Last night we had mixed weather, moonlight, heavy showers, wind, the lot but not overly cool.
This morning while having breakfast a fisherman set up almost on our front mooring pin, when I looked out properly there was another on the stern. Come 10 am I get all the wet weather gear on again as the forecast was rain and wind all day and I start the engine, stick my nose out of the back door and behind us are another 4 fisherman. I get chatting to the chap by the stern mooring pin and it seems its a fishing match with £100 prise money. I sad what with 6 of you, no he relies there are about 30 here and more at Gt Haywood. They were probably the most sociable bunch of match fishermen I have met. I did say I didn’t notice the peg markings when I moored or I would have gone above the one in front and he said they only set out first thing this morning, probably before we were up.
We slipped away gently with the wind taking the bows out so we didn’t stir it up much and headed up through the lock which had leaked overnight. There is some strange damage to the bottom of the bottom gates and I can’t workout what caused it. Its not thin metal.
We only went as far as Acton Trussell where we winded in front of The moat House as the canal is closed for maintenance at Otherton, before retracing our steps.
The footbridge of the tail of Deptmore Lock was also cantilever construction but here they used cast iron supports, you can still see where the top ropes have worn groves in them as the horses pulled the narrow boats into the lock. The far one has been snapped off.
As we approached the fishermen I dropped to tickover but still carried on at over 3 MPH with the wind pushing me.
They must access the towpath via the bridge next to the boat club and then spread out evenly each side. We counted 31 in all.
We stopped by St Thomas’s moorings where there is a new notice board as well as the moorings and it give details of the work and funding.
As we crossed the River Sow aqueduct the wind picked up and I lost my cap which landed on the tow path against the aqueduct wall. Hard astern and retrieved it OK. went to pull away and the throttle cable had thrown its hand in. It was a bodge from when the cable snapped in September and I was going to sort it back on the moorings this week, so it got another bodge to get us going. Just as we pulled away I looked back and saw these chaps working on the overhead cables for Network Rail and I only have to worry about my cap blowing off at ground level. As we approached bridge 106 I got a better look at the work going on there. In the distance there is an earth bank but close to the canal is a large round circular concrete structure like a giant manhole. I suspect this is a shaft to facilitate driving a pipe under the canal for some reason , may be a gas main or sewer system. I couldn’t see any activity on the other side of the canal.
Just as we got on to Tixal Wide the wind really picked up and this time it was my tea mug that went flying down the roof, luckily it landed against the handrail and Diana was able to retrieve it, but we both expected it to go over the side. the wind was now touching 54 MPH but thankfully almost straight behind us. I wouldn’t think this is the most comfortable mooring at the moment.
As we crossed the Trent Aqueduct at Gt Haywood a hire boat came through the junction towards us. I slid down between him and the tow path when I saw the bows of a second boat coming in so I gave a good blast on the horn, but he just continued. By now the hire boat had stopped as he wanted to moor at the yard, luckily the second boat coming is was short so there was room for us to leave behind him.
We turned right on the Trent and Mersey canal and chugged slowly down to Haywood lock where we fount the gate paddle fully open. As we came in there were three lads on the bridge, peeping over and ducking down so out came the camera. They kept popping up and down and generally looked mischievous. As I left the lock one was looking over the top at me so I did what I always do and spoke to him. As expected as we left the lock something dropped from the far side of the bridge straight into the back cabin, I didn’t see what it was but it glanced off my foot onto the floor. When we moored up opposite Shugborough Hall I fond they had actually dropped a ball into the boat.
Once moored I set to and fitted a new throttle cable inner and outer, a bit fiddly as it runs in behind the fuel filters etc.
9½ miles, 4 locks, 1 breakdown, 1 Junction, 2 canals in 4½ hours.