It’s Busy Out There. 22nd March

Calverley Bridge to not quite Cholmondeston Winding Hole

The sun shone into the boat this morning, a proper spring day. Tilly found a spot on the sofa to recharge her solar and benefit from the warmth from the stove at the same time whilst we had breakfast and made ready to set off, our current plan still to head northwards.

One warm cat

I stayed at the bow after pushing off and waved to Mick at the helm. Three fishermen had set up, naturally spaced out along the towpath, a good social distance apart. We all said hello and chatted away, they hoped we’d stir up the bottom which might encourage the fish. We said we’d be back in a short while so could do a touch more stirring up for them.

Oleanna’s still smiling despite everything

Two chaps walked the towpath dodging the muddy spots. We were jokingly accused of stock piling coal, six bags isn’t much, it’ll last us a couple of weeks maybe a little more if the weather warms up.

We winded above Bunbury and returned past the fishermen and pulled in at Calverley services. Here we topped up with water, emptied the yellow water, kept our distance from a family loading up their boat, disposed of rubbish, watered the plants. Mick had a glove on one hand, this was the only hand that touched anything on land. Gloves, we’ve decided, are there to help us remember not to touch our faces, the boat if possible and as soon as finished with, to wash our hands.


By now the canal was busy, the busiest we’ve seen it in months. A steady stream of boats came towards us as we headed to Barbridge Junction. As we approached the Branch I stood at the bow as advance lookout, nobody was coming so we turned in without incident.

Slowly past all the moored boats, back on very familiar water. The new, to us, water point above Cholmondeston Lock had a prime visitor mooring by it. If moored the right way round our hose would reach the tap without having to move. But we carried on to the lock, preferring to get further away from the railway and the pack of dogs barking at someone’s house.

A chap appeared at the lock, it was in our favour and he waved us on opening up the top gate for us. I left him to close the gate and I lifted the bottom paddles to empty the lock. They were out from the marina to enjoy the sunshine, I think a lot of others were too.

Venitian Marina

Venetian Marina café had a window open to serve take away bacon butties, the smell was enticing. We pootled along to find a space with a view planning to stop short of the picnic benches so our solar panels could be put to work.

I could see quite a distance, a zoom in with the camera showed there were at least two boats at the barbeque mooring and boats were moored at regular intervals along the towpath. It’s a popular mooring but we hadn’t expected it to be so busy.

Some folk on their boats chatted away, others kept their heads down so as to have no social contact, others coughed!

We pulled in leaving a boat length in front and behind us, this would do us for today.


Whilst Tilly explored the fields and trotted off down the towpath to find better trees we settled down inside. I suspect today would have been the first afternoon to get the chairs out on the towpath, but with quite a few walkers about we decided against it.


Instead Mrs Brown, the film, had our attention. A roast chicken was popped in the oven and we scanned the news and social media. We thought it was busy round here, but on the whole everyone was able to keep their distances.


However at the coast crowds filled the beaches, Scarborough was full and the A64 almost as busy as it would normally be on a bank holiday weekend by all accounts. Maybe people thought it’s a lovely day, lets have one last day together before we can’t for a while. I understand the sentiment, but REALLY!!!


1 lock, 5.04 miles, 1 wind, 1 full water tank, 1 empty wee tank, 3 gloves, 1 left, 3 fishermen, 12 boats, 1 family picnic, 4 hours, 1 extra hour taken! 1 cat too busy to come home, 1 roast chicken, 20 handwashes, 1 bottle of Milton, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval, 56748 enjoying the sun together!