Thursday, January 19, 2012

We CAN move when we want to….

Plan A was to get to the bottom of Grindley Brook Locks today, and then to go up the locks to Whitchurch for the weekend. But overnight rain which carried on into the morning and a rising wind made us doubt the sense in doing this. Plan B involved doing nothing till the weekend, hoping for an improvement. A sort of non-plan, really.

In the end we went for Plan C, get going and see where we finish up. It’s not as daft as it sounds, there are several very pleasant mooring spots between Wrenbury and Grindley Brook, if the weather turned particularly nasty.

We’re glad we did, the sky cleared and the wind wasn’t as bad as anticipated. In fact we went considerably further than expected…

A fine but blowy morning.SAM_0001 Fine morning 
Looking forward towards Wales…..SAM_0005 Towards Wales

….And back into EnglandSAM_0006 Towards England

There are four locks to ascend between Wrenbury and the final flight at Grindley Brook, the first at Marbury about 40 minutes away.

Marbury LockSAM_0007 Marbury Lock
The lock cottage here is looking good after renovation.

One of those pleasant mooring spots I mentioned earlier. M2L in the distance.SAM_0009

The next is Quoisley, alongside the busy A49, where you often get tooted at by wagon drivers going past.
Remember Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday? Mags was doing her impression today, but with a narrowboat instead of a motor-scooter.

Hepburn impressions……SAM_0010 Audrey Hepburn at Quoisley

But I’m no Gregory Peck….

Just a short way on we came to Willeymoor Lock, with the Willey Moor Lock Inn alongside. We caught up with Chas and Ann here.

M2L in Willeymoor LockSAM_0012 M2L at WiileyMoor

One more lock, Povey’s, and we arrived at the bottom of Grindley Brook Locks. By our reckoning we’d already done more than a day’s travelling, but the weather stayed fine and we’d made good time so off we went up the flight.

Through the railway bridge just below the locks.SAM_0015 Bottom of Grindley Brook
There are 6 locks here, 3 single chambers and the remainder making up a triple staircase. In the summer this can be a major bottleneck and a pair of lock-keepers arbitrate. But today not another boat was moving.

Mags tackling another ferocious bywash, this one below Lock 5, the middle of the singles.SAM_0016 GB Lock 5

Lock 4, below the staircase.SAM_0017 GB Lock 4

While Mags was coming up in this one, I walked up to have a look at the situation on the staircase.
Rock’n’Roll was in the top chamber, and Moore2Life rising up in the bottom, so I waited for them to move up one, then drained the bottom chamber.

Looking down Grindley Brook Staircase.SAM_0018

Mags was able to go straight into the bottom lock after she came round the sharp corner under the road bridge.

Seyella at the bottom.SAM_0021 In the Staircase

Looking up to where Chas is just moving M2L out of the chamber above.SAM_0023 In the Staircase
The gates are a bit leaky!

All three boats clear, we watered and emptied as required then pulled onto the moorings just up from the locks.

The original lock cottage is smart but now in private hands…..SAM_0024 Lock Cottage

The duty lock-keepers now have to use this.SAM_0025 Lock Keepers hut
A bit of a come-down, eh!Sad smile

We just about made it before the predicted rain blew in from the west. Strong winds and rain for tomorrow, brighter but still windy over the weekend, so we’ll play it by ear. After all, we’ve done well today….

Locks 10, miles 6½ Bunny

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