We set off at 1020 hrs with a steady run to Middlewich Big Lock, although we had met a few boats by the time we arrived it had already been turned and a boat coming down. Before they were down there were another two waiting above so we had a bit of help from one of them.
We stopped to do a bit of shopping at the Tesco Express and a visit to the Chemist for more Beecham’s powders. I am sure when I was a kid they dissolved, now its just a poor suspension. I was rather take by this sign when we moored, I wonder if it has the desired affect. After shopping we moved on a few yards to the old Middlewich Wharf to fill with water, such a shame some use can’t be found for the site. Then on to the bottom lock tucking in just after the Anderson boats. While Diana was dropping the lock another boat came up behind so I pushed out to give him room to tie up, in return he helped Di with the lock which was handy as the next pound was just about dry, no wonder the last boat took a long time crossing it. Between them they let water down to bring the level up. We met another boat at the top lock so that added a bit more water to the flight. Diana walked ahead while I slowly made my way up past Middlewich Narrowboats where in places there is just room for one boat. Just as I arrived at the junction with the Wardle canal a boat had just turned in ahead of me, but Diana told me there was nothing coming down so as he went into Wardle lock I went under the bridge to wait my turn I have been lead to believe that the Wardle canal is the shortest in the country.
A little further on we passed another iconic vessel, the Elizabeth moored on the off side. I had the pleasure of being invited aboard this fine vessel one Christmas in Stoke Bruerne about 20 years ago. By now the weather was just grand with no wind and bright sunshine as we chugged along to our planned mooring for the night by Bridge 11 at Church Minshull. The rest of the trip was not quite straight forward at about bridge 14 we caught up with 3 other boats, I turned out the front one was trying to tow the second and the third was stuck behind them, once they cleared the bridge and moored boats the pulled over to let us both pass which was very good of them. The boat towing was shorter and lighter than the one he was trying to tow, so things weren't going that well for them. As we came in to moor just through bridge 11 I luckily spotted wasps entering and leaving their nest in the towpath, right where I was about to moor.
Our reason for mooring here was to investigate access to The Badger Pub without walking along the busy lane from bridge 14. It turned out to be much simpler than we thought it would be, we expected footpaths but there is a metalled road from bridge 11 all the way to Old Hoolgrave Farm and then another road known as Eachus Lane. This comes out almost opposite the pub. The only trick bit is that the farm is private and although the roads both run into farm walkers cant so you have to follow the footpath across the meadow to the right of the farm gate shown in red on the map below. The walk took us exactly 15 minutes.