Friday, 5 September 2014

Farewell broad waters, back on the muddy ditch.

This morning saw us pulling the pin's in bright sunshine.  Even early on, it was decidedly warm.  The forecast was for cloud and sun and whilst this proved true later in the day, the morning was indeed glorious.

Some lovely boats

Ice Breaker - Ventura

One of the Bridgewater cranes & stop planks

We have become used to a somewhat increased cruising speed on the deep waters, although we always slow passing moored boats.  As previously stated, this is not always the norm hereabouts.  Our first priority was to top up the water.  Our one regret is not having a much bigger water tank.  We have never run out, but use every opportunity to top up the tank. A water point just south of Little Bollington replenished the tank and then we resumed passing a long line of boats on permanent moorings near to Hesford marine.  Although the canal here is broad and deep, we kept our speed down so that we were creating no wash and minimal disturbance.  But, some distance behind us was a boat, decidedly not going slowly and catching us up.  We chugged on...

At Lloyd bridge, we stopped to empty the cassette.  There was limited space and as it was a quick stop, I held the boat on the centre line.  The following boat appeared and zoomed past us although I managed to hold the boat, just.  Next came Lymm, normally a stop for us, but we decided to give it a miss this time and passed our erstwhile pursuer, now moored up, slowly!

Sign of autumn

This is a rather pleasant and leafy section of the Bridgewater, apart from the short intrusion of the M6.  Stockton Heath seems rather civilised and soon we passed through Moore and then the Daresbury Science Park with it's gleaming offices, elevated outside dining area above the canal and the looming tower whose purpose is?

At Preston Brook we just could not resist a stop at Midland Chandlers and then it was onwards for the tunnel.  Passage south is on the half hour.  We were a little early so moored up behind a boat also waiting, our erstwhile pursuer who must have passed us whilst we were in the chandlers.  Within ten minutes two further boats joined us.  Nothing travelled north.  At the appointed time we were off! 


So we passaged through on tick over.  Something about this tunnel methinks.  It bends a little, but no more than many others.  Captain Speedy was now crawling along.  Anyway, once through we reached the stop lock.  A Black Prince hire boat was heading north and so Ali and crew from the other boats let them into this decidedly tiddly lock.  He was steering, she was petrified!  Ali tried to explain to them how the lock worked and that they were at the south portal of the tunnel, facts they seemed oblivious of despite only leaving the hire base less than an hour before.  When she then tried to explain the timed passage on the hour, they were flummoxed.  Just what sort of handover procedure they get is anyones guess!

As the cloud rolled in we moored for the day at the site of the infamous Dutton breach, were the hillside collapsed emptying the canal into the valley below.  The reinstatement is brilliant, with mooring rings (room for more than exist by the way CRT)  and due to the loss of the trees in the deluge, brilliant views.

Miles  15.5
Locks 1

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