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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Heartbreak Hill

Saturday 16th September.

We needed diesel and Kings Lock boatyard was just below the next lock and right at the junction. 9 oclock opening so we didn't pull pins until 8.30am. Timing was everything and arriving dead on 9am we thought we got it spot on. But already on the service point was another boat filling the water tank. So I sort of hovered near to the boat in the hopes that he would finish soon. After about 5 minutes and no sign of life from the boater, I pulled onto the opposite bank and dropped Ian off to go investigate. Finally, after another 10 minutes, and with Ian speaking to the chap from the boatyard, he raised the boater from whatever he was doing and said I could bring FS alongside his boat. The diesel hose just about reached and we could finally fill the tank.  120 litres was needed and at 72p litre felt it a reasonable price.

Leaving Middlewich branch for the final lock before turning onto the T& M

Looking back toward the Middlewich junction.
Kings lock boatyard
 Having ascended Kings Lock it was a further 4 locks and 6 miles before we reached Wheelock and what a relief to finally get there. It was definitely a 'phew' moment when we pulled onto the services. A couple of inches to the top....that's what we had to spare. Those of you with proper flushing toilets and with no concern as to where the contents go will have no idea what I'm talking about. But boaters/ caravaners/ campervanners will know exactly what I mean. It's all to do with how much a toilet cassette will hold. We have two and can normally manage for 5 days. Less of course if one's man starts on the beer!! Me I drink wine and it's surprising how the need to P is reduced. Anyway, two cassettes emptied and a much happier Captain (me)

Rumps lock....lovely name for a lock. This lock took no prisoners as I bounced off that jutting brickwork and sent my pictures of the grandchildren crashing to the floor!.
 We had help today, two new crew members arrived on Icing last night. One a very shaggy GSD called Bonnie keeping an eye on proceedings and her owner, Stephen, Dennis and Margarets son, who jollied us along and kept the locking running smoothly. They couldn't have arrived at a better time as today we tackled the Cheshire flight.  More commonly named Heartbreak Hill, 26 locks in 7 miles and, for us, all uphill to reach the summit at Harecastle tunnel. The locks were opened in 1777, but the traffic using the canal got so great that the canal company appointed the engineer Thomas Telford to improve the navigation in 1830. Most have two single locks side by side and with the extra help from Stephen, made for an easy ascent.

Margaret and Stephen

Ian getting help from Margaret, Stephen and Bonnie

This lock chamber filled in.

Stephen and Bonnie
We called it quits after 10 locks at a place called Hassall Green. Tomorrow the final 16 and if the canal planner is correct, should take about 4 hours. Whether we go through Harecastle tunnel remains to be seen.

And cadging a lift on FS,


Adam said...

I wondered if we might see you -- but you did Middlewich Junction yesterday, and we did it today, coming from the north and turning onto the arm. Sorry to have missed you.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Oh blast, sorry too. At the moment I'm a day behind with my posts. We are now moored at Red Ball ready for the Harecastle tomorrow.

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