Wednesday, April 22, 2015

To Middlewich and beyond–just!

Following our current plan of longer days while there’s no locks (and while the weather is fine…) we were off at 9 o’clock, heading for Anderton.

Another beautiful morning just before we left.IMG_4343

We arrived at Saltersford Tunnel with a few minutes in hand before the half-past the hour southbound “window”

Often you’ll meet traffic at Barnton Tunnel, there’s no time restriction on this one as you can see right through, and boats leaving Anderton get here around mid-morning. Nothing at all coming through today though. In fact, the moorings in Anderton were very quiet, only 4 or 5 boats in all.

We topped up and emptied tanks at the services, then pushed on.

Marbury Wood is looking good in it’s fresh foliage.IMG_4346

That confirms it, Spring must be here! Our first swallow!IMG_4347

Shifting a boat about at Wincham Wharf.IMG_4349

Orchard Marina, where Seyella was built nearly 9 years ago.IMG_4354
There are no services available here now, the main business is the mooring basin.

There’s a pipe bridge crossing the canal near the new towpath-side marina. It’s developed a leak, spouting water vertically from a valve on the top.IMG_4355
At least I hope it was water, you never know around here! It didn’t taste salty…

Meg was restless as we passed one of our regular stops at the flashes, giving me a reproachful look as we cruised on.

South Flash, a few boats here enjoying the sunshine.IMG_4359

Whatcroft Lodges

Ever-patient anglerIMG_4364

Blackthorn and Hawthorn bushes
Blackthorn has flowers before leaves, Hawthorn has leaves before flowers.

We did have locks today, but right at the end of the day’s travels. Big Lock introduces the canal to Middlewich, and is the first on the ascent to the summit level at Tunstall. (No, I refuse to count the 3 inch rise of Dutton Stop Lock!)

Mags in Big Lock, pub of the same name alongside.IMG_4367

From here it’s 10 minutes to Middlewich Locks, a flight of three deep chambers which lift the canal 33 feet.

We met boats coming out of the bottom and middle, but had to wait for a hire boat being reversed out of the dry-dock before following it up the top lock.

Into the bottom lock

Middlewhich Narrowboats’ dry dock.IMG_4370
Just for info, this dry dock is available for DIY hire, and you can stay aboard, not always the case.

Threading our way through the boats at Middlewich Narrowboats base we passed the junction to the Middlewich Branch and ascended King’s Lock.

Up King’s Lock

We called it a day on the moorings above the lock. After 6 hours in the saddle we’d had enough.

Tomorrow we’ve an easy day, just a gentle toddle to Wheelock

Locks 5, miles 13½

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