Tuesday 1st March
An early start to make the most of the fine weather. We were cruising before 9:00 and it was about an hour to get to Whitchurch. A couple of lift bridges were successfully negotiated and we moored up about a mile from the town. Having cycled along the tow path we found we could have moored closer to the town on the Whitchurch arm visitor mooring. The Whitchurch arm did continue to the town centre but was abandoned in 1944 and subsequently filled in. A short section has been restored and there is plan to link it again to the town when the finance is forthcoming. We cycled down the route of the old canal and eventually found ourselves it the picturest town centre. The local chemist had a supply of lateral flow test kit so a couple more were collected to add to the stockpile.
Having cycled round the town we had time for a shared cake and coffee before returning to the boat. We negotiated the swing bridge and moored for lunch before the locks and water point. After lunch we filled with water then helped another boated on a Canaltme hire boat. They had been supplied with a very smart roll flat hose but had not been given a suitable connector to attach it to the water point. The first of the locks we had to negotiate was the Grindley Brook staircase locks. This was a set of 3 locks. We had wait for a boat to ascend by which time we were the head of the queue of four boar waiting to descend. Having gone through the locks the process was straight forward.
The other boaters helped with the lock and an “experience single handed boater “ took charge. Even trying to hurry Lyn up as she drove single handed into her first lock.
During more busy periods of the year a lock keeper is on hand to oversee the process.
Ensure the middle lock chamber is filled to the line and is approximately half full of water, fill the top chamber and empty the bottom lock. The first boat can then enter the top chamber and then start descending as per the normal process when you are in a lock. The boat the goes into the middle chamber to descend again to the bottom level. The other boat can then follow the first boat down the lock. In busy period they allow 3 boats to go down followed by 3 boats up and they can be a wait of around 3 hours to get though the flight.
There were then another 3 single locks to go through to complete the descent.
The weather was crisp and clear and a good day for cruising. We continued to about 17:40 going through another 3 locks. We moored for the night in the country side at Bickley Moss around an hours cruising from Wrenbury. We had a good Internet connection so were able to join the regular Tuesday Skype call. After which a dinner of stir fried beef the chili and garlic sauce followed by fresh pancakes. How many other hire boated would have brought tee own Crepe pan? The batter worked well despite having to estimate the ingredients as we had no scales or measure.