It was another damp morning when we set off on our way back, wetter than Saturday morning and it really didn’t look like it was going to change much at all, so we envisaged just being rather damp by the time we moored up for the night. Not many boats were on the move, and you could hardly blame anyone for not moving, and we had a pretty uneventful trip back to Middlewich Junction by which time it had stopped raining but it was still quite overcast.
When we were in King’s Lock No 71 I walked round onto the Middlewich branch to see what was going on with the lock and found it full with a single handed boat sitting in it adjusting his roof furniture, however when he saw me he moved out of the lock and moved onto one of the moorings. We worked through the lock and were chugging slowly through the visitor moorings when a hireboat pulled out in front of us – and that was the start of the queue we were stuck in for the entire length of the canal.
Once again several of the boats were very short on crew so we ended up helping most of the queue through the locks.
We stopped for brunch on the Eardswick Visitor Moorings taking a calculated risk about moving boats and where we would end up in the queue at Minshull Lock No 2, and as it happens it really made no difference at all and it took about an hour to get through the lock when we got there. The queue had a varied mix of crews – people from the UK, a crew from New Zealand, a crew from Los Angeles and Hawaii and everyone was well natured and chatty, although the pigs in the farm by the canal sounded far from happy.
The weather had been slowly improving since Middlewich and by now the sun was starting to show and burn off the low cloud and it was starting to turn into a nice day.
Barbridge Junctionwas it’s usual madness – we saw a boat do a three point turn in the junction without sounding their horn at all so we approached with caution. We sounded our horn and waited for a reply and hearing non we edged forward with a lookout on the front deck, and it was a good thing we had one because as we nosed out through the junction a boat came straight through on the mainline without stopping and he looked extremely annoyed when we pulled out immediately behind him.
We made slow progress to Hurleston Junction but from there on we made good time and easily found a spot on the visitor moorings. We walked along the canal to Davids Bridge No 90 and took the Nantwich Riverside Walk route into town where we had several good beers and a good meal at Naaz before wandering back up Marsh Lane to the canalbank and back to the boat.