Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A good few days, then back among the locks.

What a beautiful weekend that was! With bright sunshine over Saturday and Sunday I barely had to run the engine for power! Of course, come Monday we were back to normal…

Val and John came over on Sunday, bearing gifts for Mags, Val’s “other mother”. Then on Monday we moved the short distance from the Whitchurch Arm to the moorings above Grindley Brook Locks.

Coming out of the Whitchurch Arm.
It’s too tight to turn right here, so to head for the locks you first have to head back “uphill” for a couple of hundred yards to a winding hole where you can turn around.

I took great pains not to disturb this expectant mother near the winding hole.IMG_3813
She opened one bleary eye then went back to sleep. Meanwhile her mate was patrolling the canal hissing at the passing boats.

It was less than a mile to the moorings where we stayed the night. In the morning, Tuesday now, we moved on down to the taps to fill with water and picked up Val and John again. They were joining us for the day to help with the locks.
Boats were on the move by now, and we had a half-hour wait for two coming up before we could make a start.
Traffic was flowing well with two lockies on hand, unlike over the weekend when apparently there was water running down the towpath on a couple of occasions when crews got the levels on the triple staircase wrong!

With plenty of folk with windlasses around, I stayed aboard down the staircase, then Mags took over for the three individual chambers further down.

The lock house, now private

Coming down the triple staircase, Val and John and one of the lockies on the lockside.IMG_3818


…and not just around the gates!

With the staircase done the official assistance came to an end, so I swapped with Mags for the three singles.IMG_3822

Out of the bottom lock, under the old railway bridge and we moored on the end of the visitor moorings a little further on. Home-made soup and fresh bread (Val’s) made a welcome lunch on what was quite a chilly day. Our guests left us to head back home late afternoon. We’re heading further and further away from them now, so opportunities for visits are getting less frequent. There’s a  plan to meet up in Chester in a week or two’s time, though.

This morning the first boats were on the move at just after eight, heading up. We’d had at least half a dozen moored near us last night. The first of the down-hill boats went past at just around half-nine, so we gave them half an hour and set off in pursuit.

Grey and gloomy as we set off

Aren’t sheep funny, they’ve got all that field but they have to stay in line, winding up and over the hill.IMG_3825

We’d timed it well, by the time we’d refilled, entered and were dropping down in Povey’s Lock there were another three boats behind us.

Povey’s Lock, the first of four today

Watersports, mallard style.
He was working hard against the flow coming down the bywash. You’d have thought he’d have just flown up, but maybe he likes a challenge…

Willymoor and Quoisley Locks come soon after, then there’s a bit of a gap before Marbury Lock.

Unusually there are railings along the lock side at MarburyIMG_3830

The canal steadily descends from Grindley Brook to the Shropshire Union Main Line below Hurleston as it heads down to the Cheshire Plain. It drops 135 feet through 19 locks from Whitchurch to Hurleston.

We were tempted to pull in below the lock, but the day was still fine so we pressed on, finally stopping just short of Wrenbury. A little further than planned, but with rain forecast for most of tomorrow we may not be moving far.

Mustn't forget to say hello to Angie and Steve, met as they came down Grindley Brook yesterday afternoon. Have a good trip back, and thanks for the support!

Locks 10, miles 6½ – since last post.


Ade said...

Hi Geoff & Maggs,
Still here following your posts and travels. Certainly enjoyed the tales of your winter spent on the Llangollen. Great seeing Mags taking charge at the tiller too. Looking forward to your spring and summer cruising blogs.
Cheers for sharing.

Geoff and Mags said...

Thanks Ade, glad to have you aboard.