Well, I didn’t get very far. I left during a gap in the rain, which had been chucking it down most of the night, to go to the service point to fill with water and have a shower, after which the rain started again and went on until 3pm. I had stripped the bed in the meantime and then headed for the launderette, only to find that they closed at 3pm, so I returned and remade the bed for the night. At the chandlery, I discovered that my leaking Houdini hatch (yes it still leaks, after 3 tries with silicon), might be fixed with ‘Capt. Tolley’s Leaking Crack Cure.’ So if you have a leaking crack, this might well be the answer!
I am now planning the rest of the trip as far as Runcorn, where I have booked a mooring for ten days at the Bridgewater Motor Boat Club, which again is a member of the AWCC. This is saving me a great deal on marina fees for moorings on this trip.
I pulled the pins the following morning, after the rain had finally stopped and after a more successful trip to the launderette. I Passed by Hurleston Junction, the start of the Llangollen Canal and Barbridge Junction, leading into the Middlewich Branch of the Shroppie. The locks after Barbridge were now double size and I passed through several in the company of a hire boat, who had four able bodied crew, but only three of them were willing to work the boat through, as well as being very slow in winding the paddles, so I seemed to do a lot of the work on the lockside, although they did open and close the gates behind me.
Inside Beeston Iron Lock. One boat at a time is recommended.
Even the wing walls are made of iron!
A herd of deer?
At Bunbury there is a two lock staircase, with another boat already rising in the top lock. I walked down to empty the lower one and was then chastised by the steerer for slowing down the filling of the top lock, because of leakage. He then went on to ask if I was coming up, to which the answer of course was, “No.” “Well, why are you emptying the bottom lock?” “Because the top one has to have somewhere to empty into, when I come down!” I replied. At which he shrugged his shoulders, as if I was mad and continued out of the lock. I was obvious that he did not understand the workings of staircase locks, but a good job someone on his crew did, or did it just all happen by chance?
There are two locks at Beeston, one of which is iron lined, because it is built on unstable moving sand. The only other one I know of is on the Upper Avon, so there are not many of them about.
I eventually spotted a reasonable mooring at Tattenhall, close to the new marina. There was a pub marked on the map, but it was boarded up, so I asked a local boater’s advice and he directed me into Tattenhall village, which was 1.5 miles walk away. There was also a Thai restaurant in a pub, which tempted me and I have to say that it was good food and very good value for £9.95 for as much as you can eat. I struck lucky, because the offer is only on at the weekend.
I was now on a mission to find this Creeping Crack Cure and fortunately, they had one only in the marina chandlery. I spent the rest of the morning cutting away the old sealant and trickling in the new one, which has to be built up gradually. I moved off and had a very pleasant, but slow cruise in the sun past a very long line of moored boats, until I reached Rowton bridge and The Cheshire Cat, where there were un-crowded and good moorings close by.
A interesting living boundary.