Above Audlem Lock 14 to above Audlem Lock 3
The washing machine and dishwasher were put to use before we set off as we’d be filling up before going too far today. The chap on the plant boat behind us found me a very healthy looking Thyme plant to replace the sad looking one we’ve been transporting around the system for the last few months. My risottos will be flavoursome again.
The water point in our pound was being used so we made use of the empty lock to reach the one outside the Shroppie Fly. A boat appeared from the next lock and managed to squeeze itself in behind a boat that appeared to be moored on the lock landing. We then pulled out of the lock and straight onto the water point freeing up the lock for the descending boat. They were none too happy about the lock landing being occupied by a trading boat, setting up for the weekend.
Rubbish disposed off we had quite a wait for the tap to fill Oleannas water tank. Just as we were finishing a boat was starting to ascend the lock next to us, so we pushed off to take advantage of the next lock being in our favour.
Mick brought Oleanna into the lock past the fierce bywash which can pin a slow moving boat to the side. Once up there was a decision to make. Here is the last pound where you can moor before the next nine locks in the flight, my back had been twinging yesterday, so should we stop for the day, stop for lunch or carry on to the top. My back seemed to be behaving so we decided to carry on, with the hope that the locks ahead of us would be in our favour, meaning less work all round.
No kicking bottom gates open today, so there was an extra walk around each chamber. Mick would bring Oleanna in, I’d close the gates, open up the paddles and then when we were both happy I’d walk up to the next lock to open it ready. Once Oleannas lock was full, Mick would drop the paddles, bring her out and close the gate before moving on into the next chamber. This meant a lot of hanging around for me as every lock was in our favour, only two needed a paddle lifting to equalise the levels.
Coming out of lock 6 Oleanna got attracted by the weir too much, despite having been tied to a bollard. Mick tried to reverse her out of the situation, but being in the entrance of the lock didn’t help as there wasn’t enough room to swing the back round, if only our bow thruster worked! There was nothing for it but for Mick to step off and give her a good pull to straighten her up and try again.
Lock 3 has a fierce bywash and caught Mick by surprise. The water bubbles up from underneath some boards which make it not so obvious of the force. This resulted in a record breaking near five drawer incident in the galley. Nothing broken, just drawer runners straining under the weight.
Here we found ourselves a spot at the end of the 48 hour moorings, let Tilly out and settled down for a late lunch. Luckily we’d decided that it was too late in the day to hang the washing out as soon after the heavens opened. Another boat arrived an hour or so later up the flight, suspect they were a bit soggy.