Monday (5th August) we woke to bright sunshine and blue sky ...
casting off at 8 o'clock from our mooring on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal above Winsford Top Flash
and were soon passing under the busy railway bridge
Good timing here ... a minute or so later we'd have met him on that blind bend in a skewed bridge!
Swallows catching breakfast!
Trying to keep ahead of What a Lark!
Arriving at Stanthorne Lock where there appears to be rather a lot of boat crew to operate it!
There's a boat going down, nothing coming up and our turn next and already a boat waiting behind us
It's another deep one at 11'1"
20 minutes later we join the queue for Wardle Lock at the northern end of the Middlewich canal where George has to hold WaL under the bridge ...
not very clear in this photo but there is one boat already descending the lock and two waiting just above also to go down ... fortunately there are no boats coming up as George currently has nowhere else to go if they did as there are now a queue of boats behind him!
It took 10 minutes for the boat in lock to go down (you can see that he's turning right below the lock) and for the first boat in the queue to enter the lock and the second one to move forward to enable George to bring WaL onto the lock landing.
George has moved WaL forward and holding her middle line whilst I wait for the lock to fill after helping the previous boat through ...
The lock is emptying and I've warned George that two of the three previous boats have turned right (the way we're going too) and another has come from the left to join the probable mayhem on the junction.
I'm standing on the junction bridge as George brings WaL through an starts the turn ...
and this is the scene below Kings Lock on the Trent and Mersey Canal ... one boat exiting the lock and two waiting to go up as well as moored boats requiring the services of Kings Lock Boatyard ...
George completes the turn and has to hover whilst boats move forward in the queue ...
and I go up to Kings Lock to help the boats through
In the past when we were narrow boaters we'd always try to be here for amazing fish and chips when the shop was open, but unfortunately it's too early today!
Down below I can see that George is getting ready to bring WaL in
... the boat on the right has stopped to chat to someone on the wharf making it a very tight manoeuvre for a 70 footer!
but here she comes and is slowly ascending ...
Narrowboat Windsong used to belong to Pip and Roger
The Kinderton Arms has been closed for many years now (a bit of local history here) but at least it now looks (by the window being cleaned) as if it is, or is going to be, at least lived in again even if it's not a public house any more.
Rumps Lock next and I can see a boat close behind us
Middlewich has produced salt for over 2,000 years and in the 13th century there were about 100 'wich' (brine) houses around the town's two brine pits. Since 1969 British Salt has been the only salt manufacturer in Middlwich and supplies 57% of the UK's table salt. The trade name of the salt from here is the well known Saxa brand.
Not sure which of the three Booth Lane flight of locks this is which raised us by another 28' 9"
Bridge 161 Crows Nest is immediately below Booth Lane top lock where the fishermen seemed very intent on ignoring the fact that we were approaching them!
Nose to nose!
Pinch points and blind bends!
Could that be rain on the way at 13:30?
A splash of colour (crocosmia/montbretia) at the end of a canal side garden
We reached our destination at Wheelock at 13:45 where we waited for the hire boat facing us to come past us and then saw the crew all get off it and leave it there!
We managed to pass without difficulty to the water point and as there were no mooring spaces available ahead of us, reversed back and put in the pins for the night.