Tuesday, 8 August 2017

To Wheelock

Apart from the necessity to use pins, the mooring above Booth Lane top lock is excellent and it was very peaceful overnight. The pins at least fix solidly into the ground, there being a good layer of clay not far below the surface. Indeed, it was quite an effort to get them back out this morning and I had to resort to the dodge of tying the mooring line back to the pin with a clove hitch and then pulling firmly along the line of the beast.

Once sorted, we set off on the comparatively short run to Wheelock, the last lock free section we shall do for a bit. It’s a journey of two halves and speeds, the first section being moderately straight and mostly quite deep, an effect of the salt mine induced subsidence that is so much a feature of the region around Middlewich.

The second half is much slower and shallower, winding as it does and looking, frankly, not very cared for. The offside vegetation forces the boat over towards the towpath where the baseplate soon starts grinding on the accumulated silt. As steerer, Sheila had to depend on my looking out from the bow to avoid having to slow down for every bend and bridge hole and, in an effect more usually seen on the Macc, found herself being slowed down through the latter, will she, nill she.

The presence of a hire boat behind tail-gating every time she did slow down didn't help her enjoyment of the cruise. As it was, it took rather more than the hour we had estimated to get to the service wharf at Wheelock. Tediously, although it’s a long wharf with two water points, a boat had tied smack in the middle. There was room for a boat which had been in front of us to get on beyond, so we went past and tied (more or less) in front of it to wait our turn. The hire boat, being very short, was able to get on behind the moored boat and start using that water point, the moored boat having finished with it.

Apparently, the male half of this boat’s crew was taking a shower in the service block and did eventually emerge and boat off. The hire boat had also gone by now, so I reversed Sanity Again back round to tie on the now available space. There is a good pressure here, so we filled up quite quickly. Just as we were finishing, Braidbar number 89, Arcturus, turned up going the other way and Sheila was able to have a quick chat with Phil and Pat.

It now being half ten, there was plenty of room on the visitor moorings and we’ve been sitting quietly here all afternoon. We did take a stroll up the locks to stretch our legs after lunch and pass the time of day with one or two of the lock-wheelers working up and down. There’s been a steady rather than frantic traffic going by, but we shall still make an effort to get away in good time tomorrow, aiming for Rode Heath for tomorrow night.


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