Sunday, August 14, 2016

Back onto the Trent & Mersey

Friday morning saw us heading into Lymm, with stops for water and Elsan on the way. We had to wait a while for water. Another boat had beaten us to it, and the flow from the tap wasn't best. The crew of the other boat had found a lay-by café van at the side of the nearby main road, and were filling their faces with the hugest breakfast baps I'd ever seen. I walked up behind one of them, and asked him how long he thought they'd be, unaware of the fact that he was eating. When he turned around, he simply couldn't speak because of the bap.

“It's OK,” I said, “we're in no hurry.”

We moored in Lymm, not intending to be long. We needed a few things from Sainsbury's there, and would look for some DVDs in the charity shops. TV at the moment seems to be all Olympics, Proms and repeats. 

The shopping took us longer than we'd anticipated, so we had lunch at the San Fairy Ann narrowboat café before continuing our journey.

Most excellent ham, cheese and tomato toasted sandwiches, chased by first-class cappuccino and tea. Fare which matches easily that served at Braunston's Gongoozlers' Rest.

It was very windy all day long, becoming particularly gusty mid to late afternoon. So we got blown down past Grappenhall and Thelwell, Stockton Heath, Moore and Preston Brook. There were far more boats about today, the GRP cruisers finding the wind rather hard going. Grace was now enjoying this rather more varied and interesting stretch of the Bridgewater Canal, having largely disliked it before.

Surely, moored boats CAN'T slow down!

At Preston Brook Tunnel, we joined NB On Reflection whom we'd met back at Plank Lane. They were waiting to go through, and we joined the queue behind them. The skipper's an interesting guy, having cruised a lot of the UK system, including the Ribble Link and Lancaster Canal - which I think we might well travel, now he's put our mind at rest about the rather scary-looking River Ribble! He and his wife live in an old lock-keeper's cottage that they bought at auction. It needed a lot of work doing to it, but they love it.

We had half an hour to wait for our allotted time for passage through the tunnel. Two boats emerged from the opposite direction in the last ten minutes, then through we went.
There's a shallow stop-lock at the other end that's a bit of a mystery. It's wider than a single lock, but too narrow for two boats to go in together. Very odd!

At this point, we were back on the Trent and Mersey Canal, leaving the Bridgewater behind. We hadn't been chased by Peelers, or stopped and fined. Grace breathed a sigh of relief.

After a search for good mooring at the end of the day, and after a couple of failures where the bank was too rocky or the water too shallow, we tied up in Dutton, between bridges 212 and 211.

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