Monday, May 26, 2014

Bank Holiday traffic

From first thing this morning it was busy on the Bridgewater, boats large and small zipping up and down the canal in the warm sunshine.

Looking across towards the Mersey from our mooring, Fiddlers Ferry power station on the right, Runcorn’s Victorian water tower to the left.Panorama

We took our time getting ready to go, it was around 10:15 when we pulled pins and set off towards Preston Brook.

Our first port of call though was round on the Runcorn Arm to fill with water and empty the loo tanks. That done we headed back to the junction, turning right for Preston Brook Tunnel.

Midland Chandlers were having a 15% off day, I should have waited and picked up the bits I got from Thorn here.SAM_9730

Claymoore must be busy, only one of their hire boats still at base.SAM_9731

We weren’t surprised to find a queue at the north portal of the tunnel; we were the fifth boat in line, waiting for 11:30 and a convoy of half a dozen vessels coming the other way.

By the time the tunnel was clear and we were lining up to enter it was 20 to 12, the end of the “window” for southbound traffic. One of the boats behind us elected to wait for an hour and be at the head of the next group through, a wise decision as it turned out.SAM_9734

The boat ahead was very slow and very smoky, you can see the haze of exhaust smoke to the right of the portal in the picture above. Several times I had to drop out of gear to avoid running up too close.
And the boat in front of him didn’t have a working tunnel light, and we could here him ricocheting off the tunnel walls. Bank Holidays, eh. Don’t you just love ‘em.

I was very pleased to see the other end, after the longest passage we’ve made of this tunnel.

There was a queue at this end too, and we were hailed by the crew of NB Dee O Ghr*** (sorry, I made a mental note of the name, fatal) “We read your blog!”
Thanks folks, you know who you are! Have a good trip.

The shallow stop lock is a pain when it’s quiet, it’s a real bottleneck when it’s busy like today. We dropped a solo boater through, and it turned out to be Richard on NB Pendle Warter, another reader.

Swapping the lock with Pendle WaterSAM_9738
I think Meg’s contemplating suicide. After that tunnel trip I know how she feels!

Pen and cygnets near the dry dock

Two close calls on the bends around Dutton Lodge, one with a day boat under a bridge, the other with a Black Prince boat on a tight turn, meant a very slow 1½ miles to the breach moorings at Dutton Hollow, where we pulled over, a little frazzled. I think we might stay here tomorrow, too…SAM_9743

Taking Meg out this evening we met up with another blog reader, Peter. Not a boater but a regular towpath walker in the area, we’ve met before, some time ago. Good to see you again.

After a very pleasant day the rain is set to return tomorrow and Wednesday. Ah well, it makes you appreciate it all the more when it’s sunny…

Locks 1, miles 4


KevinTOO said...

I think it might have been that you passed... D-O-G...
Hope the weather picks up a bit now the Bank Holidays are over until August :)

Richard said...

Hi Geoff it was certainly mayhem at dutton lock! I was glad yo wait until the 1pm slot and have a free passage. You are moored in exactly the same spot I was last night-one of the best on the cut!
nb pendle warter