Sunday 14 February 2016

February Half Term Cruise Days 1 and 2

Its half term for Chris so she has just over a week break.  For some the mere mention schools out brings forth groans.  Time to entertain the kids/grand kids so they don't get bored whilst ticking off the days until they return to school.

For others it heralds the start of the hire boat season and scenes of kids running on boat roofs without life jackets on.  Insisting on working the locks and so on, you know what I mean and we've all been there and thanked them for their help.  This trip is no different.  I love kids but I do wish the grown ups would take more care of them on the water than some do.

For us school holidays mean its time to leave the marina and get out on the cut. Did I hear you say your brave :-)  This half term is no different and so we're on our way down to Audlum for a few days.  Yes I know the locks are closed for the winter but its still a chance to cruise all the same.  We'll wind below the locks and retrace our steps.

Yesterday we woke really late after a heavy night in the Shady Oak pub (this is becoming a habit) so did  not get under way until gone 11am.  We knew we would have plenty of time to get to Audlum so was happy to cruise for just a couple of ours in the afternoon.

Chris still prefers to lock Wheel than helm in double locks
The weather blessed us again with light winds but a  chilly 5C meant wrapping up to keep warm.  The Sun even made an appearance though hazy through the thinning cloud.

At Tilstone lock there were several Floral tributes for retired Hairdresser, Jane Morris, who, after several years of debilitating illness committed suicide here.  So sad.

Lovely floral tributes at Tilstone Lock in Memory of Jane Morris who died here in 2014.
On a brighter note we had a pleasant trip down through Bunbury locks on our own and then, as it was 4pm,we moored up just North of the bridge at Calvery services.

Moored north of Calvery.

We woke at 8am this morning to  0C outside and a cold boat inside as the fire did not stay in overnight.  I remade it and together with boiling the kettle AmyJo's cabin soon warmed up.

We upped pins at 9am and had a steady cruise in the sun through Calverly but the low sun made it hard to see up ahead at times.  I'm not felt so good to see blue skies.  We have not seen much if the sun lately so it was really good to see it today.

Low sun as we approached Calvery services
The trip to Barbridge junction went without much to write about.  One or two boats were on the move but otherwise it was pleasant enough in the sun.

We had a bit of a wait at the junction as a hire boat about to turn onto the Middlewich branch had to reverse out to may way for another boat coming the other way.  With us coming down from Chester and another boat the other side of the junction coming towards us the poor hire boater started to get into difficulty.  Those of us on the main line waited patiently and eventually the hire boater stopped on the bank opposite the junction.  Fortunately the boat coming out of the junction was only 40ft so could make the turn towards Hurlston easily despite the hire boat right opposite.   To be fair he had nowhere else to go.

 We then waited for the hire boat to go through.  The North bound boat had moored while he waited so once the way was clear we proceeded on our way.  We did feel for the hire boater.  He was clearly a novice and must have been embarrassed with the other boaters (us) looking on.  Not an easy situation to be in.

The hire boat on his way along the Middlewich branch
 Later at Hurlston we waited for a boat to make the turn into the locks to go up onto the LLangollen and passed through the bridge 'ole continuing our way along the Shroppy.  LLangollen will be seeing us again later.

Just after the bridge 'ole we came across this sorry sight

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 Such a shame to see this but reading the blogs this seems to becoming more common these days.  There appears to be no reason for the sinking but something had clearly gone wrong.

We soon found ourselves at Nantwich.  The moorings north of the aqueduct were full but we found a good spot just South.  In fact we think its the same spot we moored at last time we were here.  As it was only 2pm we walked back to the services to dispose of our rubbish and have a look round the marina.

The Nantwich Shire horse now looks weathered and has its side missing but still impressive in the sunshine.

Up stream of the bridge.  By now the sun had some warmth to it but still chilly
Here we found Jim and Sheila on nb Islonian (click).  We had bought coffe from them at last year's Middlwwich Feastival.  We chatted with them for a while exchanging stories of our cruises.  Good to meet you both and we'll see you on our return.

AmyJo,s Solar panels making good use of the sun
 With clear sunshine our solar panels were pumping out 103Watt keeping the batteries fully charged so were beginning to pay for themselves.

As we're on 48hour moorings we may stay for a couple of days and do Nantwich

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