To Pilate without a pilot

From Stanthorne Lock No 3 to Coole Pilate Leisure Moorings, a distance of 16 miles, 3 flg and 5 locks.

We heard a couple of boats go past us before we got up and we started the day third in the queue at the lock.

We knew we were going to need some fuel and so as we approached Aqueduct Marina I noticed that they did fuel sales. But the entrance to the marina itself is quite narrow and I’d seen a boat have problems getting in the last time we came past and as I couldn’t see any obvious services pontoon I decided to not bother, knowing that we could pick fuel up further along.

By the time we arrived at Minshull Lock No 2  we were about 6th in the queue and so we stood there in bright sunshine for probably nearly 90 minutes waiting to get through the lock, by which time the queue of boats went back through Nanneys Bridge No 8 . Still I had a good chat with Pete from The Canalshop again and he said it was the first queue they’d had all week.

We did eventually get through the lock and all the boats in front of us seemed to have vanished. As we approached the railway bridge at Venetian Marina a boat pulled out from the marina and joined the queue. As we came under the railway bridge another boat attempted to pull out in front of us, it just simply cut across the canal but didn’t even really start to turn and had to back up and I cruised past. I’m sorry but you just don’t steam out your moorings like that. I had thought about fuelling up at the marina but it would have been awkward with the queue (I couldn’t see the people behind us letting us slip over, fuel up and come back and keep our place in the queue). But that was a moot point as they were out of diesel.

So we sat in a queue for maybe 30 to 40 minutes before we got into the lock which was being worked again by members of the Shroppie canal society. Again, once we got through the lock there was no queue so obviously all the boats were good at cruising and it was just the locks slowing us all down.

Approaching Barbridge Junction  I held back and watched the boat in front of us go straight into the bank. Once again lots of boats moving round with no-one giving hand or horn signals. I really can’t understand why there hasn’t been a serious accident there.

Several boats that had been in the queue ahead of us were pulled in at the Barbridge Inn but we continued past them. Given how busy the Middlewhich had been I was getting a bit worried about Audlem.

Hurleston Junction  is another place I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a bad accident at. The boat in front of us turned  to head up The Llangollen Canal and then it suddenly reversed back across the canal. I slowed down and two canoeists were messing round near the bottom lock and just seemed to be getting in the way. The boat moved forwards and just after he did that a boat came under Hurleston Roving Bridge No 97 and just turned across the canal in front of us. I guess they didn’t care that we might have been waiting to turn ourselves.

Then another boat steamed under the bridge so you’ve now got 4 narrow boats floating round and two nutters in canoes, and no-one drowned 🙁

We pulled into Nantwich Basin for a pump out and some diesel. We went in nose first but they won’t run the pump out hoses over the top of the boat so we had to wind to get pumped out, then of course we had to wind again so we could back all the way out and still be pointing in the right direction!

The nice day was gone by now and it was actually starting to rain which was a bit of a surprise givne just how hot and sunny it had been earlier, but it did help cool the sunburn down a bit.

The short term moorings by Nantwich Aqueduct  still had some of the same boats on as they had had at Easter which really is just taking the piss.

There were a couple of boats moving at Hack Green Top Lock No 28  but I think most people had given up for the day and we chugged on for a bit before mooring right up at the end of the sort term moorings at Coole Pilate Moorings

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