Sunday, May 27, 2012

An abundance of anglers and a sprinkling of locks.

Today we left our mooring of the last couple of nights on the edge of Middlewich.

Our hawthorn bush has perfumed the boat in the mornings through the windows, and shaded Meg in the afternoon.SAM_0420 Croxton Mooring
This is 08:20, just look at the sky! Apart from some high haze first thing in the mornings we’ve not seen a cloud for several days.

Just around the corner is Big Lock, aptly named as it’s bigger than the rest….

Approaching Big LockSAM_0423 Big Lock
There used to be a line of permanently moored boats on the left but they’ve all gone now since the new housing development appeared on the opposite bank. I hope the two events aren’t linked, but I suspect they might be….

Today there was just a lone fisherman, but we brought him a bit of luck…

Good sized perchSAM_0424 Big Fish

Looking back at the Kingfishers development from Big LockSAM_0427 Big Lock

There’s just time for a coffee before the first of the three Middlewich Locks is reached. These are now all narrow like all the locks we’ll see till we get to Braunston, and were against us this morning. But they’re quick to fill and empty, and on such a gorgeous morning, who cares anyway?

Mags waits patiently as I set up Lock 75
SAM_0430 Middlewich Locks

We met a boat coming down in L73, then carried on through the town, past Wardle Junction and into Kings Lock.

Wardle JunctionSAM_0431 Wardle Junction
Under the bridge leads to the 100 yard long Wardle Canal, built by the Trent and Mersey Canal Company so they kept control of this potentially lucrative trade route. Beyond Wardle Lock is the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.

Nosing into Kings LockSAM_0432 Kings Lock

Mags checks that she’s all the way in…SAM_0433 Kings Lock

It was heading out of town that we met the first line of anglers sitting in the sun.

The fine weather had had an effect on their general demeanour. Out of the 19 in the first group, 10 actually “let on”, instead of delving in the recesses of tackle boxes or finding something fascinating about a half-drowned maggot…

Looking back from Rumps LockSAM_0436

For a mile or so the canal and the busy Sandbach road run side by side, and we passed another group of hopefuls before the Booth Lane Locks. Not such a good result this time, barely half a dozen acknowledged our presence. Maybe they didn't see us…

Booth Lane LocksSAM_0438 Booth Lane Locks
The road swings away before Crows Nest Lock, our last lock of the day and the start of yet another long line of blokes desperate for a bite.

Crows Nest LockSAM_0440 Crows Nest Lock

Another mile and a half and we pulled up at around 12:15, opposite Yeoman’s Farm near the delightfully named Paddy’s Wood, although there doesn’t seem to be much of a wood around..

Paddy’s “Wood”.SAM_0444 Moored Near Paddy's Wood

We were immediately visited by a young mum keen on showing off the little ones, and of course hoping for maybe a little bread?

Spare us a crust, Guv?SAM_0442

Now we’re amongst the locks we’re starting the long climb up to the Stoke plateau culminating in the gloomy 1¾ miles of the Harecastle Tunnel. Then it’s back down the other side. Who ever said water finds it’s own level?

I feel a bit sorry for the aging Englebert Humperdinck, who, dragged across the Atlantic from his home in sunny Southern California, had to represent England in the Eurovision Song Contest. Did no-one else want to do it? Whether it was politics or just a rubbish song (it was a bit dreary, wasn't it?) I'm glad he upheld the great tradition of coming in anything other than first. In fact, with just 12 points (douze point) we came in very close to last. But we did beat our friends the Norwegians...
Never mind, we won't get the Hump...

Locks 9, miles 5¾

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