Bramble Cuttings to Anne’s Bridge
A slight mist in the the cutting this morning gave it an ethereal feeling. But Tilly was more captured by the squirrels busily hoarding the acorns to take in the atmosphere. I’d just like to point out that Max can only stay here for two days, where as I can stay here as long as I like.
Surprisingly we weren’t kept awake by too much falling on the roof over night. Luckily any apples that fell missed us, however the roof had a good covering of leaves that needed sweeping off before we got going for the day. The apples were tantalisingly close, so Mick tried to pick some with the aid of the boat hook, sadly those that he dislodged just fell into the cut to gradually drift by.
We were soon below Big Lock and filling with water after dropping off rubbish at the recycling centre. A boat came past, but as we didn’t know how long it would take to fill the tank they carried on up without us. Big Lock had to be closed last week for them to mend paddles, this must have been what held Blackbird up, apparently tempers frayed when a boat seemed to try to queue jump. However today there were no queues and we soon got moored up to be able to go shopping. The fridge and freezer were just about empty and with only one apple and an onion we desperately needed to restock. So we filled four bags at Tescos and plan to have a delivery somewhere in the next few days.
The Middlewich Locks were manned again by volunteers. We had to wait for one boat to come down before we could start our journey up and swapped each lock passing a boat in each short pound. When we reached the top there was another hire boat waiting to go down with another boat pulling in behind. This boat was very familiar. I walked up to say hello to Pat and Roy AKA Mr and Mrs Blue Boat. Our paths have crossed over the last couple of years on the Huddersfield Narrow, Stainforth and Keadby, last winter up on the Macc a few times. They of course didn’t recognise us as we are no longer yellow. At first Pat thought we’d had Lillian repainted, but then the penny dropped that we were on a new boat. A quick chat and introduction before we were on our way again up to the junction.
Here is very familiar territory to us. The junction was quite quiet for a change. There was a boat treading water in front of Kings Lock who moved out of the way for Oleanna to come past, it turned out that it was Pablo who had been the caretaker at Bugsworth Basin last Christmas when we were there. It being a sunny afternoon there were plenty of people watching at the lock with pints in hand and the queue at the Fish and Chip shop had already started even though they weren’t open yet.
This next stretch is the one that we did most on our shareboat just after picking her up from Elton Moss. All very familiar, but something was missing. The swans! There used to be a huge mass of them in this next pound, a fence was erected to keep them off the road, but today not one! Well there was just one a short while further along. The Thai Restaurant at Rumps Lock is actually open now. The building was having scaffolding removed. Over the years we’ve seen most of the building reroofed and have various makeovers, reviews seem to be good for the food, I wonder if any boaters have eaten there?
On up past the new housing estates to Nice Lock. Lock 67 was more often than not our first (and last, nasty!) lock on picking NB Winding Down up from base. So it was time to introduce Oleanna to a lock. They seemed to get on well.
It was now getting late and did we want to risk reaching Wheelock and there be no room. The towpath opposite the old Carefree Cruising base is being upgraded and is closed, so we decided to push on further. The moorings all look rather sad on the off side and a static caravan sits where the office used to be. At the end of ‘Arties backyard’ now stands his new house/mansion, with circular lawn and upright swimming pool. All very smart, just let down by the overgrown surroundings.
We pulled in a bit of the way after the railway bridges and the line of mooring rings. We’ll sit the rain out in the morning before starting to make our way up the locks.
9 locks, 6.9 miles, 1 straight on, 1 last broad lock this year, 0 apples, 21th, 2 boxes wine, 1 blue boat, 1 caretaker, Lock 67! 2 introductions, 1 mansion, 7m circular lawn, 1 sad old base, 1 wild mooring, 4th sock started.