Thursday, 14 April 2016

Through the tunnel to Congleton

As planned, we set off a bit before half seven this morning, arriving at Harecastle south portal at a quarter to eight. There was just one boat already there and at ten past we were allowed into the tunnel. Water levels were a bit down so no anxieties about headroom but a slow passage. It was particularly shallow after we passed the low roof sections; the northern end really could benefit from dredging.

In the end, we were around 45 minutes in the dark, still a load better than a group of American hirers who hadn't emerged after two hours. When the rescue boat went in to see what was wrong, they were discovered to be shooting some video...

I handed over to Sheila after we made the turn onto the Macc and produced coffees all round – the Nespresso machine, like the washing machine, can only be used when the engine is running.

The weather continued to be dull and cold, though little or no rain actually fell. By midday, we were approaching Congleton. Amazingly, there were no boats at all at Congleton Wharf, nor any at the aqueduct when we got here.

Lunch was taken and train times checked out for Elanor's journey back to pick up the car on Saturday. With only the Hall Green stop lock in today's trip, we all felt the need of some exercise, so we explored the Biddulph Valley Way, accessible from the far end of the embankment. This proved almost too enjoyable, as we walked rather further than we meant and are now a bit footsore. Sally, in particular, has curled up in a snoring bundle in front of the Squirrel, raising her head to glare at anyone who makes too much noise.

No lack of exercise tomorrow – it's Bosley.

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