yesterday evening when we walked to The Badger pub it was freezing quite hard and when we returned to the boat it was even freezing harder. As a result of this I expected to find the canal well frozen this morning, so we were in no hurry to get up. As it turned out the temperature shot up overnight and any ice on the canal this morning was very thin. Things got even better when two boats passed breaking up what was there.
We set off behind them at 11 am. The architecture here is quite striking, on one side of the canal in Minshull Wharf with all its curves and the other side a very square farm house, even the eves are squared off between the chimneys above the roof line. On lots of the canal there was no ice at all and the broken stuff was probably only 2-3mm thick. The boat ahead of us winded at the first winding hole he came to and the second moored up just before Stanthorne Lock, even so all the locks were against us. We stopped briefly for lunch just above Wardle Lock and then dropped down, turning right to fill up with diesel at Kings Lock Chandlery. Coming out of the junction from Wardle Lock there was a boat moored almost opposite on the very end of Kings Lock Chandlery’s moorings which tightened the turn a bit. The boat had quite an unusual bow. With 170lts of diesel onboard we backed up and winded at the junction, needless to say just as I got to 90° across the cut the wind picked up and tried to take me sideways towards Kings Lock, but it failed.
This winter CRT replaced the bottom gates of Middlewich top lock, its a pity they didn’t have a tin of grease in the toolbox, I did oil the spindles via the oil holes with my oil can. As we entered the top lock a boat was just coming into the bottom so we were hoping that he had also come up Big Lock, but no such luck and the lock was empty, so that was yet another to turn.
The whole area suffers from ground subsidence due to historic brine pumping for salt production, over the years the canal companies have had to raise the tow path levels to keep the water in the canal, it doesn’t look as if it will be that long before this section requires raising a few inches.
We carried on a little further to moor at Bramble Cutting for the night, we have never moored here before and it is a pretty little spot with picnic table and mooring rings, It was originally a loading wharf for clay from the local clay pits, this was used in the construction of the canals. The site is maintained by The Broken cross boat Club who have regular working parties here and are increasing the number of moorings.