Thursday, June 25, 2020

So good to be moving again!

We finally left Ellesmere yesterday, after several weeks of hanging around the local area.

Val and Johnny came over for a last visit early afternoon, then, as the temperature started to cool a little, we turned around at the bottom of the arm. Hopefully for the last time for a while!

A visit to the wharf saw the water tank filled and rubbish and recycling disposed of, then we set off downstream, to Whitchurch and beyond.

The cool atmosphere of Ellesmere Tunnel was a welcome relief…

…as was the sun-dappled shade beneath the trees alongside the meres.

We toddled on for another half-hour or so, passing Lyneal Wharf and pulled in  near Hampton Bank.

This morning Amber and I had an early walk, then we were off again at 9 o’clock, aiming for a short trip and to tie up again before it got too hot.

The wharf next to Hampton Bank Bridge must have been of some importance at one time, judging by the size of the house on the offside of the canal…

The canal sweeps across the embankment at Hampton Bank then loops around, past Bettisfield and onto the long straight past the flat, peaty expanse of Bettisfield Moss.

At the end of the straight the Prees Branch heads off to the right, south-east, with a large house overlooking the junction.

As is common with a lot of the projects started at the tail end of the canal era, the branch didn’t actually get all the way to Prees, running out of steam (and money) at Quina Brook, several miles short of it’s planned destination.Now only the first mile or so is navigable down to Whixall Marina. The remaining 2¾ miles is mainly a series of shallow weed-choked ponds, a lot of it a designated nature reserve.

We negotiated Morris Lift Bridge, still requiring 80 turns of the hydraulic pump to lift the road bed and the first time I‘ve used a windlass for several weeks and then moored just the other side of Roundthorn Bridge. I expect we’ll wait out tomorrow’s stormy weather here. But the internet is so poor we may brave the weather and move on a little.

Amber is getting more used to cruising now, she’s comfortable enough that she is prepared to crash out on the back deck.

But she does prefer a little “me time” when we stop…

Locks 0, miles 7¾. Wow, that’s been our recent monthly mileage!

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