Tescoman arrived early on Friday, but it was still nearly midday before we were squared away and ready to move. I must have been a sight when he turned up with the groceries; I’d been sanding the gunnels with an orbital sander and was covered in fine black dust! Anyway, a shower made me look presentable again, and we reversed to a wider bit of canal, spun around and headed back to Barbridge.
Leaving Henhull Bridge
Nobody on Hurleston Locks
How do they do that? More to the point – WHY do they do that?!
Into Barbridge, approaching the right turn under Bridge 1 onto the Middlewich Branch
On the branch.
We made the turn in one, the boat following wasn’t so careful and bounced off the bank as he misjudged the tightness of the corner.
I hope he realises that the bridges are narrow again from this point onwards!
We didn’t go so far, pulling in above Cholmondeston Lock in a sunny spot but sheltered from the pesky wind by a high hedge. We spent the weekend here enjoying the sunshine. Well, mainly. I got the left side gunnels finished as well.
There were a few boats about, some weekenders, some hirers and some returning to base after the Easter week away.
We set off before 10 this morning, not being sure what the weather was going to do and so leaving our destination uncertain. Approaching Cholmondeston Lock I could see a chap in a yellow jacket on the lockside opening the top gate, no boat emerged so we steamed straight in, thanking the volunteer lock-keeper as we did so. I jumped off and closed the gate, lifted the lower paddle on my side then it was suggested I get back on while he finished off dropping us down. My motto has always been “Don’t look a gift-horse in the mouth”, so I didn’t! Saved Mags having to come up anyway.
Moorings above Cholmodeston Lock
…and ready to leave
Another boat is waiting to come up, so that’ll keep the lockie busy.
We pulled in on Venetian Marina’s wharf. I wanted some solid fuel, if the forecast is anything to go by we’ll be needing it! Their diesel is only 69p at the moment, so we stuffed some of that in the tank too, and I picked up an alternator belt to hold as a spare after swapping out the old one the other day.
Venetian Marina, wharf and chandlery.
The marina is unusual in that it’s based on a broader stretch of canal, rather than being a pool with an entrance off the canal.
I was wondering whether it may have been a transhipment basin, with the Chester to Crewe line running alongside, but there’s no evidence of that and old maps prior to the mid-20th century don’t show it, so I guess it must have been purpose built.
If you’re going to meet a boat…
…it’s usually at a bridge!
Minshull Lock was twenty minutes further on, the wind was starting to pick up and there were some heavy clouds scuttling about…
Passing Aqueduct Marina
More conventional layout here, with a large pond connected to the canal by a narrow entrance. Opened in 2009, the marina has berths for 147 boats.
The weather was looking more ominous so we pulled in not far beyond the marina, in a breezy but pleasant spot looking over the Weaver Valley. The marina is presumably named after the aqueduct carrying the canal over the river, a little further on.
The hint of blue above soon turned grey, and we had a heavy shower as soon as the kettle was on. A good choice, then, stopping here.
We’ll work around the weather as we head to Middlewich. There’s plenty of pleasant mooring spots on the Middlewich Branch, so we’ll take it as it comes.
Locks 2, miles 5½