Wow, it’s been crazy today! At just about every blind bend, bridge hole or narrows we met at least one, often several, oncoming boats.
It started well, a gentle 15 minute chug to fill with diesel at NB Dexta at Taft Wharf, aka the pig farm. A very reasonable 67p/litre.
Then another 35 minutes and we were tied up near Bridge 66 so I could make a quick visit to Tesco’s.
Over the Trent, it’s getting bigger now…
A splendid little duck house, fit for an MP’s garden!
In front of us when I got back was NB City of Durham, belonging to Nick and Anne. It appears that Nick is a long-term blog reader, though how he puts up with this drivel is beyond me…
They’re on their way to take part in this year’s BCN Challenge, hoping to better their ranking from last year.
Good luck with that, guys.
The chaos started soon after we left the moorings. First I had to run into the offside shallows to let two boats through Bridge 64, then we met another under Bridge 62, the one with the awkward S bend under the main road. There was a queue for the water point just beyond, then, at the end of the long length of moorings there was a boat emerging from the narrows where Armitage Tunnel used to be.
I held back to let him get clear before we went through ourselves.
By this time we were at the head of a three-boat convoy.
Coming past The Plum Pudding we met another two, I think the following pair may have cleared the narrows by then though, then got through the next restriction, below the church and around the corner, unopposed.
It’s the next narrow bit, I hate. Beyond the railway bridge there’s a left bend before Bridge 59, leaving you unsighted through the overgrown channel.
Of course, a boat was just coming through the bridge as we rounded the curve…
We’ve some scratches on the cabin side from where I had to dive into the shrubbery. They should polish out, though.
My nerves were getting a little frazzled by now, I think we’d seen more boats this morning than through the entire winter!
For the next 10 minutes the canal was empty, then another three boats arrived at Bridge 58, just as we did.
I held back to let the first one through, drifting into the offside shallows for my trouble, so decided to stay there while the second, hard on his leader’s heels, came through too. He dithered and dallied while I got more and more frustrated waiting for him to make a move.
It’s not easy holding a narrowboat in one place while there’s a breeze, shallow water and a passing boat. Finally my frantic gesticulating got through and he very gingerly crept past. I wasn’t waiting for number three, pulling out and going for it while he got out of my way!
The last mile or so to our overnight stop near Bridge 55 passed without incident, what few boats we saw were met on wider bits of the canal.
We pulled in, allowing past the hire boat that had been chasing us since Handsacre, at around 2 o’clock.
Aah, summer cruising on the Trent and Mersey, don’t you just love it… Maybe we should join Nick and Anne on the nether regions of the BCN!
Tomorrow to Fradley Junction.
Locks 0, miles 8