Made our normal 10 am start on a fine sunny morning, even if it was a bit cooler than yesterday. A couple of boat we saw yesterday passed before we set off. We caught up with a boat at Aqueduct Marina so were behind them at the lock, at the same time the boat behind us caught us up at quite a speed, he didn’t slow at all until he pulled into the bank behind us at the lock. The reason for his speed became clear when he came up to the lock, he wanted to be in Stone tonight but unfortunately he turned right in Middlewich as someone told him to go that way towards Chester, the first question he asked was how far to Chester, then how far from there to Stone. At this point Di pointed out he was going in the wrong direction. I told him I didn’t think he would have made Stone even if he had carried on, but he assured me they had floodlights, I pointed out that they had to go through Harecastle Tunnel but again he referred to the lights so I pointed out that you can only go through during opening hours. It then turned out they were actually heading for Oxford and the river, so at a rough guess another one London bound. We pushed on leaving them to decide what to do and never saw them again.
We made a mistake stopping for lunch a short way before Venetian Marina, The reason it was a mistake was that when we arrived in the afternoon hoping for a pumpout they were closed, as they are only working 10 until 2 on the week running up to Christmas. This left us three choices, turn round and go back to Aqueduct Marina, carry on passed Hurleston Junction to Nantwich and come back to the junction in the morning and finally go up the Llangollen and hope to get one there before Christmas. In the end I rang Swanley Marina on the Llangollen and they confirmed they could do it in the morning, so sorted. At the end of the Middlewich Branch we turned left and did about a mile to moor for the night at Hurleston Junction, in the morning we will be heading up to Llangollen.
10 miles, 2 locks, 1 junction, 2 canals in 4¼hours