We didn’t get the forecast rain last night and the weather had actually warmed up a bit by this morning. We were away just before 10am taking a sharp right up the Hurleston flight onto the Llangollen Canal. The Hurleston locks are a bit on the tight side and some older boats can’t get them. There is a notice at the bottom telling boaters not to enter the locks with their fenders down. Maybe when they next do major work on the lock they will widen it by a few inches and with the amount of water now coming right through the lower abutments that may not be too long.
Parked by the top lock was a car with some interesting art work on it, I think the owner may have some connection with the canals. Here we filled up with some much needed water before continuing on our way. Our first target was Swanley Marina to get a pump out. Just before the marina we passed a fisherman, one who spoke. He said that the wind had just gone round and there would be rain within the hour. He was spot on as ¾hour later I had my raincoat on and it was wet.
Swanley Marina is on the right hand side of the canal and their DIY pumpout is on the canal bank, out pumpout connection is on the left hand side of the boat so I had to turn in the marina entrance, reverse up to the service point before spending
£18-50 on a card to operate the pumpout machine. Once finished in was back into the marina entrance to turn round once more.
As we passed under bridge 11 we met a workman with a lifejacket, I guessed he came from the worksite at bridge 13. The canal has been drained under this bridge to carry out brickwork repairs on a submerged area of the bridge and the canal was due to open midnight tonight, I was relieved to find that it is open now, even if the towpath looks as if it will be closed for some time yet. The green sheeting is what they construct the dam in the canal with, setting it against a scaffold type frame and the pile of stone is what they have removed from under the water level.
The rain didn’t last to long and the latter part of the afternoon was quite pleasant. The Llangollen Canal has quite a few lift bridges along its length, the first of these is Wrenbury Church Bridge which carries a footpath across the canal. This is lifted hydraulically with the motive force being Diana with a lock windlass. A little further on is where the main road crosses the canal, another lift bridge, but this time the motive force is an electric motor, all Diana needed to do was to put her CRT key in the panel and switch on, cross the canal and close the road barrier, then back to the control panel and press the up button, at this point if all is well the bridge goes up. Right beside the bridge is the Alvechurch Narrowboat Hire base and of course all there boats are in at the moment looking splendid. The bridge is just to the left of the photograph.
There were more workmen by the bridge, they were waiting for a work boat to arrive from the other bridge that had been working on number 22, as was pleased to find out they had the canal open there as well as we will pass that way tomorrow. Once they had gone by with their workboat we went just round the corner and moored for the night.