Not much to report on the last couple of days. The weather has been brilliant, of course, but we’ve all enjoyed that, haven’t we.
I was taking Meg out for a constitutional on Saturday morning when Lee and Roberta came up, with fuel boat Halsall. We’d be needing some diesel sometime in the next week, so I flagged them down and took on diesel and a couple of bags of solid fuel. Of course, we’ve not had the stove lit since. Still, it’ll not go off…
We left the moorings after we’d filled up, heading for Big Lock. I was hoping we’d be able to share this broad lock with a boat behind us who were also making preparations, but as soon as they cast off another boat appeared from under the road bridge. We could have pulled out in front of both, but I’d be pretty miffed if someone did that to me. Thinking about it, they have and I was…
So we had to wait for those two boats to drop down before we could refill the lock for ourselves.
I’d just got Mags in and the gates shut when another boat came around the corner. I waved them on and opened one of the gates again so they could come in alongside. The woman got off, shut the gate on their side and got back on again… Hmm, do I look like a lock-keeper? I shouted across that they should do their side. It turns out they’d been brought down the Middlewich Locks by a volunteer, so they assumed I was one too. When I explained I was merely a boater like them they were suitably apologetic.
Out of the lock we pushed on, crossing over Croxton Aqueduct which makes the extra width of Big Lock now redundant. From Town Wharf in Middlewich the canal was built capable of accommodating salt barges up off the Weaver. Hence the wide lock. But the original stone-built Croxton Aqueduct over the Dane was damaged in a flood and was replaced with a narrow iron trough.
The canal follows the river valley for a while as it heads north, through some fine wooded stretches, dappled with sunshine and filled with birsong and the heady scents of fresh blossom.
Some of the bends are well overdue a bit of a bank trimming though.
We toddled on, enjoying the day, and pulled in just beyond the largest of the two flashes in the early afternoon.
We stayed where we were yesterday, later in the day Tony and Margaret on Huffler pulled in ahead of us so we had a bit of a catch up.
So this morning, under brilliant blue skies, we set off towards Anderton. Another gentle cruise, punctuated by a stop at Wincham so I could nip down to B&Q for a pair of loo seat hinges, and then another to fill with water and dispose of the rubbish at Anderton Services.
The new Oakwood Marina at Billinge Green Flash is coming on now…
…as is Park Farm Marina on the towpath side.
Our first cygnets of the year near Orchard Marina.
The Broken Cross pub dates from the opening of the canal, 1777.
Through the Brunner-Mond, now TATA, chemical works….
…and past Wincham Wharf.
Swinging around to the north of Northwich the canal passes the Lion Salt Works and the Salt Barge Inn before entering the greenery of Marbury Woods.
Meg and I have spent many happy hours mooching around here, Meg chasing the squirrels. Sadly she’s no longer up to long walks. And the squirrels are getting a reprieve…
Another swan family
We topped off the water tank at the services then found us a spot to moor between Bridges 198 and 199. I think we’ll be here for a couple of days. We’d no sooner tied up than Peter and Jennifer, Mactra's Filia, pulled in in front of us. We had a good chat over a cup of tea. The first of several, I expect.
Locks 0, miles 10½