Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Hold up in Middlewich

I  haven’t posted for a couple of days, simply because I’ve been too busy having a good time!

We moored below Audlum locks on Saturday with our old customer & friend Dave Farndale and then on Sunday we met another friend, John Wood,  who now moors in Overwater Marina and the 4 of us went to the Lord Combermere pub in Audlum for Sunday lunch. The roast beef lunch was excellent; good tender beef and fresh veggies and good value at £9.95.

On Monday morning Dave cruised with us into Overwater Marina to meet John for a coffee and a tour of the marina. We’re still on the look-out for a winter mooring and were very impressed by the set-up at Overwater. It’s not the cheapest we’ve looked at by any means, but it seems a very friendly place and there’s plenty of room between the boats so it won’t be claustrophobic which was our main complaint last winter.

Last night we moored both boats at Sykes Hallow picnic area. There were 3 other boats already moored there and we all had our own picnic tables and BBQ stand provided by SUCS (Shropshire Union Canal Society). It’s a lovely place to spend an evening and after such a hot day the BBQ was a great way to chill out. 

Dave provided so much food that we needed 2 disposable BBQ’s plus our own BBQ as well.

This morning we went our separate ways. Dave headed back towards Tattenhall Marina and we stopped off in Middlewich for a quick trip to Tesco and Dave's Angling Centre for some maggots

We tried to carry on down the locks through Middlewich but had to stop at the first one (Lock 73) as a guy from BW was attempting to refill the lock pounds, which had been drained by a hire boat leaving all the paddles open at every lock! The BW guy asked if I’d help as he regulated the flow of water to fill the pound between  locks 73 & 72. As the water level started to come back up I got chatting to the family on the hire boat. This wasn’t their first lock but they were adamant that the only tuition they'd had from the hire company was on a model lock and admitted they hadn’t got a clue what they were doing. I gave them my “idiot’s guide” to how locks work and the woman suddenly twigged what they’d been doing wrong and what they should have been doing. It’s quite scary how these hire companies can let absolute novices take a boat out and when the boat following them came up it was also from the same hire company. They didn’t have a clue either! 

refilling pound from the lock just out of view to the right of the
picture, the 'waterfall' in the centre would normally be submerged

the pound half full again
We finally got down the Big Lock which is a wide lock and ridiculously difficult to operate. Only 1 top paddle works so filling it is mind numbingly slow and the gates are so out of balance they are almost impossible to move on your own. 2 young girls were hanging round the lock and came over to talk to me. They were only about 8 years old and were playing out before their tea. They were really nice and polite and asked intelligent questions. The best bit though was that they were eager to help open the gates which was a really big help to me.

We’re now moored just before bridge 179. We’ve moored here before and it’s a good quiet spot with both good satellite and internet reception. 

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