Sunday, 10 June 2018

And on to Dunham

Another good night, if a bit warm, and an early awakening, so another early start, not long after seven. We'd had breakfast, so Sheila settled down to steer whilst I made the drinks. We had about eight miles to do, but needed to stop to water at the Old Number 3 and there were a lot of moored boats to pass. They are as much a feature of this canal as of the Shroppie but with the consolation that it's not necessary to slow right down to pass them.

The canal is so wide and deep, even at 3 mph only really badly tied boats are moved by our passage. Some of the Bridgewater locals don't even slow that much. It's deep enough that at 1200 rpm we were making 4 mph over the ground. I won't repeat Michael Pearson's awful joke about the fact that the oldest commercial canal in the country is so deep. All right, I will then. As Cat Stevens sang, the first cut is the deepest.

Ouch. There wasn't a lot for me to do bar sit out in the well deck with a radio in my lap for the occasional warning of an approaching boat. We chugged through Lymm, last visited in 2013 I see from the blog, and so on to the water point which was vacant. It's a half decent pressure, giving us time to make and drink a coffee before the tank was full.

Off we went again, through the other Bollington, site of another breach that took, if I remember rightly, a few years to repair. There's still a narrowing in the channel there and Sheila had to hold back to let a couple of boats through. In theory there's enough room for two narrowboats to pass, but the offside has become overgrown and Sheila didn't fancy "going berrying" as the old boaters called it.

We went past the moorings for Dunham Massey house and park and stopped just before Dunham Town Bridge along with a good few others. Not much more was done before lunch or immediately after, but at two we summoned our energy and set off to take a walk in the sun to Dunham village, where the Pearson's said there was a Farm Shop near the Axe and Cleaver pub.

We found it all right. It's definitely a farm shop, nothing like the fancy ones at Willington or Great Haywood. This one sells locally grown produce from a basic room, part of one of the barns. I bought some tomatoes to have with salad tonight, some beef stir-fry strips and some lean mince, ready frozen.

Having walked up from the Town Bridge, we carried on down the road to the School Bridge and so back along the towpath. We were glad to get back to the shade of the boat. All the hatches are open behind their new fly screens as are the bow and stern doors, giving a welcome breeze through the boat. Meanwhile, all the other boats have gone – presumably they were only out for the day or weekend, poor souls.

Tomorrow is set to be a bit cooler, just as well as we have another long morning's boating through to Worsley, a distance of about 12 miles from here, so probably four hours cruising.

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