Tuesday 12 July 2016

Summer Cruise Day 2 - Home to Cholmondeston Lock to Wardle Lock

Despite the met office forecast for a dry day I woke at 6am to a dank drizzly morning.  I despair of ever seeing a decent spell of warm sunny weather again sometimes.

After preparing AmyJo for the days cruise we set off and joined the morning rush hour of boats.  No sooner had we set off and we came to Cholmondeston lock We  found were fourth in line for the lock as we closed on the bridge 'ole.  Mind you could have been worse, below 12 boats were lined up waiting to ascend.

Signs of a busy day ahead

Everyone taking the wait in the only way english do best, having a good old natter.

And those below, more are beyond the bridge 'ole
 With a cheerful crowd  from the boats up front working the lock it was soon our turn but the heavens opened with a torrential down pour.  Poor Chris found herself lock wheeling alone as everyone scampered back to their boats below the lock.  So in time honoured fashion we took our time.   As we passed one boat a helm called he had waited an hour and half already to which I replied had you not sat on your a£$e and watched others doing the work perhaps your wait might have been shorter.  I do so hate having an audience when Chris has to work a lock on her own!  Rant over.  

Worse was the fact Chris could not board AmyJo as boats lined the towpath all the way to the bridge 'ole.  She asked the first boat very politely if she could step across their stern to reach AmyJo but was rudely snapped at with "NO, go use someone else's boat!"  After that retort she was too scared to ask another so, with nothing for it, she eventually boarded at the bridge 'ole, cold and dripping wet.

Before leaving Tattenhall we took delivery and had fitted an Axiom propeller.  Other Fernwood boat owners have them and recommended them so we decided to spend some of the retirement funds on one and give it a go whilst we could afford to.

So far all has been good with the performance on maneuvering much better, particularly when going astern or stopping, however, we have found it a tad noisy with a bubbling, gravelly rumble at 10k plus revs which was a bit worrying.  I had a feeling this was cavitation but decided to have someone with experience look at it in Aqueduct marina.

The engineer had a listen and put our worry to rest and confirmed he felt cavitation was indeed the culprit as there was no vibration indicating out of balance blades.  Feeling happier we continued our journey with the noise getting slightly less as the day wore on.  AmyJo comes out for blacking in September so I may ask Axiom to come and check it out then as there should not be any cavitation with these propellers.

Leaving Aqueduct Marina
 After leaving the tight marina entrance the canal snakes its way through rural farm land and is pretty non descript.  That not to say its not interesting as the scenery is pleasant enough but there is little to punctuate the sameness of view.  The vistas across fields are enough to occupy the crew and the occasional swerve to avoid cows drinking whilst standing in the cut adds entertainment. 

We love these converted stables and love the sympathetic restoration

Next door this canalside cottage as has a similar restoration and large extension in keeping with the style.
 Just before Clive Green is a particularly high raised section of canal with pretty moorings provided with picnic tables and a superb view of the river Weaver below.  That brought fond memories of our trip on it last year.

A glimpse of the river Weaver below helps show how high the cut is at this point
After rounding a tight bend one stumbles immediately onto Stanthorpe lock.  One has to take care as the lock landing upstream is short so approach at lower speed than normal round the bend is recommended.  I wonder how many unwary boaters round the bend at cruising speed only to slam on the anchors to avoid hitting the lock gates?

Finally after passing under the busy A530 one heads into Middlewich suburbs passing the beautifully manicured gardens of  bungalows that line the way to Wardle Lock.   We always find this a particularly popular spot with boats to moor for the night but this time we found the last vacant mooring big enough to take AmyJo after bridge 28 and tied up after a good day's cruising.  Better still the rain had stopped and the sun was doing its best to appear albeit briefly.  It even began to feel warmer too.

Our mooring for tonight
Total distance:8.27 miles Elapsed time:6h41m34s Locks:3 Bridges:27 
Average speed:1.24 mph (1.68 lock/mph) 

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