Today’s A Busy Lock Day

We moored last night at Wrenbury Church Moorings, a lovely soft evening, and we’re lucky enough to choose the right evening when the bell-ringers were practising in the church. The fish were jumping for flies, the birds were having their last song of the day, and the melodious church bells just topped the moment.

It’s become a bit of a ritual; after breakfast, and while sipping coffee, we get out the maps to plan the day.  Today we’ve got 3 lift bridges, 7 locks, and a ‘staircase’ of three locks.

 

Trying to line the boat up through the locks is a ‘lost cause’, no matter how careful we tried to get through the locks, it was impossible to not knock the boat.  To get past the torrent of water, the boat needs a bit of power behind it, get it wrong and the bigger the knock. Going gently doesn’t work as it’s not easy steer the boat without any power under the tiller. It’s a challenge!

The staircase lock was ‘exciting’, and we were helped by two ‘Velockies’; two volunteer lock-keepers!  Lucky for us the ‘season’ for Velockies started just a few days ago.

There’s lots of plants that I’ve never seen before…  we’re wondering what these are?

Cute little lambs everywhere you look, these cheeky chappies have managed to get on the wrong side of the fence. No matter what species, kids will be kids…

Couldn’t resist taking a pic of this glorious tree!

It’s not a good picture, though it’s to show the little ‘cupboard’ that is in the bridge.  Hundred of years ago employers of barge workers would leave messages in the cupboards for their employees. Also local traders would leave bread, milk, and other provisions in the cupboard for payment.  The only other canal that we can think where there are such bridges is on the Coventry Canal.  No doubt as time and miles go by, we’ll discover other canals with the same ‘cupboards’.

Battling The Wind

Image below is the setting of our overnight mooring. Today we’re looking forward to passing through five locks.  The wind is cool and blustery, but who cares? Not us…. she lied!

We knew it would be a challenge getting the boat into a lock without ‘kissing’ the sides, but we never took into account the water torrents (or by-wash) by the side of the locks.

Alongside each lock there’s a very fast stream, being fed from a weir above the lock.  This strong current, together with strong gusts of wind, pushes the boat away from where it’s being aimed.  There’s no way the boat’s going to glide.

Unlike other canals, the water flows in the Llangollen.  It’s believed 12 million gallons of water a day flows through the canal, and into the Hurleston Reservoir below, to provide drinking water for Cheshire.

Beautiful and ‘brave’ yellow primroses are showing Spring is here.

I’m amazed, and loving the ‘primrose show’!

A great sight to see two lovely traditional haulage barges, well turned out and brightly painted.

 

Catching Up On The Llangollen Canal

We’re spending this blustery sunny day moored up on the Llangollen Canal. We’ve got over 45 Mg of WiFi, which makes this a good day to catch up with blogging our adventures on NB Cyan.

We’ve had some serious ‘ticking off’ from friends, complaining that we’re not keeping the blog up to speed, and to be honest we’re missing it too because it’s our diary of where we’ve been, when we did it, and without some sort of record, it appears we loose our ‘register’!  When everyday is a new adventure, with new ground (or water) being intrepidly discovered, plus with both our failing memory recall, Cyan’s blog (our on-line diary) is a must for us.

When we first planned this trip from Trinity Marina, to Llangollen Canal Basin, starting on 13th February, we anticipated it would take 25 days…. well here we are at 26 days over plan, and we’re ‘Not There Yet’, which brings to mind the name of the boat we passed yesterday – the boat was aptly called ‘Theft of Time’!

Yesterday after leaving ‘our overnight spot’ on the Shropshire Union Canal, which was just past Overwater Marina, and before Bennets Bridge No 80, we’d decided to have a more leisurely day after the ‘marathon’ 15 locks at Audlem. Our plan was to skip down the last two locks of the Shroppie, fill up our water tank, and moor up just before Hurleston Junction, and where we turn ‘left’ onto the Llangollen Canal.

We had a brilliant cruise through Nantwich. Many boaters were sitting on their boat’s decks enjoying the welcome Spring sunshine, and quite a few were feeling energetic enough to give their boat a good polish.  On passing one of the ‘gleaming’ boats, John had to comment to the owner on his boats appearance.  The boater offered up his bottle of ‘baby oil’ he was using to polish his boat, and with a mutter he said something like “Don’t tell ‘her’ up in front”!

When we got to our planned mooring, we thought we’d be settled until the morning.  The washing line ‘twirly thing’ was set up, and charged with washing to be dried.  But that was before a boat went past, and even though it went past gently, it caused an almighty crash to our boat as it hit something near the bank.

Under CC Attribution – with thanks to Chris Jones

On inspection of our mooring, we discovered there was a sort of shelf, under the water, which was causing Cyan to crash into it.  After several boats went past, we decided to dismantle the washing drying, and cast off, with me striding out over the ‘Hurleston Rover Bridge No. 97’ to set the lock which is at the entrance to the Llangollen Canal.

We swapped lock duty when the boat was raised, and it was safe to board Cyan (and unboard her), with John on lock duty for the flight of 4 locks.

We’re now ‘sitting pretty’ on ‘Burland Visitor Moorings (North), just before Lee’s Bridge No. 4!