Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Water level issues

As expected Al didn't sleep, until 4.00am when Tooty came running across the roof and down the cratch cover and in.. It was at this point we were found to be leaning to port and the water levels had dropped about 20cm. Del got out and untied the ropes a little, but it was going to be a 'look at in the morning' thing..
At daylight we could hear the pitter patter of the rain on the roof, at least that should help the water levels. When the rain stopped for a bit Del could see Mark struggling with his rudder. It had gone down on something and lifted it up and off of the skeg. After a lot of messing about and some help
from a boater with an underwater camera, there was no option but for Mark to get in and help Del locate the lower bearing..
Can you believe that boats were still going past us too fast even though he was in the water adjusting the rudder. After a lot of locating it dropped into place and needed just a few slight taps to seat it back into position..
It felt a good job well done with only a bit of touching up to do on the paintwork..
It started to rain again so we had a bit of lunch before we set off again on the Big Trip..
We could see a bit of sunshine trying to peep through so set off to the Big Lock on the system.
It's called this because its a double lock which has single locks before and after it, don't know why!

After this lock we got water, just a splash and go for Derwent6, and we set off again.
We twisted and turned to the Aqueduct and then through the woods to some lovely moorings and large expanses of water marked out by bollards.
On our journey it was sad to see a sunken narrowboat, something we all fear when we have everything we own on board, including Del's underpants.
We have got to say this was a very pretty section and we continued to the next expanse of water and moored up in a bit of a special mooring.
The views were astounding and we had a phone signal and telly, though internet was a bit sticky for the first time in ages..

Meeting back up at Middlewich

So Sunday was a day of rest for us and it proved to be the right thing to do as the boats were a continuous stream. Del wanted to watch the Grand Prix and Al read her book and Tooty was having a field day pulling mice every twenty minutes. Yep we were all happy on this mooring.
Monday we decided to move and we were woken up by a helicopter going over head, good job the sun was out.
It is lovely here around the Cheshire countryside as the canal weaves its way through the contours of the land..

We soon got to Stanthorne Lock (after doing one load of washing). This lock is over 11 foot deep and we only had one boat in front of us. When you're down the bottom of it your voice has an echo.

We got up to the Middlewich Junction with the Trent and Mersey and went through the tight lock here and took a sharp left turn north.
After getting through a tricky section with moored boats we then got to the Middlewich three singles, these are also tricky locks with some sharp turns and leaking gates but we managed to get through with the help of the volunteer lock keepers..
In front of us we then caught eye of Mark and Sian on n.b Mochyn Du (the black pig) and it was great to see them again..
Our break was a welcome one but it was good to be back together. We moored behind them and then went into town to suss things out..

Unfortunately we wasn't that impressed, it did have a Tesco's, Lidl, Morrisons, and a DIY shop, but there is something missing in this town.. We didn't even feel the need to take any photos..
In the evening we went for a drink at The Big Lock pub and then onto The White Horse and then onto the Blue Ginger, an Indian we can recommend.. We let Tooty out for the night when we got back, a test for him as we were not too far from a road, I guess Al won't sleep tonight.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Turn left for Middlewich

So we left our mooring at Bate's Mill and Al walked up to the already empty lock. We went in with anticipation as everyone had warned us of the swirl you get going up in these locks.
We started with just using one paddle and it seemed alright but did take a very long time to fill, so at the second lock we did the same but this time Derwent6 was going all over the place. Al tried lots of different combinations, but in the end we just went with it..  We got through them very quickly because every one was in our favour..
Even the double lock at Bunbury was in our favour and no one followed us up..
We then took a lovely steady cruise through the very quiet woodland, it felt like a week day not a weekend. You could really see the corn turning now..
We took the turn at Barbridge Junction and headed onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shroppie.
This was very busy with loads of moored boats which made things slow going but still so much fun.
We got to Cholmondeston Lock which had four boats waiting to come up and it also has a cafĂ© at the marina there, so you can imagine how busy it was..
We got to the next lock and it seemed so quiet, a boat had come out and we went straight in, and it just seemed to empty very quickly, so we were on our way.
Things were going great, till we tried to moor up as Del wanted to see the F1 qualifying. On the 48 hour moorings you had the shelf to contend with, and on the alcove it was just too shallow. In the end we moored just off a winding hole which must have been dredged, Tooty loved it and Del got to see the qualifying.
We chilled in the afternoon doing some painting and Al read her book..
This was followed by a nice steak with a glass of wine.......lovely!

Moving out of Chester

After a nice lay in, we got ourselves ready to move out. First we filled with water and then turned in the basin at Chester. Steve and Ian (a lock keeper at Marsworth) offered to help us up the staircase which does seem a bit daunting when you approach it...
We ended up getting up with ease with about 15 people watching, and set off saying our goodbyes.
This next part just blows you away as you come out of Chester.
We stopped at Waitrose and Al picked up a few bits before we did the other five locks remaining for the day.
We had been warned about the swirl on these locks and that it comes out on the opposite side to the paddle on some locks.. Being ready we just took our time and opened one paddle slowly which seemed to work for us anyway.. One lock did catch us out and more paintwork will be required when we get the chance..
After the locks it was a nice cruise for a hour and a half with only a small shower and moored boats to interrupt our excitement.
We ended up mooring in the same place we stopped at on the way up, but no pub for us as we are having a dry day..

Friday, June 23, 2017

Follow the Wall

It was a lazy start today as we had a few things to sort out for forward planning.. At lunchtime we managed to get ourselves out and had been informed how good walking the castle walls was in Chester..
We started right next to Derwent6 and after crossing the railway we were high up looking over Chester Racecourse. 
It was then on to the castle and the River Dee and then the famous town clock which is mounted on top of the wall.
You then go by the old baths, Roman gardens and Roman Amphitheatre then the Cathedral and the falconry, and by Kings Charles tower where Charles saw his men defeated and fled..
It then picks up with the canal and back to where we started..
We then hit the high street and Al did some shopping, the shops here seem like a TV set all in Tudor style.
We then grabbed something to eat and found a small secret burrito takeaway shop, called Mama K's where the very fresh burritos were to die for..
We took them back to the boat and stuffed ourselves..
In the evening we met up with Steve and Chris as there was some live music in the bar over the road.. A few beers and a singalong were in order, the band were call Alx Green and they were very good..