I was just getting ready to set off this morning when a boat came around the corner behind us. There’s nothing more annoying than seeing a boat set off in front of you when there’s locks not far ahead, so I waited for him to go past. We caught up of course at Swanley Bottom Lock.
After a damp and windy night it had cleared up by the time we got going at around half-ten.
It was with great joy to those of us who regularly winter on the Llangollen that last March saw the introduction of a fuel boat on the canal. It was certain to attract plenty of trade. But alas it was a short-lived enterprise due to family problems and the two boats, Mountbatten and Jellicoe, are again for sale and tied up near Burland.
Back to paying through the nose for diesel at the marinas, then. At least there are a couple of coal merchants local to the canal and willing to deliver.
The boat we were following was the blacksmith Brian Greaves and his wife on their tandem boats Emily-Bronte.
The Emily is accommodation, the Bronte his workshop and push-tug.
Us coming up Swanley Top
We met two more boats here waiting to go down.
There’s a stoppage next week on this stretch of the canal to repair some underwater damage to Bridges 10 and 11. CRT contractors are already moving gear in…
…including some large pipework.
On this canal it’s a bit more involved than on most others, due to the flow of around a million gallons of water per day coming down from Horseshoe Falls and heading for Hurleston Reservoir and ultimately the taps of the good citizens of Birmingham. All that water has to be diverted around any temporary dams to keep the reservoir topped up.
Of course it’s that flow that makes this canal an attractive proposition for winter cruising. The continuous movement of the water prevents ice forming unless it’s really cold. You still have to watch out on the short Ellesmere Arm and the Montgomery Canal.
We moored up soon after Bridge 11, it’s been a fine but cold afternoon since. There’s going to be a hard frost tonight…
Locks 2, miles 2¼