Thursday, 28 April 2016

Middlewich Thursday 28 April 2016

The day started well, bright sun shine and no wind, a boat had chugged by early and just before we were due to leave Martin on the coal and diesel boat “Halsall” came by from behind. Halsall is one of a group of boats selling Diesel and Coal under the group name of Renaissance Canal carrying.  We set off at quarter passed nine so as to arrive at the tunnel for the nine thirty passage, to my  surprise Halsall was still there, I had expectedDSCF4497 him to have just caught the last passage at ten to nine. He waved us by and then followed us into the tunnel. The next tunnel, Barnton is not time controlled but still one way working and the canal at each exit turns in a sharp bend so you have to get your bows in the tunnel before you can check its clear. We had a clear run but a little over half way through I could see the bows of another boat approaching the tunnel mouth, a good blast on my new horn soon saw him stop and pull to one side.

Just before the Anderton Lift some has made their own Gruffalo on the off side.DSCF4498

We pulled into the Anderton services to fill with water, while we were there we not only got chatting to the lock keeper from Hunt’s Lock who told us he was waiting for Martin for a delivery of coal but also a fellow CIBC member walked up for a chat. Just as we had finished watering up Martin came up behind us on Halsall so we were able to vacate the mooring and let him deliver his coal.

Shortly after we departed the services we met the very old, some say the oldest conversion of a Narrowboat to a pleasure boat “Elizabeth”, complete with ships dog.DSCF4500 

Yesterday I posted a photograph of the first cygnets we had seen this year, I think we passed the same ones today, if they were the same ones they have travelled well over a mile along the canal.

As we came up the Trent and Mersey last week we passed a boat moored in Middlewich that has Canal and Rivers Trust on the side but looks like a day boat, today it was moored outside the Lion salt Museum. I don’t know if this is owned by the trust and if DSCF4501it is what they use it for. It doesn’t look like the corporate paint work. The next bit of interest was as we passed a moored boat its bow started to drift out and looking back I could see the front pins had been pulled out, by the time I had reversed up to it was right across the cut with the bows against the offside bank so was awkward to drag back, luckily a chap fitting a boat a short way back saw what was happening and came to assist, hauling it back with the centre line before repinning it.

There are lots of chemical works along this stretch of canal and this one was loading a tanker lorry using two teliporter fork lift trucks. The bulk bags have a shoot made into the bottom of the bag which the chap on the top of the lorry releases.DSCF4505

Then it started to drizzle, the wind picked up, it started to rain, it turned cold and miserable so we stopped for long lunch break. While we were stopped I was catching up on my Facebook and saw a posting that Martin who had passed just after we had stopped had been stuck for 2 hours a short way up the cut, so off we went again in light rain. Sure enough there was Halsall well stuck in the entrance to Park Farm Marina, his bows just short of the entrance bridge. It took a couple of attempts to pull him backwards with Halsall also in full astern mode, but he soon started moving and we were both on our way again.DSCF4506

We carried on with the intention of mooring at Bramble Cuttings but the weather continued to deteriorate until the rain was firstly coming down in stair rods and then going sideways with the wind. We plodded on only to find two boats already on the Bramble cuttings moorings so we continued on through the next bridge and moored on the first bit of straight bank we came to. The mooring pins are in mud, so may or may not stay in. We have had almost a quarter of an inch of rain this afternoon and I think most of it went down my neck.

Today’s Journey  map 12 11 miles in 3½ hours

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