Monday 11 July 2016

Summer Cruise Day 1 - Home to Cholmondeston Lock

After our return from Chester we spent the rest of the week preparing Amyjo of our Summer Cruise.  Her cabin sides and roof were looking dull and covered in soot stains and resin runs from the winter of log burners in the marina.  I spent two days scrubbing and polishing until AmyJo shone like new.  I don't like to let her paintwork dull or become tarnished so I gave her a good valet all over.

We woke early this morning, pulled off the mooring and headed to the fueling arm to pump out the nasties and then left in the heavy drizzle that dogged us all morning.  With a brisk wind as we turned out of the marina it was not a nice day to cruise at all, but a little rain does not put us off.  All was going well and we got through Wharton lock followed by Beeston Iron and Stone locks in good time but then our luck changed.

On arrival at Chas Harden Wharf we were informed a tree was down at Tilston lock.  Sure enough on arrival at the lock we joined the growing queue of boats.  Apparently the top of a large tree broke off in the winds last night blocking the cut and the rest of it came down at 7am this morning totally blocking the cut and towpath.

Joining the waiting boats at Tilston

The offending tree.  The lock is just beyond the bridge
 It was a good job no boats were moored there and no one was hurt.  We settled down for lunch and waited as C&RT were on their way with a work boat and crew.

The cavalry arrives and descends to lock
 After an hour a C&RT work boat arrived and they set to clearing the tree as soon as they descended the lock.  Within an hour the tree had been cut up and removed to a point where two boats were allowed to move up to the lock and then work continued.  All the cut branches being thrown over the towpath into woodland to serve as new habitats for the animals.  

Chain sawing up the large branches after two boats have been allowed to move past into the lock

The guys worked fast and efficiently watched by a crowd on the bridge

Finally the last of the obstruction was cut up just in time for us to proceed up the lock
By now it was 3pm so we decided to carry on to Venetian marina and moor outside for the night.  Our lock partners at Tilston were a couple of newlyweds honeymooning on their boat having tied the knot on Saturday.  We congratulated them and chatted whilst we waited our turn at the Bunbury Staircase.  I do hope the weather improves for them but then I guess that won't worry them :-)  

Things must be looking up for Anglo Welsh as only three hire boats were on their wharf so passage to the staircase was a doddle.  One of the hire boats had just completed hand over and were most grateful when we joined them in the locks.  As I entered the bottom chamber the poor helm was physically shaking with nerves.  By the time we cleared the top lock our help and banter put them all at ease having smiles on the crew's faces and they looked much happier.

The rain was becoming more persistant so the hire boat pulled in at Calverely to wait it out.  We continued on making the turn at Barbridge and finally moored at 6:30pm above Cholmondeston Lock.  On queue just as we got settled the rain stopped and the sun made an appearance.  A pleasant evening with warmer temperatures followed.

The winds abate and the sun decided to grace us with its presence

Moored for the night and preparing for our daily walk.

One boater had made this lovely feature on his mooring garden.  Clearly keen gardeners
Total distance:9.14 miles Elapsed time:7h00m14s Locks:6 Bridges:18 
Average speed:1.34 mph (2.22 lock/mph) 

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