From Cow Lane Bridge No 123E to Nantwich Aqueduct, a distance of 18 miles, 7 flg and 11 locks.
None of us were feeling particularly rested when we got up on Sunday morning. The highlight of the rather disturbed night had been a woman saying, rather loudly, “Where do they Pee, Ooh, Ohh, on a canalboat”. Seemed rather odd that someone who had no problem of getting rather drunk finds it necessary to spell out the word poo.. but then again it takes all sorts I guess.
[ Google Route Map embedded here ]
We started the long slow crawl up the locks away from Chester. The locks might have been good for barges and paired up narrow boats but with no gate paddles and really badly positioned ground paddle outlets they aren’t fun at all.
As we worked through Tarvin Lock No 38 a boat moored above the lock cast off in front of us (how original!). As the locks are broad Neil headed off up the canal to make sure the people knew we were behind them.
They were waiting for us at Greenfield Lock No 37. One of the gates doesn’t open all the way and of course they weren’t pulled in behind that one so Nick had to try to get a narrowboat through a gap that wasn’t really wide enough.
So we got the gates closed and Neil was standing by the ground paddle. The woman off the other boat turned to me “Do you think one paddle 1/3 of the way?” I said that with 2 boats I’d suggest both paddles 1/3 to 1/2 way, and that I was going on to the next lock to get it ready.
Neil wound his paddle up half way and the woman looked at him and said something about how opening his paddle only was only “helping” our boat.
They didn’t come through the next lock with us – odd people. I guess its something to do with people with boats from Longport (see the Tyrley Locks Post for more details).
We worked the next lock alone but then another boat (single handed) asked us how far we were going and could he share locks with us – which is fine by us as it makes things so much easier on the locks.
Being Sunday there were lots of fishermen out – trying to outwit the fish, so we had to crawl past them, and then past all those damned linear moorings… still at least the weather was OK and we could stand there and watch the world go by.
Working through Beeston Iron lock was fun as we went through together (naughty, naughty Mintball!) and sharing locks was so much easier. However as Anglo-Welsh was still open we pulled in for a pump-out and a new bottle of gas, but luckily a boat there wanted to go up the locks so the single handed boat was happy. As the locks are a staircase it takes a while to prepare and work through and we had just got the lock ready for us to go through by the time the pump-out was done, so we didn’t lose too much time.
The traffic on the A51 was still as slow as it had been on Friday.. don’t you just love road works! At Barbridge Junction a Challenger Boat came out of the Middlewich Branch with no sounding of their horn, no person on the front deck keeping lookout, no they just steamed of the junction and then proceeded to move at a snails pace past all the boats. They would speed up slightly in open water but at the first sign of a bridge it was power down to tickover, wobble the tiller back and forth and just about make it through the bridge hole.
We were hoping they would turn up the Llangollen but no such luck and we were stuck behind them until they turned off into Nantwich Basin .
We stopped for the night on the Visitor moorings just before the aqueduct and headed into town for a couple of beers and a curry