Audlem – or why do we bother boating?

From Nantwich Aqueduct to Tom's Moorings, a distance of 11 miles, 5½ flg and 22 locks.

It was raining and blowing a gale when we got up – not a good start for the last day of a holiday, or any day to be honest, but it suddenly all cleared off and it was quite sunny by the time we reached Hack Green.

[ Google Route Map embedded here ]

Things seemed quiet and we approached the bottom of Audlem without seeing many other boats. As we approached the bottom lock a boat cast off from the visitor moorings and moved onto the lock moorings. That was bad enough but the people on the boat seemed to be clueless, they sat right in the middle of the lock moorings making it hard for us to get in and their lock working…. hmmmmm.

After they had gone through the first lock a boat came down, seems he knows the boat going up and they are well known for doing what they had done to us.

At the second lock the woman apparently opened one ground paddle and then looked at the other ground paddle and the gate paddle and didn’t know which one to open next… she then claimed she had never seen a gate paddle !!.

Progress was so slow we stopped at the water point below the next lock to put some water in. We dropped about 1 space back in the queue, and were overtaken by a Challenger boat which, just to make a point, turned out to be crewed by people who actually knew what they were doing.

Things got slower from then on – we queued for over 20 minutes for the lock above the wharf and that sort of delay wasn’t usual all the way up. At one point there seemed to be a boat in each lock and one or two in some of the pounds. Someone came up from a couple of boats back and decided to “help” us by winding up the paddles before we had the gates closed, and when we complained she swore at us, claimed she was only helping “close the gates” and told us that we were incompetent. So if you were the woman with the pinkish top on Audlem locks who swears like a navvy.. you’ve just made it into history..

We eventually made it out of the top lock over 4 hours after we went into the bottom lock. The boat that had cut us up at the bottom lock was moored up with its owners sitting on it eating lunch and looking smug.

From then on everything was quite quiet and we made it back to the mooring mid afternoon