Tick Tock, Tick Tock, oops! 9th May

Moorefield Bridge 6 to Dutton Breach Moorings, Trent and Mersey Canal

Who ordered this rain?! We certainly didn’t, oh well not far to go today, but we did have to move.

A balcony for all that secret food

We snook past Daresbury, nobody taking advantage of the inclement weather on the balcony to eat their secret scones. My drawing board came out, but I only managed to draw a couple of cart wheels before we reached Waters Meeting. Here the Runcorn Branch of the Bridgewater heads off to the west and the main canal continues to Preston Brook tunnel where it ends. The busy M56 crosses overhead at the junction and heralded our arrival at Midland Chandlers.

We pulled in on the mooring and squelched our way into the shop. Our mooring pins have served us well through the last five years, but many of the rings on them have cracked or even snapped off and several are now quite bent. Time for a couple of new ones. A new bottle of Fertan and a spare key to open the water cap as we have had a spate of them jumping overboard recently.

As we paid I looked up at the clock 12:15. The next window to get through Preston Brook Tunnel was in 15 minutes, could we make it in time? Or would we have to wait another hour? We quickly pushed off and made our way towards the tunnel portal, we reckoned we’d just make it for the ten minute window to head south.

Claymoore Boats base

Claymoore Boats went out of business earlier this year and the gap where their fleet once moored is very obvious. It’s as if the boats just evaporated, very sad.

Going in and off the Bridgewater

A boat came towards us slowing our progress, would we be in time? Yes, we arrived at the north portal well within the ten minute window, our bow entered the tunnel at 12:32, Phew! We believe it’s a short distance into the tunnel where the boundary is between the Bridgewater Canal and the Trent and Mersey Canal. At last we had left Peel Holdings water.

Fifteen minutes of tunnel

Oleanna in Tunnel mode, life jackets on and the big torch shining up at the roof of the tunnel we made our way through, popping back out into daylight fifteen minutes later where several boats were moored waiting for the north bound ten minute window. As nothing was following us we let the chap at the front of the queue know so that he could get ready.

Familiar numbers on a Trent and Mersey Lock

A lock! Well sort of a lock, we’d even forgotten to get a windlass out for it. As we approached Dutton Stop Lock a boat was coming towards us. The level in the lock was in between, so I went to set the lock for them, lifting a paddle to top it up by an inch (it’s only about 2 inches deep). A Diamond Resorts boat, a lady came to help leaving the rest of the crew with the boat. She waved them on, they waited, we opened the gate, she waved them through again. ‘Oh is it for us?’ Err yes! At first it looked like they were about to bow haul their boat which made me wish I’d set the lock for us instead.

Our turn

Eventually the boat was in the lock. The lady lifted the bottom paddle slowly, not wanting to cill their boat! You could tell that they were all having a Great time! Bickering at every opportunity, the lady had suggested as much. As they picked up the last crew member, I said ‘Enjoy!’I wonder how long they will all be on board for. A small space with four grumpy people doesn’t make for a happy holiday.

Quite a view

We pootled onwards in the constant rain to the Dutton Breach site. Here more rings have been added to the original few where the view is the best. Only two boats moored up today so we managed to get in pole position, on the line of the breach.

Tilly admiring the view

From here the view should be great across the valley to Dutton Railway Viaduct, it is, just a shame that a hawthorn hedge has been planted so there’s no view from inside your cabin anymore.

The box is getting fuller

After lunch we dried off, I put a pot of bolognese on the stove top to cook away and fill the boat with tasty smells. Then I did more drawings and made model bits and pieces, the box is getting quite full now. It’ll soon be time to put it all in the model box and see if it all works together and what things I want to change.

Just going to check out My boat

Tilly did her Cheshire Cat bit, having a good nosy up and down the towpath. I even have my own boat here this time. I promise I didn’t go on board.

I demand more Dreamies for not standing on your plans today with my wet paws

1 lock, 4.84 miles, 1163m of tunnel, 3 mysterons, 2 foot prints, 2 new spikes, 1 key, 1 bottle fertan, 1 Happy boat! 2 waiting, 50 minutes more like 1 day, 2 barrows, 1 nick, 3 candelabra, 1 Cheshire Cat, 1 assistant wanting a raise in Dreamies, 3 very noisy peacocks.