Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pewter skies…

Another cold night last night, down to 4 or 5° below zero. But, unlike the last couple of mornings, the sky was covered in thin grey cloud, preventing the sun from breaking through till this afternoon. So it stayed considerably colder, still -1° when we pulled in this afternoon.

Grey skies, white fields as we head for Baddiley Locks this morning.SAM_0002 Towards Badiley

George and Carol on NB Rock’n’Roll were ready first, so they’d set off 10 minutes before us. They’d cleared Baddiley Lock 3 by the time we arrived, but George had lifted a paddle to drain the lock ready for us, so we could go straight in.

After the cold night, the still water in the chamber had frozen, ice about 5mm thick that Carol had to break up as she pushed R’n’R in. Some was still hanging on the lock sides as we went in.

Ice shelfSAM_0004
The three locks at Baddiley raise the canal about 20 feet and are all close together.

Mags approaching Lock 2, the fierce bywash clearly seen.SAM_0007 Baddiley Lock 2

The vast majority of canal locks have a bywash channel alongside, to carry surplus water from the pound above which would otherwise weir over the top gates of the lock. A notable exception is the Rochdale Nine out of Castlefield Basin in Manchester, and these are notoriously difficult. The bywashes would normally only carry water from a lock above being emptied, but on this canal there’s a continuous flow running down from the River Dee to feed Hurleston Reservoir and the ever-thirsty taps of Manchester. So the bywashes have a reputation for being particularly rapid, making lock approach tricky.

Mags made this one with only a gentle scrape on the bow.

Lock 1, top lock, was just around the corner. 

Seyella approaching Lock 1. The sheep looked surprised to see so many boats on the move….
Black SheepSAM_0009 Approaching Baddiley Lock 3

From the top of the flight it was only another twenty minutes to Wrenbury, just time for a cup of tea.

Wrenbury Church Lift Bridge is one of the signature bridges of this canal, and George was on hand to lift it as he saw us coming. We’d dropped back a bit, having stopped to liberate a bit of wood, so had Chas and Ann on Moore2Life close behind.

Wrenbury Church Lift Bridge, with George sitting patiently waiting for us…SAM_0018 Wrenbury Church Lift Bridge

We pulled in behind R’n’R, just as the sun finally broke through the cloud cover.

Moored at Wrenbury, Meg’s new ball (retrieved at the locks) is on the roof.SAM_0019 Megs new ball

I was cutting up my recently acquired fuel when a chap walking his dog stopped for a chat. I was dismayed when he told me that the electrically operated Wrenbury Lift Bridge, just around the corner, was closed until the weekend for maintenance. Didn’t spot that one on the stoppages list!
 We had a walk that way with the dogs this afternoon, and it turns out that the crew doing the work will lift the bridge for passing boaters on request. So that’s all right then.

We’ll be here until Thursday, anyway. The weather is due to change to milder and wetter for a couple of days, before turning cold again next weekend.

Locks 3, miles 2. Dashing along, aren’t we!Be right back


Sue Hunter said...

If you're in Wrenbury for a couple of days, and haven't tried it already - take a walk to the Bhurtpore Inn at Aston. It's 1.5 miles from electric lift bridge. www.bhurtpore.co.uk. Wide variety of well kept real ales and great food. Dave NB Beefur

Geoff and Mags said...

Thanks both
I'll stick it on the list for on the way back.
Cheers, Geoff