Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More locks, less rain.

A bright start this morning, and we managed to get our day’s cruising in without any of the forecasted showers bothering us. We weren’t going far, these days we pace ourselves on the Cheshire Locks, known to generations of working boatmen as “Heartbreak Hill”. If you do them way we do, over two-three easy days, they’re actually very enjoyable.

Meg and I walked along to set the first lock of the day, the top one of the Pierpoint Locks. Several boats had already gone past so I expected to have to fill it, and wasn’t wrong.

Pierpoint LocksSAM_9119

Both of these locks are single, not duplicated. There doesn’t seem to be enough spce for an adjacent chamber on the offside, but there are unnecessarily large entrances to the by-wash culverts. I guess the far side lock wall (on the extreme left) has been completely removed.

The first six locks today came in pairs, Pierpoint, Hassall Green, and a pair between the M6 and Malkins Bank. Meg and I rode the long gaps, walked the short ones.

Hassall Green top lock number 57, and a boat just coming up.SAM_9120
It was breezy today, but not quite the gale that those trees seem to imply…

There used to be be diesel and coal available here, sold from the cafe, but the cafe has closed, and the fuel supply gone with it.

Hassall GreenSAM_9121

We were planning to moor near the golf course at Malkins Bank, but we were going so well and it was a pleasant day, so we pushed on, down another four, to moor near the bridge that used to carry the Salt Line.

Passing C&RT’s heritage boat NB Scorpio
Old working boats like this can have problems on these flights of narrow locks. They were built to a standard 7’ wide, and like the majority of us, tend to get a bit of middle age spread.
The locks, on the other hand, are going the other way. Over the years the ground has settled, pushing the chamber walls inwards. Modern boats are now built at 6’10” to overcome this problem, but this doesn’t help the oldsters… 

In this case, at Lock 63, there’s no choice. The problem has got so bad in the older chamber that it’s been closed.

Malkins Bank, canal settlementSAM_9124

Mags brings Seyella into Lock 64, our last for today

Two pairs of lock gates..SAM_9130

SAM_9131Moored above Lock 65

We had a rash of boats about earlier today, then a quiet spell, now we’ve got the last flurry of hire boats thrashing their way around the Four Counties Ring in a week…

Since we’ve stopped we’ve had a few showers, and the forecast tells us that there’s more to come over the next few days. It is only April, though.

Hi Sue, Carol. Yes, it was a mad moment!

Sue, you can always tell if boats have been up to the tunnel; our weed line is orange! (I hope it’s not rust…)

Locks 10, miles 2

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