Thursday, May 07, 2015

From the Trent to the Mersey.

That was James Brindley’s vision when he surveyed the route of the Grand Trunk Canal, the navigation that we now know as the Trent and Mersey Canal. And we’ve done just that, only the other way around.
We passed Pomona Lock about three weeks ago, which gives access to the Manchester Ship Canal and the Mersey, and today we’re moored just a few hundred yards from the Trent. We should have actually been on Trent water today, but plans changed a little…

We had a great catch up with Carol and Ellie last night, the girls were on good form. Carol’s dog, little Sealey, is starting to show her age now. She’s lost most of her teeth and has cataracts in both eyes. But she still recognised the boat and made a fuss of Meg.

The rain and wind finally cleared away overnight, but not before it treated us to a beautiful double rainbow.

This morning dawned still and dry, and we were up and ready to go around nine o’clock.

Mags was feeling chipper, probably because she wasn’t getting wet for the first time in 2 days!IMG_4601

Fine still morning – for a while.

Aston Lock was our second of the day. The last time we passed this way I had a lot of trouble keeping the bottom gates shut while trying to fill the lock. C&RT have put in place one of their patent solutions since.
Simple but effective.

We spotted a familiar figure ambling up the towpath towards us, it was Kevin, NB Rock’n’Roll, who decided to walk up to meet us. He joined us on board as we headed to Shardlow, then helped us down the Shardlow Lock.

We pulled in opposite Dobson’s Boatyard so I could walk over to see if I could get a half sheet of plywood from the boatfitter. He flogged me a damp stained piece of 12mm for a knock-down price. I was glad that the wind had dropped while I carried a 4 foot by 4 foot sheet of wood back around to the boat!

Now I’d been successful in getting the wood I had to get it cut up. Finding room for large sheet of ply on a narrowboat is not easy. So that’s where the change in plan came in. We’d intended to head across Derwent Mouth onto Sawley Cut to moor there tonight. But it’s a busy towpath there, not ideal for me and my workmate. So we pulled in above Derwent Mouth Lock, Lock 1 on the Trent and Mersey, where there’s a wide, grass towpath.

I had to wait on the weather though. Coming out of Shardlow the heavens opened, the first of several short but intense bursts of rain. But there was a longish dry spell and even a return of the sun this afternoon, so I was able to get on with my latest project.

I know what it looks like…
…but I’m not taking up undertaking!

Long and narrow it’s a new top box that will sit in the centre of the boat alongside the pole rack. The lid will be a 100 watt solar panel, when it finally catches up with us!
A couple of coats of decking sealer after I’ve reassembled it with glued and screwed corners will finish it off.

Locks 3, miles 3 ¾   

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