Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Up onto the long pound.

Over the last two days we’ve come up the last of the locks onto the Ellesmere pound, the level stretch of canal that reaches from above Grindley Brook to New Marton, a distance of just under 20 miles. At New Marton the final two locks take the navigation up onto the summit level to Llangollen.

On Sunday night the clear skies and dust in the air gave us one of those red/orange moons as it rose above the horizon.

On Tuesday with the Easter traffic easing a little, we set off, with Quoisley Lock just a mile on. Even though there were fewer boats about, we still had two boats in front of us at the lock.

With crews helping one another we were soon on the way, fifteen minutes to Willeymoor Lock, alongside the pub of the same name.

We were too early for it to be open, but I reckon those tables and chairs would have been full later…

Povey’s Lock was next, not far up the canal, and then we pulled in a bit further on, before Jackson’s Bridge.
There are good moorings below Grindley Brook Locks, but the towpath is wider here and the water flow when the bottom lock is emptied is less noticeable.

After an afternoon spent cramped up in the engine ‘ole re-piping and re-installing the water heater after servicing the beast, I was glad to face the prospect of Grindley Brook Locks this morning.
We timed it well, arriving at the bottom of the three singles soon after a boat had come down.

Grindley Brook Bottom Lock

The by-washes on this flight are notoriously fierce.

With no boats ahead of us we had the single locks set for us, but I thought our luck couldn’t hold at the staircase triple. But it did…! A boat was just leaving the bottom lock as we arrived, and the two volunteer lock-keepers invited us to go straight in.   

Going up the staircase locks.

With such a good run we were up, bottom to top, in less than 45 minutes. You can wait that long to even start the flight sometimes!

Dropping the rubbish and recycling, then topping up the water tank took us another half-hour, and then we were tied up before noon. I had to toddle off back down to the small shop at the garage before we had lunch; we’d run out bread. On the way I stopped for a chat with the couple who now own Yarwood, I’m embarrassed to say I’ve forgotten their names. If you read this, I’m so sorry, and the boat we were trying to remember from the Wash trip in 2015 is Panacea.

The weather has now turned back to what you’d expect for late April, with thundery showers moving in this afternoon and more forecast over the next few days. If you’re not actually caught out in them though, these April showers smell wonderful, earthy and sooty, the scent known as Petrichor.

We’re going to play it by ear for a bit, although it smells beautiful we’d rather not get too wet!

Graham from Ingleton got in touch, the glitch on the sat-nav as we headed north last week may have been due to WNRO – Week Number Roll Over, which affects GPS satellites. Something to do with date storage, a proper explanation here. Thanks Graham.

Locks 9, miles 3½

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