Ann and I did our bit today; Brian and Ann Marie arrived on NB Alton at just after 14:00, filled our tanks and then we helped them up Bosley Locks.
The Cloud looked impressive early this morning
I was talking yesterday about how these hills were formed; well, just to the right of centre is an old landslip in those unstable shales, above that the escarpment is formed from more durable gritstone.
There were a few boats up and down this morning, struggling in the wind. Unfortunately we set off with Alton immediately behind one, but they were making good progress until half-way up.
Brian brings Alton into Lock 11The bridge behind carried a railway, a branch line from the Manchester to Stoke line to the Churnet Valley via Leek. The Churnet Valley Railway operates trains from Leekbrook to Froghall, and has ambitious aims to re-establish the line south from Leek to Alton Towers. There are however no plans north of Leek, so we’re not likely to see steam engines on the bridge in the above picture. Shame.
Out of Lock 11, 2x Anns on the paddles. Still fairly calm down here.
Brian’s taking advantage of the pause, polishing the chimney bands.
By Lock 6, about 60 feet higher, the wind was making it’s presence felt, but Alton, deep in the water, was less affected than the hire boats ahead. It also helped having the hold open, less windage.
Heading for Lock 6, The Cloud in the background
You might think I wasn’t helping much, spending all my time with the camera in front of my face. But I was going ahead to set the locks. Until above Lock 4.
From here the pounds are exposed to the easterly wind, and boats leaving the locks were blown straight onto the bank. I spent some time with the preceding crews, helping to shove them off into deep water.
These were managing on their own….
Brian fared better, only running aground once when crossing a pound with a boat coming the other way.
It took around 2 hours to get up the 12 locks, not a record by any stretch of the imagination.
NB Alton’s crew pose in Lock 2Make a note of that number. If you need solid fuel, diesel or fenders these are the people to call. Through the winter they operate a route from their base near Macclesfield, up to Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth Basin, then down to Kidsgrove, along the Trent and Mersey to Anderton and onto The Weaver.
In around 9 days, weather permitting.
Although it’s been another fine sunny afternoon that wind has been gusting to 30 mph. It should be a little lighter tomorrow, but we’re going to move the boats up one at a time, so that we’re mob handed on the locks. That way we’ll be able to go straight up without having to hang around in the pounds while the locks above are set. That’s the plan anyway.
The Lifers will be up first, then Seyella.
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