Hack Green Locks

Yesterday evening we were too tired to blog, following an unexpected eleven hour day. We started at 8 am and quickly navigated the two locks at Swanley, before arriving at Swanley Bridge Marina to use their services. We had a short wait here on the outside services berth, waiting for a boat to unload, presumably at the end of their holiday. So following a pump out, and taking on gas and water we were off again. Arriving at Hurleston locks, we did not have to wait as we descended towards the junction with the Shropshire Union. By 1130 we had left the Llangollen Canal behind and were on our way to Aquaduct Marina. So far we were making good time. We only had two locks on the Middlewich Branch to navigate, but this is where we hit the queues. It was over an hour wait at each before we were through. Aquaduct Marina was only a short distance further on, and we occupied the fuel berth whilst we spent lots of money in the chandlers. However I now have enough oil for the next two engine services. We took the opportunity of using the Bistro for a late lunch, before departing again on a return route towards Barbridge. The queues at the locks for the return journey were not as bad but we still had a bit of a wait. To be fair this is the first time we have encountered longish queues so we are not doing too badly. We had not intended to travel that far, but we ended the day moored opposite  the Barbridge Inn. 

Today the weather was sunny from the start, two sunny days on the trot, it must be summer. After breakfast we set off heading for Nantwich. Our reason for returning to our winter mooring on this route is so we can explore a few of the locations we missed on the way, and nothing to do with avoiding Heartbreak Hill on the Trent and Mersey  🙂 
On arrival at Nantwich we saw Barolo No.3 a fellow Hudson Boat on the water point, and then within a short time nb Poppy, nb Eleanor and nb Brigand all Hudsons came past. It nearly had the makings of a Hudson convention. Nantwich is a pleasant market town with many old timber buildings, similar to Chester. In the square there was a craft market, and after perusing the stalls we attended the Red Cow P.H. for lunch. This was conveniently located next to an M&S food hall, so we popped in to stock up. Returning to the boat we again set off with the aim of reaching the moorings at Coole Pilate. We had two locks to deal with at Hack Green, luckily both were in our favour.
       

       

As we passed through the top lock the crew asked an oncoming boat what the mooring was like at Coole Pilate. The answer was, “busy”. On hearing this we nipped into a spot just above the locks and this will do us now till Monday. Later neighbours of ours on return from walking their dog informed us that the mooring at Coole Pilate was like Butlins so we are happy we stopped when we did.
      

Tomorrow in addition to our usual activities we also have an engine service to perform, so our Sunday roast may have to be postponed till Monday or Tuesday.
      

                                       With an evening view like this we may stay longer.

Friday totals 11 Miles 10 Locks 
Saturday totals 6 Miles 2 Locks
Running totals 405 Miles 188 Locks 17 Tunnels

Wrenbury

Soon after leaving Barbridge we were turning right at Hurleston Junction, to join the Llangollen Canal, and entering the bottom lock. There were warning notices informing boats to remove fenders, once in the lock it was clear why. I doubt if we had more than one inch clearance on either side in places. This was not the only issue we had with this flight of four locks. The pounds between the locks were very low, and on a couple of the locks we had trouble getting over the bottom cill. Still, once we reached the top we had good views back over the Cheshire countryside.

       

We had five more locks to go before arriving at our destination, two at Swanley and three at Baddiley. We have also experienced the effect of the flow of water on this canal. As we pass through the bridges where the gap narrows we are slowed to an almost complete stop. The Llangollen is fed by water from the river Dee, which in turn supplies the Hurleston reservoir and the Shropshire Union. Just before Wrenbury we encountered our first manual lift bridge, of which there are many on the Llangollen. These require the use of the windlass to raise and lower them.
      

Just after this bridge we stopped on the 48 hr moorings adjacent to a caravan holiday park. Not our usual type of spot, but well placed for Sunday lunch and the services at the boatyard ahead. Exploring the village there are two pubs, The Cotton Arms, and The Dusty Miller. Both are dog friendly but the Dusty Miller won the vote for our Sunday lunch. The boatyard also has a chandlers and I was able to purchase a much sought after HEP2O key, so now I should be able to manage any leaks we may get in the future.
     

                                                            Our spot at Wrenbury.

We will stay put till Monday then set off for Whitchurch. We don’t plan to head too far towards Llangollen this week as it is the Eisteddfod and likely to be very busy.
Totals 7 Miles 9 Locks
Running totals 308 Miles 149 Locks 11 Tunnels

Barbridge Junction

Setting off this morning we experienced wacky weather the UK is famed for. Yesterday we melted due to the heat and humidity, and today it was about 15 degrees cooler with the prospect of rain. Just as we were slipping our lines another boat approached the lock, nb Kennerly, so we had a locking partner for the flight which makes things easier. As we ascended Wharton’s Lock it dawned on us that like the sun, we had turned and begun our journey albeit slowly, South for the winter. Passing through Iron Lock where single passage is required, we were bounced around like a cork then it was back to doubling up again. We stopped at the Calveley service point for water, then as we left the rain came. Light at first but black clouds were on the horizon. We continued on to just beyond Barbridge Junction, which places us nicely for joining the Llangollen Canal early tomorrow. We plan to make for the village of Wrenbury. It has two pubs to choose from and both do Sunday roasts.

       

Our mooring just beyond the junction suddenly got busy when the heavens opened. After a period of heavy rain the sky cleared and the day ended bright and sunny. Tomorrow we will be back on new water and the easier single locks.
Totals 6 Miles 6 Locks
Running total 301 Miles 140 Locks 11 Tunnels