Monday, March 26, 2012

1 up, 33 along.

In feet, that’s today’s trip as we tackled the first of the Cheshire Locks.

These fine days are preceded by cold nights, down to -2° last night. They give us some fine atmospheric shots first thing.

Looking along Wheelock mooringsSAM_0002 Wheelock

Work boats below Lock 65SAM_0004 work on L65

We got away about 10:00, after I’d made a trip to HJ Lea Oakes to top up the dog food cupboard. I swear she’s got more to eat now than we have! I was a bit disappointed, though. She eats Pedigree Chum, and you’d expect that a superstore like this would offer a good discount. In fact, the opposite is true. I could have got the 24 cans at Tesco for £3 less. Still, the Markies were a bit cheaper…

It was only a couple of hundred yards to the bottom of the Wheelock Flight, the first group of locks heading up to the summit.

In Wheelock Bottom Lock No 64. SAM_0006 L64
These locks are or were all paired, the offside one added to relieve congestion. I say were, not all of the chambers are in use.

Offside Lock 65, undergoing repair.SAM_0009 L65

Once, just once, we did the whole of the Cheshire Locks in one go, from Wheelock to Red Bull. It was hard work, now we take a steady three sessions to do the same.

Malkins Bank is a picturesque canal-side settlement, with a row of cottages either side of the locks.

Malkins Bank.SAM_0010 Malkins Bank

Mags concentrating as she lines up for lock 59.SAM_0014

With the locks so close together it’s not worth me getting back on board between them. I think I spent 10 minutes on the tiller all morning, the bulk of the steering falls to Mags in these flights.

At Lock 59 you get a sight of Mow Cop Folly, 5¼ miles away.

Mow Cop on the horizonSAM_0017 Mow Cop
Traffic buzzes along the M6 in the foreground. We’ll be a lot closer as we head up the Macclesfield Canal from Hardings Wood Junction.

Two more locks at Hassel Green and we moored above Lock 57 at 12:30. A pleasant morning’s exercise.

Exploding bywash at Lock 57SAM_0023 L57 Bywash
The bywash runs through the filled in chamber of the offside lock. the channel must airlock as the water flows through causing a geyser-like effect.

Ducktor Who still sits proudly on top of the TV aerial.SAM_0021 Ducktor Who
He was bought for us by Carol (NB Corbiere) after his predecescor got decapitated. He’s a little faded, and used to flash (no, not like that!) but still eagerly shows the way.

Moored above Lock 57SAM_0026 New Moorings at L57
If you’re familiar with this section you’ll see that quite a bit of remedial work has been done here. The bank used to be collapsed and eroded, now it’s dredged, piled and there are mooring rings. As soon as it greens over it’ll be a good mooring.

Not sure if we’re pushing on or not tomorrow, we’ll see how we feel in the morning.

Locks 10, miles 1¾

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