Wednesday, February 29, 2012

End of February, end of winter?

We’ve been letting the stove go out overnight, it’s just been too warm. This morning I took the opportunity of having a cold flue to give it a good cleaning out, then stripped out and cleaned the throat plate and grate.  Final job was cleaning the glass in the door before laying and lighting. We keep the stove in during the day, just ticking over gently, in case it’s cooler in the evening.

By the time I’d done this, walked Meg, and had a largely unsuccessful trip to Burland Stores (not much in the way of fresh stuff this time of year), it was time to pull pins and get going.

We had a staggered start, the first stop was going to be the services at the top of Hurleston Locks, and we’d only be queuing if we all left together.

Bridge 5 is still in a bit of a sorry state, at least on the southern face.

Bridge 5SAM_0002 Bridge 5
It’s been like this so long that the warning signs have faded!SAM_0001 Bridge 5
And we’ve an unnecessary apostrophe….

The facing bricks are all stacked awaiting refixing, but I guess the bridge must be structurally sound as it’s still in use.

We arrived at the services above the locks just at the right time; Rock’n’Roll was just pulling away after completing their ablutions.

Arriving at the top of Hurleston LocksHurleston Top

We did our “essentials”, then followed Moore2Life down the flight of four locks.

Dropping down Hurleston Top Lock
SAM_0010 Hurleston Top

We were surprised not to meet anyone coming up, but with the three crews helping each other we got down quickly.

In the bottom lockSAM_0015 Hurleston

There are no fierce bywashes here to push the unwary (and the prepared) boater off course. The twelve million gallons of water a day that flow down from Horseshoe Falls at Llantysilio enter Hurleston Reservoir above the locks. From there it feeds the ever-thirsty taps of  Cheshire.

Mags made a left turn onto the main line after leaving the lock, I closed up and crossed the canal to meet her on the far side.

Leaving the Llangollen, Mags swings Seyella out onto the Shropshire Union Main LineSAM_0016 Hurleston Bottom

This section of the main line, formerly The Chester Canal, was built to wide beam dimensions to allow barges to navigate from Chester to Nantwich. Bridge ‘oles and locks are all 15 feet wide.

Bridge 100, the wider arch is obvious compared to Llangollen Bridge 5, aboveSAM_0019 Br 100

Barbridge Junction is where we turned right, off the main line again and onto the Middlewich Branch. We’re back onto narrow canals again.

Under Bridge 1, Middlewich Branch. This one is still wide-ish, though.SAM_0021 Br 1, Midd Branch

With just two locks to go before we moored we were making good time, but then met boats coming the other way.

A bit of a queue at Cholmondeston LockSAM_0025 Cholmondeston Lock

These locks on the branch are all deep, around 11 feet, and take a few minutes to fill. But we were soon through and on our way.

Mags in “Tiller Girl” pose.SAM_0027 Mags on tiller

We caught up with boats again at Church Minshull Lock, Chas was just taking M2L in as we arrived, and a solo boater had slotted in between. I locked the single-hander down, then we followed on.

Leaving the 11’ deep Church Minshull Lock.SAM_0030 Minshull Lock

We’d decided to pull in shortly after Aqueduct Marina, and it’s here we caught up with the convoy for the final time today. Just as the sun came out for the first time.

We took the dogs for a walk in beautiful, warm evening sunshine, foraging for firewood on the way back.

Sunset on the Middlewich Branch.SAM_0033 Moored near Aqueduct
The plume of smoke in the distance is George with his barbeque….

That’s February done, and the Llangollen left behind. Next stop Middlewich, then the Weaver.

Locks 6, miles 6½


Tom and Jan said...

We only visited the Burland Shop once during the two months we were at Swanley Bridge. It was better to walk the 2 miles to Nantwich.

Geoff and Mags said...

Hi Tom and Jan
Yes, I can see why that's a good option. I'd like to think that the Store is better stocked in the summer....