Sunday, 1 September 2013

Off the Llangollen, along the Middlewich and down the Trent & Mersey

I had a lovely day shopping on Wednesday with my sisters and niece in Birmingham.  Thursday saw us back down Grindley Brook locks, a relatively small wait apparently compared to the day before, we had to wait for a couple of boats coming up and then we were down.  We continued our return to Hurleston Junction, stopping overnight at Wrenbury where we enjoyed a very good steak in the Dusty Miller.

On Thursday we returned to Nantwich, used the laundrette and filled with diesel, turned around and headed for the Middlewich Branch.

Middlewich Branch  -John's house

Middlewich Branch - my house

This shows how quiet it is this is late in the afternoon at Jacksons Bridge and not one boat

We love this stretch of canal, although short, it is scenic, and, as with everywhere this year, very quiet, a few boats on the move, we moored just outside of Middlewich on Friday evening, moving down into Middlewich on Saturday.

We were very disappointed in Middlewich, boaters rubbish, it can't be anyone else, from outside the town along the towpath and within the town moorings.  And  dog poo!  Towpaths are a dog walkers paradise, but come on, clear up after your dog.  I know a number of people complain, but the grass between the towpath and the canal was disgusting, there are loads of poo bins, so there is really no excuse.  The boaters rubbish could be solved by CRT providing rubbish bins in Middlewich, I think an email of to CRT is in order.

Rant over.... A bit of shopping done and off onto the Trent & Mersey and Hearbreak Hill, or the Cheshire locks, depending on which name you prefer.  They are relentless but never the less, not that difficult to work, very few have stiff paddles and as most of them are pairs of locks, often one is in your favour, which is great. It was a pleasant day so we carried on to Church Lawton.

Early morning - Middlewich Branch

A very new born calf

John working the lock

A fitting tribute to Maureen

Kings Lock Junction

This morning was a bit colder than it has been, we continued the last few locks down to Harecastle Tunnel.  On arrival we were told that we would have to wait about an hour as a boat had just entered from the Stoke end.  Just time for a Sunday bacon buttie.  By the time the boat had exited we had been joined by a family on a first time hire.  They had gone through the tunnel the other day and had hit the sides with 'sparks', mainly we think, as they had been told to 'go for it' so had gone through on max power, and therefore little control.   John told the chap to go at a speed that he felt comfortable with and then he would have some control.  We went in first and they followed a little way behind, at the other end we chatted to them whilst we were getting water and they said that it was far better 'and no sparks!'.  We then caught them up going into Etruria and we were quite amused that they beeped their horn at every corner.      We continued to the Stoke locks when we were behind a Canal Time boat being shown how to operate the locks, the chap went down the first three locks  with them, giving them good instructions, they then continued on their own, beeping at all the corners and bridges, so may be the latest instructions from Canal time!  We have moored above Stone tonight.

Getting ready to head off to warmer climes

A new design pram hood?

The bridge behind the lock is the aqueduct carrying the Macclesfield canal over the Trent & Mersey canal

Entrance to the tunnel

Tonight's sunset

Thursday  29th August 7.5 miles 10 locks 3 lift bridges
Friday 30th August 19.5 miles 11 locks
Saturday 31st August 13 miles 26 locks
Sunday 1st Sept 15.5 miles 16 locks 2926 yds of tunnel

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