It’s uphill all the way…

From Newton Brewery Inn to Audlem Vistor Moorings (above wharf), a distance of 20 miles, 2½ flg and 13 locks.

It was wet and miserable when we got up and we made our way slowly up through the locks to Middlewich Junction and onto the Middlewich branch. We had to wait for a bit at Stanthorne Lock No 3 whilst some boats moved around and some rather damp C&RT staff stood around looking miserable – not that you could blame them as it was pretty unpleasant.

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It’s just about impossible to shelter from the rain at Minshull Lock No 2 but if the wind is in the right direction then a little bit of shelter can be found by either hiding under the trees on the towpath or squeezing in tight against the wall of the old lock keepers cottage.

There is even less shelter at Cholmondeston Lock No 1 and the section of canal above the lock was extremely grim.

The rain just got heavier and heavier and by the time we got to Acton Bridge No 93 it was actually hurting when it hit you in the face. I was all for giving up at Nantwich but we carried on through the rain, which backed off a little bit so by the time we got to Hack Green Bottom Lock No 29 it was only moderately unpleasant. Working those two locks in the rain isn’t fun as you need to take care as the lock sides, especially the offside, are slippery (though not as bad as some of the ones on the Audlem Flight). Strangely enough there weren’t any other boats moving (I wonder why) so when we got to Audlem Bottom Lock No 27 we made good time, even though we were slowed down by the conditions underfoot and we moored up for the night with plenty of time to warm up and dry off before heading off to The Lord Combermere for an excellent final evening meal.

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