One minute we were enjoying a cup of tea in bed, the beep news being watched, and then the local weather forecast was shown. Good grief was that really heading our way? Heavy rain and thunderstorms and all to arrive mid-morning. Nop, didn't want to be caught out in that so we shot out of bed pretty quick. Breakfast then, was on the go and even teeth cleaning took a back seat until later. Only one boat joined us last night and that was a fair way away so we had no worries about disturbing their slumber as engine was fired into life and cladding pins removed.
|A 7.20 am get away.|
We failed....the rain started just after leaving Booth Lane middle lock. Blooming local forecast, timings all wrong. Ian was on his way to the next lock, no waterproofs just a fleece. Hmm, a water magnet if ever there was one. I did notice the grass cutting team had left the lock landing looking pretty wild, and what's with those white posts almost in the middle of the towpath? With them hammered into the ground the width of the path had been considerably reduced.
|Here comes the rain!|
Only five locks to do to get to Middlewich, and who should we meet at King's Lock? It was Peter. A long day for them as Barbridge has to be achieved by the end of the day. Could locking for them take longer now that they are going up instead of down?
|His boat already waiting below and the last of the locks descending|
Middlewich junction was busy. More hire boats seen today than in all the two weeks of travelling and one right by the junction. I was intrigued how Peter would cope with the turn towing that boat. Well as I said in a previous post, I was watching a master at work.
My turn to descend Kings lock and I did wonder if there would be room behind the red boat. Ian was at the junction but I couldn't get his attention. Should I do the turn and hope, or do I wait? In the end I thought 'sod it' I'm going for it. Almost had the bow into the junction when Ian eventually realised what I was doing and waved me through. Hmm....better late than never I suppose.
Holding FS under the bridge, that red boat's bow was well into the lock entrance. Must mean no boat was descending.
Watching the proceedings a lady walked up to me and said "Are you queueing for the lock?" "Yes" I replied, "Our boat is just about to come through the junction and I wondered where we should go?" she enquired. Ah, not the wisest of moves I thought and told her she would have to inform the captain to hold fire, not to come in yet but wait from a signal from her.
At this lock (Wardle) there is a very big failing by who ever decided where the rings or bollards should be. The red boat with its bow well into the lock entrance could be tied to the top ring. After it had gone in and lock gates closed I pulled FS forward to allow that hire boat behind me to come in.
|Ian up there giving a hand.|
And then I discovered I had a problem. There was no central bollard or ring to tie to. I had also been told by Ian that a boat was waiting to descend at the top, so no allowing FS's bow into the entrance. I could no longer pull back to the ring under the bridge 'ole because the hire boat had arrived. Furthermore, I was now at the mercy of a lock full of water emptying out, coming at FS at full force making her impossible to hold.
|This to show where the rings were. My camera was on FS and no way would I have attempted to get back on board to fetch it.|
No more photos of my plight obviously! What I did do was ask for the bottom gate paddles to be lifted really slowly. The gentleman on the descending boat was very obliging and when Ian turned up after helping Peter, he raced to help me with the rope. In the end Ian managed to get down the bank and get FS's bow rope and secured that to the top ring. After that the paddles were fully lifted and we had no more problems.
Gosh Middlewich moorings were busy, mainly with hire boats. I managed to squeeze in right at the very end of the mooring by the second bridge and just in time as the predicted rain came down in torrents. Short lived, thank goodness, and no thunderstorms at all! Then as we had settled down all those hire boats up and left leaving no end of room. 30 minutes later and we would have found a space nearer to the lock and, I might add, considerably nearer to the shops!