We would have liked to stay longer, but had to press on again. After getting a pump-out at the Anglo-Welsh hire base, we queued for almost an hour to get water. The delay couldn't have happened at a better time as it meant we bumped into friends on 2 boats who we'd have otherwise missed. We've arranged to travel with one of the boats in a couple of weeks, down off the Macclesfield Canal and into Manchester. Later this afternoon, we bumped into another old friend. We used to moor next to Helga & Klaus on n.b.Sebeq at Macclesfield Marina. Sadly Klaus died and this is the first time Helga's taken the boat out for a decent cruise in 2 years. We're going to meet up again when she get's back on the Macc after doing the 4 Counties Ring.
The canal's been very busy today, mostly the SAS (Saturday And Sunday) brigade coming out of Great Haywood marina for the weekend and we've had to queue at locks for the first time in months. Luckily there were as many boats coming down as going up so plenty of people to chat to. One lady had just come from Stone and told me a funny story. They'd been coming down Star Lock when a guy off a private boat came to help her with the lock gates, so that his boat could come in when her's had gone out. When the lock was empty, he asked her if she could manage to get the boat out with just one gate open or did she need both? What? She told me she thought he was having a laugh, but he was deadly serious. She said she just looked at him in disbelief and asked did he really think you could get a 6ft 10in wide narrowboat through a 3 ft 6in gap? For those among you who aren't boaters, you can only get out of a double width lock through one gate, not a single width one.
It's been another beautiful cruising day, mostly warm and sunny, although a bit chilly out of the sun.
I like returning to canals that we haven't been on for a long time; you see things that are still in the same place and condition as before, like this Gypsy caravan
and also things that have changed and been improved. These retirement bungalows have all been fitted with solar panels since last time we passed.
Their gardens are just as lovely as before and I particularly liked these sunflowers.
In previous years we've stopped here at Salt by Bridge 82. If you turn left on the bridge and walk about half a mile into Salt village you come to the Holly Bush Inn which has a really good restaurant and serves amazing Greek Kleftiko Lamb.
We're now moored in the middle of nowhere, somewhere below Aston Lock. We decided not to carry on to Stone today as we'd heard about the Beer & Food Festival and a couple of boaters had said that the moorings in town were full. I know it's not like us to pass up a beer festival but, when we were in Birmingham, we did so much socialising and eating and drinking out that we're just happy chilling out for a while.