The long push south

From Dutton Wharf Bridge No 212 to Barbridge Visitor Moorings (24 hour), a distance of 25 miles, 3 flg and 8 locks.

For various reasons, which this blog is not going in to, Kathy and I were still on the boat when we should have got off at Wigan, this of course meant that we were actually running out of time to get the boat back to its moorings.

So it was another early start for some of the crew. I was lazy and had a lie in and apparently I missed some wonderful photo opportunities as the Weaver valley was full of mist.

We arrived at Saltersford Tunnel (West end)  at just the wrong time and had to wait almost the maximum length of time before it was our slot to go into the tunnel.

We were about 40 feet in when I saw what looked like navigation lights in the tunnel and I sounded the horn and got a blast back. There was a boat coming towards us with NO headlight. They were almost at our end of the tunnel so we backed out and out they came, with no headlight on and no explanation of what the hell was going on. We told them that they had no headlight and they didn’t seem to care, and when we pointed out that they were in the tunnel when they shouldn’t have been and it was the slot for traffic at our end to go in (actually we were about 12 minutes into the slot by now which gives you some idea of just how wrong they were)  they just looked at us as if we were mad, pretended not to know what on earth we were talking about and didn’t even have the decency to thank us for backing out for them.

The Winding Hole between Barnton and Saltersford Tunnels  seems to be a popular place to moor up and looking at the number of artisically arranged beer cans and bottles someone had had a pretty good party the night before and they’d gone to bed leaving their chairs outside. There was no sign of life, for obvious reasons and the canal stayed pretty quiet right up to Anderton.

We pulled in at Anderton Services to get rid of the rubbish and to top up the water tank and to empty out the PortaPotty.

For an Easter Sunday the canal was still pretty quiet and we made good progress. We made good progress until we arrived belowMiddlewich Bottom Lock No 74 and thats where we joined the back of a rather long queue. It was a combination of the number of boats and some inexperienced crews and once we got into the locks we went through them quite quickly and then got stuck at Middlewich Junction in a queue to go through Wardle Lock No 4. Again once we were through the lock there wasn’t really much of a queue and we made quite good progress back to Nanneys Bridge No 8 where we joined the back end of a rather long queue. We exchanged pleasantries with Pete as we slowly moved forward. Nick and I did some work in the kitchen putting metal facings up round the cooker and by the time we’d done that we were ready to go through the lock. We got snarled up for a bit at Cholmondeston Lock No 1  but by this time I think some people were giving up for the day. But we wanted to push on, knowing that most of the traffic heading this way was going to be heading down the Shroppie. It was getting quite late when we swung south at Barbridge Junction and pulled over onto the visitor moorings for the night

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