Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Windy to Wheelock

The wind was back with a vengeance today, blowing almost from the south so it was in our faces for most of today’s trip.

I was able to get my morning run in before it got too strong, luckily, leaving at 7 and getting back around 8:15.

We were off at around 10:00, we wanted a good start because rain was forecast later. No point in getting wet for no reason. It worked out well, in fact. We had a few drops as we left Crow’s Nest Lock, then it held off till we’d moored at Wheelock.

Above King’s Lock some of the cast concrete copings have been undermined and have slipped into the canal. They’ve been like this for some time, but now C&RT are doing something about it. They’re breaking up and removing the old edge in preparation for renewing it. It’s unusual to see a working boat heavily loaded these days…

NB Gailey, loaded with scrap concrete.IMG_3752
They look so much better with a load on.

There’s always a large population of swans at Middlewich, they’re well looked after. Although this year there seems to be fewer than last.

Half a dozen took wing as we approachedIMG_3754

Our first lock was Rumps, with The Kinderton Arms alongside on Booth Lane. It’s been empty for some time now. A fine looking building, too.IMG_3757

Passing the extensive salt works.
Plenty there to pay a Roman Legion for a few months. Legionnaires were often paid in salt, a valuable commodity at the time. That’s the origin of the word “"salary”.

The canal flanks Booth Lane for a couple of miles and we met another boat coming the other way below the two locks along here. So we had the next three empty and ready for us.

Mags coming into Crow’s Nest Lock, our fourth and last for the day.IMG_3759

There’s been some changes around Elworth and Ettiley Heath. Elton Moss Boatbuilders seem to have folded their tents and left…
Ah, they’ve moved to Middlewich.

And the large Bellway Homes development seems to be expanding rapidly.IMG_3766


With the West Coast Main Line cutting through the middle of the estate it’d be more appropriately called Railway Fields, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it…

The canal turns westerly for a bit, running above the valley of the River Wheelock as it heads to the village of the same name.

Wheelock WharfIMG_3768
Before the construction of the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal and the Middlewich Branch (both now part of the Shropshire Union) this wharf was an important transport hub, connecting the canal via turnpike to Crewe and Nantwich to the south-east, and Sandbach to the north-west.

We pulled up on the moorings beyond the wharf, in sight of the bottom lock of the Wheelock Flight. This marks the start of the Cheshire Locks, aka Heartbreak Hill. Twenty-six locks over the next 6½ miles lift the canal to Harecastle Tunnel and the summit level.
Starting them tomorrow.

Hi Debby, thanks for the comment. Yes, the training is on track. looking at starting the long runs in the next couple of weeks. That'll be fun...
I was sad to read that Maureen had passed on three years ago. There are a lot of boaters who benefited from her advice.

Locks 4, miles 5½

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