Monday, 7 August 2017

Mixing it at Middlewich

After a very relaxed start, we thought we should check that we could in fact get a pump out at Kings Lock, so called in there on our way to the butcher. Just as well we did, as Steve in the chandlery pointed out that he’s never offered that service. When I said that Kings Lock was listed in the CRT guide to commercial pump outs, he pointed out that that must refer to the Carefree Cruising base round the back of the yard.

That would mean reversing Sanity Again up the short arm, amongst the boats already there. I decided (my turn to steer, so my decision) that it would be better to turn left at the junction, get a pump out from Middlewich Narrowboats and then reverse back to wind and go up Kings lock. We popped into the base to check they were doing pump outs today and were reassured that they were.

On we went to the butcher’s, bought a selection of meat and returned to the boat. It didn't take long to get going, work down Wardle lock and go through onto the Middlewich service wharf. Here we got a very thorough pump out for £17.50.

Then the fun began. It seems to be quite shallow along there as I had a lot of trouble getting going with Sanity Again prop walking back onto the side. Just as I got it sorted, a boat appeared waiting to come through the bridge and I had to pull back over to make way. Except the boat didn't want to come through and was waiting for a passenger. On the other hand, the next boat behind did want to come through…

We finally got through the bridge and I backed her up beyond the entrance to the arm. After that, it was a reasonably straightforward bit of winding, Sheila assisting from the bank by pulling the stern round. By now, there was a queue for Kings lock and a couple of boats waiting above, so we had to wait for a while before actually starting on the day’s run.

Once up, though, things became much more routine and we had a good run up Rumps lock and the Booth Lane three, the top one of which is also known as Crows Nest lock according to the Nicholsons. We had a look at mooring chances below the top lock but it’s quite shady and with a messy concrete edge so I insisted on working up the final lock, even though it was now getting past our lunchtime.

We’ve tied on pins above in a pleasantly open spot opposite the private moorings here. As usual, the afternoon’s been spent in various peaceful activities like bringing the Pub Guide up to date and corresponding with the latest Braidbar customer who wants to join the Owners’ Group as an owner-in-waiting.

Tomorrow, the three mile run from here to Wheelock, after which the serious locking starts.


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