Thursday, March 12, 2015

The wind is a nuisance as we make a start on the Cheshire Locks

Last night’s rain had cleared off by this morning, but we’ve not seen a lot of the sun today. And the brisk (Mags had another word for it!!) south-easterly made it difficult.

It was around 10 when we got away, having first reversed around the corner to fill with water at the wharf. We weren’t going to bother, leaving it until we arrived at Red Bull, but plans have changed a little.

Up the first two locks out of WheelockIMG_3769

From here to the summit level most of the locks were duplicated in the 19th century in an attempt to improve the navigation and win back some of the trade lost to the Shroppie. It does make life a lot easier, till you come to a pair where one is out of action.

Between locks 63 and 64, the small settlement of Malkin’s Bank in the backgroundIMG_3771

Boating do-se-do below Lock 63.
It’s got busy all of a sudden. We met two boats today!

Locks don’t suffer from middle-age spread, more like middle-age shrinkage as the walls tend to bow in due to the pressure of the ground either side.

Towpath side Lock 61 is still open, although with a cautionary notice attached to the beam. L63 (I think) has gone past the point of no return and is closed. With the ever-spiralling cost of remedial work, it’s likely to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Unusual water feature under Bridge 150. IMG_3776
Water must be collecting in a void in the bank, then spat out under pressure in a mini geyser.

The short gap between Locks 59 and 58 gave Mags a bit of a reprieve as I reboarded and took the tiller. Only two more locks to go, those at Hassall Green just under the M6 bridge.IMG_3779

The wind between these two locks was very strong, blowing the boat into the mud on the offside. Mags managed to reverse off so I could get back on and give her a hand.

Out of Hassall Green Locks.
On the right the buildings used to house a cafe, shop and Post Office. All are closed now and converted to private residences.

We pulled in on the moorings above the lock, after what has been a difficult but thankfully quite short trip. Tomorrow we’ll move on to Rode Heath.

The reason we had to go back to top up the water tank at Wheelock is that we won’t make Red Bull before we get low. We’ll stay at Rode Heath for the weekend, we’ve visitors coming on Sunday.

Locks 10, miles 2

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