Water Under Our Bow. 25th January

Grindley Brook to Quoisley Bridge 25

Waiting for the staircase   ©2018 Leckenby
Time to push off, first of all backwards! Well the water tank needed topping up. Once the tanks were done we pushed back off and headed forwards.
A Lock Keeper   ©2018 Leckenby
Up at the staircase there were a couple of C&RT chaps busying themselves, one with a very noisy leaf blower the other was emptying the chambers trying to clear the build up of detritus in them. He signalled to fill the top lock the bottom gates slightly ajar. Usually the rising water pushes the gates closed, but this didn’t seem to be happening, a six inch gap still between them, so I dropped the paddle with the hope of freeing what ever was causing it. We tried opening and closing the gates, but it wouldn’t shift, the Lockie kept indicating to open the paddles, so we did. Gradually the gates made an effort to close, but it was painful to watch. Apparently the collar around one of the gates is ever so tight and the gate will only close with a lot of water pressure. This might explain why we’ve seen the Lockie on several occasions filling the top chamber and leaving a paddle up to keep the pressure on the gates.
Leaving the long pound   ©2018 Leckenby

At 11.30 Mick brought Oleanna into the top chamber and we started to work our way down the staircase leaving the Ellesmere pound that we’ve been in for almost three weeks. The Lockie helped work one side of the staircase and offered to close it up after us so that I could walk on to open up the next lock in the flight. The next three locks got us back into the swing of things, Mick closing the gate behind him and lifting a paddle whilst I went ahead to set the next lock.

Byebye Grindley Brook   ©2018 Leckenby

Over the last few weeks we’ve often wondered if the flow on the canal had been slowed, today there was no suggestion of this as all the bywashes were brimming full. Despite these Mick managed to stop Oleanna in the mouth of each lock to push the off side gate closed with the boat hook, saving me a walk round the lock.

Good to be moving again    ©2018 Leckenby
Stinky!!!     ©2018 Leckenby
Below Grindley Brook it was good to be moving again with blue in the sky. However the smell of the countryside hit us, assisted by a farmer spreading muck in his fields.
Fuzzy Lambs   ©2018 Leckenby
A short distance on there were more signs of spring on it’s way. As we pootled along we could hear bleating. Behind the hedge we could just make out the shapes of lambs in the fields. None of them gave us a display of bedoyinginess but all seemed to answer to my bleating back at them.
Daisy ©2018 Leckenby
Moving boats two of them!    ©2018 Leckenby
In between the stones of Povey’s Lock a solitary daisy was searching for the sun which was obliging us with it’s presence. Sat by the lock was a pile of railings waiting to be erected for the forthcoming closure in February. Mick here had great difficulty in closing the bottom gate, in fact he couldn’t.
Just as I was setting off to walk round, up ahead the bow of a boat appeared followed by another, Bingo we could leave the gates open! It was two Viking Afloat hire boats that looked like they had been for a repaint and were returning to base piloted by their staff who were not hanging about!
Willey Moors Lock    ©2018 Leckenby
After Willey Moors Lock we decided that we’d stop for lunch, maybe even for the day after the next lock. The A49 runs close to the canal, so we’d carry on until it headed away from us. By the time we’d descended Quoisley Lock the wind was picking up and a very black cloud was gaining on us. A handy 48hr mooring appeared and we pulled in just as the heavens opened. Sadly by the time we’d fought with the wind and got the pram cover up  we had both got a touch wet.
This however didn’t stop Tilly once the door was opened up. There being more trees and friendly cover here she has been kept amused for most of the afternoon.
Our timings to reach the closed lock were looking good and we’d just decided to stay in Wrenbury tomorrow night (so we can get a Saturday paper) when a C&RT notice dropped into our inbox. The stoppage at Halls Lane Bridge 12 (which was due to open tomorrow too) has had to be extended by five days to complete the works! So we shall saunter towards Wrenbury and hope that should we need more water that the hire base there will look kindly on us. Hopefully we’ll be on our way again on Wednesday and do our best to reach Chester as quickly as we can as a friend of ours is there next week on tour with a show. Fingers crossed for no ice.
9 locks, 2.82 miles, 1 Lockie, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 0 leaves on trees, 23 lambs, 1 daisy, 2 boats moving, 2 damp boaters, 1 happy cat, 5 days extension, 1 vintage episode of Coronation Street, 0 map possible! Grrrrr!!!

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