 11.SAM_0028 Lock 11
The sun has come out again, too!

We moored up below the lock, had a belated lunch then after a bit of a sit down Ann and I took the dogs for a short walk to Moss Aqueduct where the canal crosses the Weaver.

Looking down on the River Weaver as it heads north to Nantwich.SAM_0029 River Weaver

It was starting to get dark as we walked back up, so I had a bit of a play with the camera, set on long exposures.

Lock 12 and bywash.SAM_0031

Looking down the bywash from aboveSAM_0035
The long exposure makes the flowing water look milky.
The same photo, taken using flash, captures the flow of water.SAM_0034

The windy weather claimed a narrowboat up near Doncaster on the Aire and Calder. The couple were lucky, the canal here is wide and deep, straight and running west/east. The flat land  would  have allowed the waves to build up. It must have been hairy out there….
Map picture
Locks 11, miles 2½

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