Friday, 15 September 2017

Once more into the tunnel, dear friends

The plan for this cruise is to put in some long (for us) days at the start, so as to get back in ten days rather than our usual two weeks. Accordingly, we’ve come from Congleton to Westport Lake without stopping at Hall Green as we would normally. Admittedly, we’d usually go on to Etruria, but this is a better place for exercising Sally.

So we got away at half eight, Sheila steering as the rest of us got ourselves sorted out. It was a fine morning, though cold after a chilly night. Sheila was on fine form, making it through the tricky multiple bridges by the Queen’s Head without touching the sides of the bent towpath. At Hall Green, we found Andy Grindrod, former Braidbar fitter, watering his boat Northern Soul. He’s gone freelance now and is available over a wide area for fitting and maintenance work, the quality of which can be seen in various areas of Sanity Again. He’s on 07709 166240 if you're interested.

Sheila’s form continued for the turns in the flyover approach to Hardings Wood Junction and round the junction itself. We had to hang around at the tunnel for a bit as a small GRP cruiser had been sent in ahead of us. Being powered by a petrol outboard, the rules require it to be given a ten to fifteen minute start to ensure that the exhaust has been drawn away by the fans at the southern portal.

The three other boats then went in with us as tail-end Charlie. This was a bit of bad luck as the boat in front of us was Elk, smoking away like fury. To be fair, it is 72 years old, but poor Sheila emerged from the other end feeling kippered and slightly sick. The low section in the middle had been a severe trial – she’d had to drop to tickover as she just couldn't see where she was going. I think she’d rather have taken her chances with the petrol fumes.

Meanwhile, Elanor stayed out on the front, Sally keeping her company for some of the time whilst trying to persuade her to come below. It being midday, I did the washing up and then ate lunch. Forty minutes later, we were heading for Westport where we found plenty of room, though it’s now filled up pretty completely.

We’ve had a walk round the lake, accompanied by a frankly reluctant Sally who clearly felt that after all the stress of the tunnel she should be allowed to stay behind and sleep. Once she gave up on the protest, she fairly shot round in order to get home again as soon as possible. When we got back, we found Saunter Together tied not far in front of us, just the other side of the Candy Boat, indeed, and had a quick catch up with them before the rain came on.

Tomorrow, a more usual day, down Stoke and on to Barlaston.

Location:Westport Lake

1 comment:

Jo said...

Good to know all is going well. Fun reading the blog as usual and following you in my mind's eye.