Friday 17 April 2015

Easter 2015 Cruise - Day 14

One of the drawbacks of retracing your route like we are at the moment is it is difficult not to to post about something you did on your outbound journey.  Today is no exception.

As the Whichchurch arm is quiet and peaceful we felt obliged to leave later than usual so as not to wake anyone, besides the lie in was an attractive bonus.  

Once the community started to rise we prepared to leave.  Before doing so Chris wanted to take this photo of the arm looking out from the canal bridge nearby.  AmyJo is the second boat from the camera on the right
Evidence of exploratory excavation is present at the bottom of frame
This has revealed the original stonework leading up to the bridge
 We slipped the lines and on tick over glided gently off the mooring and down the arm.  Watchful boaters kept an eye on us as we passed and waved.  Sounds really daft but I cold not shake the feeling they were pleased we were leaving.  I doubt that was the case but still the feeling remained.

Leaving our overnight mooring with the bridge behind

Boaters appear by their boats and watch as we leave.

In order to proceed from the arm towards Grindley Brook, larger boats like ours the cannot make the very tight 280 degree turn so a convenient winding hole is provided a few 100 yards up stream and then you can retrace your steps passing by the arm.  

Winding AmyJo whilst Chris prepares Lift Bridge 30 for my return.
The short run to Grindley Brook was uneventful and quiet.  We arrived and stopped for water and dispose of some rubbish.  Expecting a queue we were surprised to find the lock gate open as we approached and we went straight into the top lock. The friendly Lockie that helped us down Frankton Locks recognised us and she then helped us down the staircase chatting cheerfully to Chris as we went.

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 Being the only boat passing through we were down the flight in good time.  Thanking the lockie we carried on to Povey Lock.  Here a queue of three boats were waiting and we could see a fourth struggling to enter the lock.  We later found that this boat had a cambelt fail and a valve had punched through a cylinder and engine casing all sounding VERY costly.  Another boat was towing them all the way to Anderton.

The engine damaged boat being towed to Willey Moor Lock 
 With plenty of time on our hands we helped the other boats down the lock then locked through ourselves.  As we approached each of Willey Moor, Quoisley and Marford locks the other boats got further ahead so the queue got shorter at each lock.

Not sure what these are but there were lots of them looking quite pretty
 It must be hire boat hand over today as few boats were on the move.  In fact we saw more walkers that boats.  In some ways it felt a little like the Montgomery canal on a Monday

A few of many tow path trekkers today
By 3pm we approached the Lift bridge at Wrenbury.  Our plan was to stop upstream of the bridge and it is as well we did as we learned when the next boat came along that it would not lift.  Try as they might the crew, then us, and then the Mill hire boat people could not get it to operate.  C&RT were called and luckily were nearby.  Within the hour the bridge was operational again.  I asked the engineer what might be the problem and it seems if the road barrier bounces in and out of the locking receptacle the system gets confused and resets itself refusing to lift the bridge.  He had to re initiate the controls to get it to work again.  Apparently since they updated the controls a few weeks back this has happened four or five times in a week.  o be fair the bridge now lifts and lowers in double fast time reducing the wait by road users.

Content on our near empty mooring we settled in for a peaceful evening.   Clouds in the sky gave this sun ray scene and our first Swallows appeared on the telephone line opposite the boat.  At least we think they are Swallows or are they Swifts.  How does one tell them apart?

Evening Sunrays.

One named Peter and one named Paul
 Tomorrow we say farewell, for now, to the LLangollen and turn for home.

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