Saturday 16th May
Anderton to Lymm
Hi, Richard here – I’m not often allowed on the blog or on the helm, but I did both today 🙂
We have given up on trying to get round the M25 on a Friday night – it’s far too congested and we were far too tired after a busy busy week for the 201 mile drive. We elected for another early start on a Saturday with me taking Herbie and Ollie up to the boat in my car. In the meantime, Sue did an East of England tour, dropping off jam and home-baked dog treats for a Greyhoundhomer fundraiser and doing a dog swap – Henry and Archie would stay on, but Ty and Sid (who’s got a very bad back) would go to Suffolk for some TLC. She eventually caught up with the boat late-afternoon.
The boat had been fine at Anderton, and it was good to see that the last few snagging works had been done, plus a neat bit of carpentry to put a shelf back up over our folding table. It has been frustrating to have so many snags, but hey, things can go wrong and we absolutely cannot fault the attitude of the boatyard at putting them right.
We have two outstanding issues, the first is that our Tecma toilet sometimes has water in it when the bowl should be dry, we suspect that the solenoid valve needs some TLC and de-gunking. The second is that the remote control for our Webasto is not working properly, we will troubleshoot this ourselves or find a Webasto expert.
I filled with water first at Anderton – there is good pressure at the water point and the newly re-arranged filler seems to be working well with no leaks. The new water tank gauge is great – it tells you how long you have to go and seems to have been calibrated spot on, or so we hope!
Setting off up the top end of the Trent & Mersey was a pleasure. It has some stunning sights – the canal is very scenic in places and you get great glimpses down to the Weaver e.g. at Acton. Obviously you go past the Anderton lift with its busy busy winding hole. The first tunnel is Barnton, this is the one that you can just see through if you get the angle right – it was a great place to check that all our horns are working – they do – fantastic in a confined space! The rear LED lights are good, they just give you enough light around the deck floor. They’re not as good as our stern light – but only because that stern light is on a magnet so it can be stuck on the inside and lights the tunnel soffit really well.
Saltersford Tunnel is crooked so it’s one-way with a timed entry – northbound you need to enter the tunnel between the hour and twenty past. Phew, I passed the sign at fifteen past the hour, quickly catching up with a boat which may well have gone through on the hour . . hope that they were not too startled by the horns going!
Dutton stop lock took longer then it should single-handed, mainly because I had positioned myself to go out the gate on the towpath side and then noticed that the bottom gates are asymmetric and the towpath-side gate looks a bit too narrow to get out through a single gate.
Preston Brook tunnel again is a timed tunnel (from the hour to ten past the hour going north), as I got there dead on the hour so just gingerly checked for late-comers, played with the horns again and went through at the usual sedate pace.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable day’s cruising – a perfect antidote to a tough week with the odd puzzle to keep the mind going. The best puzzle was the artwork on the side of nb Bide Your Time, it showed a trussed arch bridge and the name Joe Wright. So which bridge, who was Joe Wright? Photo below, answers on a post card please.
I had a pit stop for the hounds and a quick top-up at Midland Chandlers before going for it again. I still had still miles to go!
The Bridgewater is ok, a bit to straight and wide with not enough locks for me, but it is an efficient way of getting from A to B, especially when you’re single-handed. I met up with Sue at Stockton Heath, just by the London Bridge pub where we stopped last year. We did a quick offload of dogs – the canine boat crew was now up to full strength (Ollie and Herbie were joined by Henry and Archie), well the crew was almost complete, we still had a special guest to come….
Sue then sped off to Tescos whilst I gently and extremely sedately carried on to the Lymm to meet up with old friends Ken and Sue with their rescue dog Poppy. Poppy came cruising with us last year, when she was still a bit nervous about everything. Wow, what a transformation, Ken and Sue have done wonders to build her confidence and she seemed to enjoy her trip much more this year.
Ken and Sue got to Lymm a few minutes before me, so they had scouted out the best parking spot for cars and boats.This made for a smooth mooring and off-loading the cars. However, getting beds prepared for guests and dog walking all took time, so by the time we got to the Golden Fleece pub it was quite late. The pub was very busy but fortunately they were still doing food. We had been told that the pub was dog friendly, but when we got there we found that is wasn’t. This meant we had to sit outside – it was pretty chilly until the table under the heat lamp became available. The beer was good, but the food was just ok – to be honest, by the time we had the kerfuffle with whether dogs were allowed inside or not and having to move table three times, we weren’t impressed.
When we go back, Sue and Ken soon found that the dogs had other ideas about the guest bed being for (human) guests . . . .