The odd thing about the visitor moorings in Nantwich is that they always seem to be full but there never seems to be any sign of life on the boats. It takes a remarkable length of time to get past all the moorings over the Aqueduct and past Nantwich Basin Entrance before you can open up the throttle a bit and appreciate the wide and deep part of the canal on your way to Hurleston Junction .
Our plan for the day was basically to get through … that was it… how we did it and where we’d stop for the night was all up in the air.
Turning in to the Llangollen Canal coming North from Nantwich is not the easiest, or safest, of manoeuvres due to the bridge right before the junction and the fact that people coming out of the locks often steam full speed ahead without checking if the way is clear.
There were some water problems going up Hurleston Locks with one pound being extremely low but we scraped over the cill out of the lock and managed to get to the next lock with only a few bounces off the bottom.
Even with the low water levels we made good time and it wasn’t long before we were moving into the top lock.
Although there may have been water problems on the flight there was plenty of water flowing down the canal and into the reservoir which was pretty much full.
As you can see the weather wasn’t the best, but we’ve boated in a lot, lot worse, but I guess everyone else was pretty much a fair weather boater and we pretty much had the canal all to ourselves right up to Willey Moor Lock No 12 which we passed through before stopping for lunch and walking back to the pub for a pint or two.
The pub had a good range of beers on, and with the moorings above and below the lock it’s a good place to stop. We didn’t eat lunch there but the food looked and smelled good. Over a couple of pints we decided that Whitchurch seemed a sensible place to stop for the night – if Grindley Brook was busy then we’d get there late-ish and if it was quiet then we’d have a little more time to explore the town and the pubs.
So we dragged ourselves out of the pub after a round of rounds and continued our journey.
Although there had been a flurry of activity round the lock at the pub when we arrived it was very quiet when we left and we spent a rather pleasant afternoon on a pretty much deserted canal until we got to Grindley Railway Bridge No 27 where we met someone coming through the bridge at full speed with no care in the world.
There were a few boats moving around and we had to wait for about 15 minutes to get into the staircase… but that’s nothing …
We stopped above the locks at Grindley Brook Water Points to fill up with water and use the sanitary station… well we did have a few pints of beer to get rid of !
Once through the locks the canal was quiet again and we made it to Whitchurch with plenty of time. We moored in the stub of the Whitchurch branch canal. You need to go to Whitchurch Winding Hole, turn and come back and head into the arm bow first. But then you need to wind in the Whitchurch Branch Winding hole before pulling onto the moorings. I guess you could do that turn the next morning but it seems to make sense to do it as the last thing before stopping.
To get into town you start by walking down the line of the old canal arm which has been filled in.
The town, like many, is feeling a little tired but there are some good pubs. The Old Town Hall Vaults is owned by Joules and is well worth a visit.
So if you are heading up or down the canal you should take the time and detour and visit the town. Many of the pubs do food so you should find something suitable and within your price range.