After Friday's Sunny t-shirt weather cruising, the weather had turned to the dark side on Saturday. The force was indeed strong in this one as the day was bitter cold, wet and very windy. Our luck with good weather had come to an end.
We left Hurleston about 8:45am and the cruise was going OK but the temperature was much cooler than yesterday. The morning started off reasonably but the wind slowly got worse as the day wore on.
At the two Swanley locks we found no queues but the locks were against us, even so we got through them in good time. At Badiley locks the wind was picking up and the strong by washes made for a hair raising entrances to the locks though, fortunately, AmyJo was being very co-operative in the wind for a change and responded to the helm really well when needed.
|First of the Swanley Locks and strong by wash just ahead|
|Chris steps it out for the next lock. I do offer to lock wheel honest, but she prefers to work the locks.|
|Taken in a lull in the wind AmyJo safety tied up at Wrenbury|
|Total distance:5.19 miles Elapsed time:3h39m5s Locks:5 |
Bridges:18 Average speed:1.42 mph (2.79 lock/mph)
7:30am Saturday morning the wind had eased considerably. We slipped the lines at 7:45am and crept up to the lift bridge which Chris raised for me to pass through. We left early to avoid not only the wind but also to avoid a repeat of last year whereby as soon as we got through the bridge and stopped to pick up Chris, 5 boats appeared from nowhere and cruised through without so much as a thank you, leaving us sitting waiting to lower the bridge.
|Not a soul about as we pass through the lift bridge.|
With surprisingly very little traffic on the cut we got through Grindley Brook without having to queue. We got through Whitchurch in light rain but just after passing the winding hole past Whichchurch arm the heavens opened with a torrential down pour with hail stones in the rain. Luck was with us and we had just gone under the A41 bridge so we stopped to allow the downpour to pass.
|Holed up under the A41 until the down pour passes.|
|Lying in relative calm as the wind still blew around us.|
|Rainbow making landfall at this farm|
|Even in this close up you could still see the rainbow by the barn.|
|Total distance:9.90 miles Elapsed time:7h42m13s Locks:10 |
Bridges:24 Average speed:1.29 mph (2.58 lock/mph)
And so to today. I have to say today's weather was much better to us despite the warnings of storm Katie. The wind had eased and the cloud showed signs of lifting. Sounds like the south got the full brunt of it.
After our early start yesterday we did not surface until gone 8am. We eventually got under way at 9:30am.
|Last lift bridge before Press Junction in the distance|
|The Wixall marina arm. The weather was still a little gloomy at this point.|
|The fens may look grim place but they do have a certain beauty of their own.|
|This chap escorted us all the way from the junction to Taraloka at the end of the straight stretch. A kestrel we think?|
Chris struggled to get a good photo and this is the best we could get.
|Pretty moorings near Hampton Bank|
|Ellesmere tunnel, only 87 yards, was clear and was wider than this photo looks.|
|Ellesmere arm entrance and Gerry Good's boat in the foreground.|
|A lamb watches us pass by with curiosity|
At this point we noticed the bridge numbers start back at 1 again but suffixed with a "W", I wonder why?
|Total distance:8.70 miles Elapsed time:3h28m37s Locks:0 |
Bridges:14 Average speed:2.50 mph (2.50 lock/mph)
|Total distance:3.62 miles Elapsed time:2h14m13s Locks:0|
Bridges:13 Average speed:1.62 mph (1.62 lock/mph)
It's because the original bridge numbers continue down the Monty, because that used to be the main route. The W was added relatively recently by BW to avoid confusion -- especially if you needed to give your location to the emergency services, for example.
I did wander if that was the case. I was hoping you would have the answer :-)
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