Friday, 29 August 2014

Friends, laughter, locks and “heartbreak”.


On Wednesday evening friends Neil and Pauline (nb “Waterlily”) invited us to their home for dinner.  It was laughter all the way of course and after a lovely meal and a fab time with them they drove us back to “Chance”.  Thank you so much both – we hope to see you soon.


Heading out on Thursday, we came across this little gem – “Ventura”, based on a 1905 ice breaker hull.  The bow is curved under the waterline to ride up onto the ice and men would stand on either side of the boat and rock it to break the ice as it was pulled along.  A fairly rare beast these days. 


A crane and stop planks is a regular feature on the Bridgewater canal.


Having said farewell (for the time being) to Rich and Andy on “Carpe Diem” we caught up with them again today!  As we left the Bridgewater and got onto the Trent and Mersey, our first challenge was the Preston Brook tunnel.  Being a timed tunnel there were six boats waiting for a short while to go through.   Following Rich and Andy in ……..

photo 5

…….  they took this really great shot of  “Chance”.  It’s not often you get to see this sort of angle.


‘Old England’ – cows, sheep, a village, blue sky and fluffy clouds.  We boaters shouldn’t  take this wonderful scene for granted.


Can boats get much smaller?


The old Lion Salt Works at Marston was derelict for years and at the point of collapse.   After a huge restoration effort  it’s now as good as new.  In fact, it does look a bit too new at the moment!


It was a long, eight hour day for us and after twenty one miles we ended up mooring above King’s Lock at Middlewich.


Soon after tying up friends Eileen and Bill arrived for the evening.  We enjoyed both their company and the fish and chip supper from the chip shop which was only 100 yards away.  It was very nice to see you both again.


Leaving Middlewich this morning at 9:30 we were soon at Wheelock and negotiating “Heartbreak Hill” - a rise in altitude of 250 feet.  In the short time since we came down this section we were glad to see that all the broken paddles had been fixed and these brand new gates up and working on the first lock. 


At the bottom of “Heartbreak Hill”, and with some twenty locks ahead of us, Doug took to his ‘wheels’ to make life easier …..


……. although there was still time to snaffle some cooking apples (30p / lb)  from behind someone’s garden gate.


With twelve locks behind us we got to the pretty setting of Rode Heath ……


…….. and, climbing the final few locks at Church Lawton, it felt very much as if we were in the middle of nowhere.


“Mrs Mop” used the last lock of the day to wash off the orange slime which covers the lock walls in this area.  We can’t have it all over the boat now, can we?

Just round the bend we found good moorings with rings and have now bedded down for a quiet evening and only the strong wind, which has dogged us all day, for company.

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