Well what a surprisingly quiet spot we were in last night, didn't hear a single car or train, not even joggers going by.
We have seen a lot more cyclists about and it would seem that the Bridgewater company have dropped their ban on cycling on their tow paths and changed their signage to indicate they are now for mixed use.It was drizzling with rain when we set of at half ten this morning, the reason for the late start was Preston Brook Tunnel which is timed entry and in our direction that is between half past and twenty to the hour, so starting at that time got us there with 10 minutes to spare.
We were to meet 2 boats today, both as we approached the timed tunnels. The Preston Brook tunnel has a couple of plaques on the entrance one unveiled by Harry Arnold and commemorating the start of the Trent and Mersey Canal and the other the reopening of the tunnel by Sir Frank Price.
Facing in the opposite direction so that it is visible as you exit the tunnel is a new notice erected by the Bridgwater Canal reminding boater that if they sat more than 7 days they require a Bridgewater licence.
We set off at our allotted time and it took just on 13 minutes for us to reach the other end travelling a a steady speed. Just after the tunnel is Dutton Stop Lock, it only has a fall of about 4" but that is enough to stop CRT water being lost the the Bridgewater canal. When we attended the IWA National Rally at Preston Brook the British Waterways operatives managed to open the gates at each end of the lock so that boaters didn't need to lock through individually. While I was waiting to lock up a Kingfisher kindly sat in a bush while I took his photo, it was just rather a long way away.
The next tunnel we came to is also time controlled but is shorter so you can enter between half past and ten minutes to the hour. It was here that we met the steam boat Emily Anne, again we had about ten minutes to wait. Although shorter than Preston Brook tunnel because of the wiggles you cant see through to the south end hence the time entry. The last tunnel Barton, you can see end to end so if its clear you can go through.
As I passed under the bridge by the lift it looked as if the visitor moorings ahead were pretty full so we reversed back and moored to the west of the lift.