Rode Heath to Yew Tree Lock 44
First boat to go by this morning had a bow full of crew all wrapped up against the chilly damp morning. This was Tyseley the Mikron Boat heading south after having work done at Northwich Dry Dock, she was heading to Welford where this years cast will start their touring by boat. We doubt we’ll get to Welford or Crick in time this year but may get to see them further south.
My yarn order hadn’t been dispatched until Wednesday so we decided to wait until after 1pm to check if it had arrived. I spent the morning putting things in my Puss in Boots model box and making notes. This always brings up ideas, at least my list is only one side of A4.
After lunch the weather had improved, the sun back out. We walked up to the village store in the vain hope that my parcel would be there. The main man did his best to help, but if it wasn’t there it wasn’t there! Maybe tomorrow or Monday, we can at least give him a call.
We need to be making a move so one of us will come back when/if it actually arrives. I have a feeling there is a shelf in the warehouse where the special orders go, and so far nobody has seen to them. Just a shame no other company has this specific yarn.
Pushing off at 2:15pm we wanted to reach Red Bull today, we knew we’d not manage to get to Harecastle Tunnel in time before they shut. This would mean an early morning tomorrow to get through the tunnel and arrive at Etruria before midday. Why? Well you should never pass this way without replacing your gas bottles. In fact we’re doing our very best to arrive with two empty ones. The heating goes on to take the chill off, baking, extra slices of toast, jacket potatoes tonight all just to try to get the second bottle empty, it very nearly is.
We worked our way up the six locks close together, Mow Cop getting closer all the time. At Lawton Top Lock there are two sets of stone gate posts. The bridge over the bottom of the lock is flat and wider than the others. The three Lawton locks replaced a staircase of three, the gates must have lead to the area around the old locks. I haven’t managed to find an old map showing them, but around 1897 a Smithy is marked between where the locks are now and where they used to be.
Up Halls Lock, today considerably warmer than the first time we moored there on a hire boat twelve years ago, it snowed overnight and continued as we headed through Congleton. Today the hay in the fields was being turned.
Church Locks were a little congested. A single hander going up, a hire boat waiting to come down, us and a duck with her ducklings. She had decided that a good place to sit everybody was on top of the bywash, this resulted in several of them being swept over when the top lock emptied, her brood split in two.
NB Mellow is still on it’s mooring and the cows had brought themselves in to be milked. A nice mooring, just a bit pongy!
With each lock uphill the water got more and more orange, we’re getting closer to Harecastle. With one lock to go before Red Bull services I walked up to check on mooring space as we didn’t really want to go any further. Three boats were moored up, gaps at the ends, gaps between them. Nobody sharing rings. I paced out the gaps, Mick did the same later. Oleanna is 26 paces, the git gaps added up to two Oleannas. Yes a boat may have left, not sharing rings was the main culprit. We moored up below the lock and settled in for the evening.
The pound was low when we arrived, alleviated when boats came past, letting water down. But gradually we listed more and more. Mick emptied the two locks above, then went to check below. At lock 45 one of the chambers is out of action at the moment. A top paddle is missing and what was causing our problem was a bottom paddle just open a little bit. This most probably would have gradually drained the pound overnight. Mick closed it up, the level gradually rose back to where it should be.
8 locks, 2.09 miles, 147 photos, 87 of a model, A4 of notes, 0 parcel AGAIN!!!! 2 boats coming downhill, 1 going up, 73 cows, 1 smelly mooring, 4 git gaps, 1 cracked paddle, 2 locks of water, 1 boat afloat, 1 endless gas bottle, 0 things to knit!