Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Back down Bosley

At two hours, it took us a bit longer to come back down Bosley than we did going up, although all the locks were with us this time. Setting off just before eight, I managed to open the Dales Moss swing bridge with a bit less hassle than before, though it was still very stiff and reluctant. The serious downside of stopping at Lyme Green going south is that, unless you set off very early, you arrive at the Fools Nook swing bridge, the electrically operated one, in the middle of the rush hour.

I held up a total of about ten cars this time, though didn't have any trouble from them. It helped that the bridge swings a good bit quicker than it used to and that Sheila slotted Sanity Again through in quick time.

An Anglo Welsh we crossed with warned us that the pound between locks 2 and 3 had been very low last night when they came up. It being my turn to steer today, Sheila went ahead and found that, although the long pound between 1 and 2 was ok, the next one down was so low that the boat waiting to come up, Minuet, was stuck in 3. Her lockwheeler was running water down through 2. By the time that they had refilled the lower pound to their satisfaction, it was hard keeping Sanity Again afloat above the lock.

It was frankly a bit irritating that the CRT staff who were around did not see it as their job to sort the levels out.

Finally, we managed to cross and get SA into 2. Skye was waiting below 3 and there was now ample water to proceed. Indeed, because all the locks were now with us, every weir was overflowing with the water we were bringing down. We didn't see another boat until we were coming out of 10, when I saw a guy running water through 11. He explained that the sheer bulk of water between 10 and 11 was defeating the side weir and threatening to flood the towpath. His own boat had come out of 12 and was up against the bottom gates of 11, quite unnecessarily, as he wasn't single handing and could easily have waited in 12 until 11 was ready.

As it was, some novice hirers turned 12 and came up, so now we had three boats between the locks. Fortunately, Sheila was well on form and managed to leave 11 and swing round past the other two into 12 without touching either boat or even the wing walls of either lock.

The weather continuing to be chilly with a threat of snow, we had mugs of soup as we progressed to Congleton Aqueduct, arriving at half twelve. It's now blowing and raining on and off, so we're very pleased to be tucked up snugly in the boat with the Squirrel warming us all up. I've checked under the engine boards one more time and dipped the fuel tank, which is half full.

We pass Heritage Boats tomorrow, our last chance to get fuel before the tunnel. We'll probably stop at Hall Green for the night, so that an average start should get us to Harecastle in time for the first southbound convoy.

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