Leek to Wood Top Bridge 40
Time to move on, after a trip to Morrisons to do the shopping I avoided yesterday. As we pushed off we were the last of the boats that had taken refuge here to leave, already having been replaced by another three boats.
As we came out of the tunnel we could see a hire boat that was stuck. One chap was pushing with all his mite on the pole and the other chap giving it full throttle, which was counter acting anything the pole was doing. Mick suggested that they should try to get off by going backwards, not just a bit but a long way, so we held beck to give them space. But they were stuck, so with one of their ropes wrapped round a dolly we tried to tow them off backwards. This needed some reverse from them before they were afloat again. We hung around to make sure that they were okay before we carried on.
A lot of leaves had come down in the storm, so the colours of the trees were a bit disappointing, maybe we’re just a little bit early too. We meandered our way back to Hazelhurst Junction slowly. At Bridge 1 I hopped off and went to set the first lock down towards Froghall. Here the two branches of the canal lie almost next to each other, so Mick held back until he could see that I was about to open the top gate. Then he swung Oleanna round the 180 degree turn to the right, under the smart bridge and into the lock.
With the three Hazelhurst locks close together I walked down to the next chamber to start filling it as Mick lifted a paddle to empty the one Oleanna was in and step back on board for me to return to open and close the gates. This meant that we were filling the next chamber with the water from the last one, with little if any water going round the bywash.
Now we were low enough to go right under the other branch that we’d just come off. From here we now started to go right even though we’d taken the left at the junction. Just as we were approaching the aqueduct, I’d just picked my camera up to take photos of it, when on the off side I could see the electric blue of a Kingfisher. It took too long to turn my camera on as Mick pointed out that there was not just one but two of them. The second one so close to us that I hadn’t originally seen it due to the cabin side. Three maybe four foot away at most! Just there!! And my camera was still turning itself on as they darted away. I’ve made a note of where they were sitting so that my camera will be powered up and ready should they be there when we return.
There were a couple of boats moored outside The Hollybush so we carried on to find a suitable mooring for the night as we didn’t really want to go down the next two locks today. Now surrounded by trees, we found a stretch where on one side we’d get some day light. Tilly could be heard inside counting the trees as we tried to pull in, but the bottom was too near to the top. A short distance further on we got into the side with ease and Tilly was allowed out to climb the trees she’d been shouting at through the bathroom window.
Today the temperature had dropped, we could see our breath at times and gloves will need digging out very soon. Very odd to think that just a few days ago we were in t-shirts. The forecast for the next few days suggests rain and high winds again at the weekend. So we hope to find a suitable mooring off the coming river section and away from big trees, however there may be no internet near Froghall.
3 locks, 4.06 miles, 1 wind, 1 tunnel, 1 pulling off, 1 over, 1 under, 180 degrees, 2 just SO close, 0 photos to prove it! 97 miles, 1 stove with 2 jackets baking, 23 trees shouted at, 19 climbed, 4 dry paws today.