Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Downward towards the Shroppie.

The internet connection was poor where we stopped last night, so I didn’t even try to post. So today you get two for the price of one! Hurray!

It was dry but very breezy as we set off from near Quoisley yesterday. The intention was to moor at Wrenbury, one lock and two lift bridges on, but we didn’t actually get that far.

You can’t tell from the pictures, but the cross-wind was vicious SAM_7732

Marbury Lock was our first obstacle, and I told Mags to stay inside, the strong wind wouldn’t do her any good. I slipped up by allowing Seyella to drift forward to the top of the by-wash weir while I set the lock. After the rain we’ve had there’s a lot of water going down the by-wash and I had the devil’s own job getting unstuck. A combination of the wind and the tow from the weir keeping us snug against the bank.

The problem weir, under the concrete sleepersSAM_7733

Normally the by-washes are on the offside, but in this case the lock cottage is in the way…

That’s the water that was going under the towpath at the top of the lock!SAM_7734

We didn’t get much further. The wind increased and it got darker, threatening rain which would have made it even less funny, so we pulled in after Thomason’s Bridge, 15 minutes from the first of the Wrenbury lift bridges.

After a wild and wet night it dawned calm and dry today, but the wind steadily increased as the sun rose. Not as bad as yesterday, though.

Heading for WrenburySAM_7737

Why the long face? It’s a fine morning!

Yesterday afternoon Mags would have struggled to hold the boat in position as I opened the mechanised bridge at Wrenbury Mill, but today she managed with no problem, steering cleanly through the gap and swinging onto the towpath to pick me up.

Heading in for embarkation SAM_7742
We only held up three cars and a tractor this morning…
As it turned out I stayed off and Meg hopped off too. The next bridge to open is only 500 yards away. A bit of a mistake though. In places the towpath was very boggy.

Mags coming through Wrenbury Church Lift BridgeSAM_7743
The field beyond is where the proposed marina will be built, if the developers can overcome the building local opposition. The businesses will be in favour, the residents against, I expect.

A half-hour (and a mug of coffee) further on we caught up with NB Brock, single-handing down the first of the Baddiley Locks.

NB Brock in Baddiley Top Lock

By-wash with Seyella on the lock landing aboveSAM_7745
I helped Brock at each of the three locks, closing up after he’d left the chamber so I could fill it again. It was a surprise to come across another moving boat. He’s the first we’ve seen since Grindley Brook last Thursday.

Mags between Baddiley Locks Nos 2 and 3

The chap on Brock was a bit disappointed when i told him we’d be stopping above Swanley, he’s intending to drop down the two Swanley Locks and moor at Burland. We pulled in between Bridges 13 and 12, and just thirty minutes later the heavens opened.

Good timing!SAM_7748
We’d have just been between the locks if we’d carried on.

The shower has blown over now and the sun is out. Even with the wind it’s 9° outside!

Locks 4, miles 6

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