From Marbury Woods Footbridge to Stanthorne Lock No 3, a distance of 16 miles, ½ flg and 5 locks.
Or maybe its Groundhog day. That odd feeling that you’ve been here before, and that the day is one you’ve already lived through. Well that’s how it felt when I got up and we cast off. The only difference being that it was a little warmer and sunnier this time round, oh and that we’d booked our passage on the Anderton lift. But apart from that it was pretty much the same.
For once there seemed to be other boaters out and about and we’d actually had a few go past us before we got up and I actually had to time my casting off right to get out of the way of a mini convoy coming through. Everyone seemed to be bright and jolly and friendly.
Mum and dad had never been on the lift and really this day was her birthday present, so basically it was a trip down the lift, a little bit of time on the river and then back to the lift wander round the visitor centre and then the trip back up.
We arrived with plenty of time to spare at the Lift and I went in and confirmed our bookings and then we sat and waited for a bit. We were supposed to be going down with another boat but the down slot in front of us had an empty space and so they went down in that slot so we got the lift to ourselves. This time there were no real delays, and even though it was a sunny day it was still a bit chilly on the lift, I think it must just be a naturally exposed position.
We chugged slowly up the river, the sun was really bright and there was hardly a cloud in the sky, and as we weren’t really going anywhere there wasn’t really any need to rush.
We pulled in at the services at Northwich Bridge and filled up with water and got rid of the rubbish and then turned outside the now closed floating hotel before heading back down to Lift Visitor morrings. Mum and dad went for a walk round the visitors center and had lunch and Kathy and I stayed on the boat before going for a quick wander round..
Then it was back up the lift, again there were no problems and we were by ourselves, and on our way back to the moorings.
The sun was really rather hot by now and I think quite a few boats had given up. As we passed Marbury Woods Footbridge the other boat was still moored up on the offside, still with their satellite dish on the roof, which made it even odder to be honest.
Between Northwich Bypass Bridge No 182A and Mort’s Bridge No 182 we saw someone in the canal in waders painting the hull of their boat. Its an interesting way of doing it but I’m not sure I like the idea, you never know what you might tread on down there.
At Middlewich Big Lock we met up with another boat who had a new crew on and so as we waited for the single handed boat (which insisted on opening both top gates) to come down we gave them a quick lock working lesson and they followed us up to Middlewich Bottom Lock No 74 where we joined the back of a queue of boats.
It was another one of those odd queues in that once you got into the locks there was no real delay anywhere. By Middlewich Lock No 73 a group of people were snorting drugs, well it was either that or drain cleaner. They made a few lewd comments about people but seemed to be keeping themselves to themselves but I’m glad we didn’t have to wait round to get into the top lock.
There was a little queue at Wardle Lock No 4 and by now it was starting to get to the point that we wanted to moor. We also wanted to BBQ so we headed out past the visitor moorings and decided that we’d moor on the embankment near the River Wheelock Aqueduct. But apparently according to a rather foul mouthed drunk fisherman they were night fishing there (not that it was any where near their tent) and had been preparing the water for “two fucking days”. I think he would have hit me if his friend hadn’t stepped in and actually asked if we could move a few feet. Now why didn’t they do that to start with? The only thing I think his friend was going to be doing that night was nursing a thick head and I hope he had a really bad hangover the next day.
So we stopped just short of Stanthorne Lock No 3 for the night and then the BBQ decided not to play ball with us. So not a particularily good end to what had been a good day.