Dutton to Lymm, Bridgewater
By the time we moved off this morning the pole positions at the breach site were clear of boats. We could have just nudged up and claimed it all for ourselves but we had places to go.
We arrived after the mile or so cruise at Dutton Stop Lock and waited our turn to go through the two inch drop. One boat in front of us paused at the entrance to the tunnel and then vanished. Our approach was at 9:50am, northbound passage is on the hour for ten minutes, so we tied up and got ourselves ready. One of the houses above the south portal is for sale, the sign says that it has a mooring too. It used to be the toll office for the tunnel and could be yours for a mere £595,000
. Once life jackets were on and the big torch at the ready there was two minutes to go, so we pushed off as there couldn’t be anything coming southbound otherwise the boat ahead would have had to reverse.
With Micks new torch pointing up at the roof we get to see so much more than we used to and with it being one way traffic we could have the beam on it’s brightest setting. At the centre of the tunnel the brickwork is replaced by concrete which makes the tunnel slightly wider. Looking up there was a huge shaft above our heads with just a chink of light coming in through a grill on the side. Sadly this doesn’t count as a mysteron as they have to cast a spot light onto the roof of the boat.
Through the tunnel we tied up at Midland Chandlers to pick up the Woodskin I’d had put aside. A good look round for anything else we might want, which luckily for the bank balance was nothing, then we were on our way again. Now on the Bridgewater Canal the clock is ticking. You are allowed seven days for free after that a fee is payable. But the canal is wide and deep, so you can go faster than on the Trent and Mersey. With no need or want to head into Manchester we will be through well within our time.
As soon as Daresbury Science Park came into view we both turned to each other and ‘Shhhhhh!’ Since 2012 when we first came past we have considered it to be a secret what they do in there, secret handshakes, secret milkshakes watching out over the world from the watch tower. It’s most probably very boring, but it might not be! A fighter jet flew over, they were keeping an eye on us.
We pulled over for some lunch and so that Mick could talk to his old work. Tom took over Mick’s job when he left in 2014 and to start with Mick was consulted quite frequently. But today is the first time in well over a year that Tom has requested assistance. They talked numbers and letters to do with telephone answerphones and caught up with lots of LTS news. Meanwhile I was trying to pay our letting agent some money for works being done on our house, this all ended up taking quite sometime and me being locked out of our bank account! But in the end it all got sorted and our bank balance shrank.
Onwards, we hoped that we might get through Lymm, fill with water and make it to near Dunham Massey for the night. But our extended lunch stop had put paid to that. Large houses flank the canal, one day we must have a walk around Higher Walton as it looks rather nice from the canal.As we rounded the bend at Grappenhall a group of kids clung onto the mesh fence of their schoolplaying fields and shouted ‘BEEP YOUR HORN’ So we did. ‘BEEP IT TWICE’ So we did. Their playing field is quite large and they just kept running along encouraging us. In the end they ran out of fence ‘BEEP IT SIX TIMES’ We’d beeped our horn enough.
As we pulled into Lymm there was quite a bit of space, most on the off side which wouldn’t be good for Tilly, but one space just big enough up near Sooty’s house. So we decided to call it a day. At first I wasn’t too keen on it here, lots of people walking by. But then I found Sooty’s garden and things looked up. Lots of suitable places for friends to be found. Here’s hoping she doesn’t go digging! I hear Sweep has a short fuse.
1 lock (if you can call it a lock), 12.46 miles, 1 tunnel, 3 mysterons, 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3 seconds early, 750ml Woodskin, 3 secret milkshakes, 1 voxbox conversation, 1 tank of petrol! 1 payment too many, 4 figures spent in one day, 12 kids, 8 BEEPS!!! 0 more, 1 Curry catch up, 2 carrots, 1 courgette, 0 portions of yucky fish and chips, 2 currys instead.