Avoiding Wet Pants. 19th June

Wheelock to Thurlwood Winding Hole (but not in it, we’re not red!)

More wettness this morning, but the sort that only gets you wet when you’re not looking. We have a schedule to keep to at the moment so today we had to move, which for the most part was dry, just one part that really really wasn’t!

By 11am we were ready, at least one boat had already passed us this morning, maybe our luck would be in that at the paired locks there would be one in our favour. Sadly that wasn’t to be.

New concrete

The landing has new concrete below Wheelock Bottom Lock dividing the traffic to the paired locks. Up above, the cottage looked as picturesque as ever, sitting alongside the pound, the sun just about out. We soon got into our rhythm, me emptying the locks, opening the gates, closing them behind Oleanna, lifting the paddles and then waiting for the bow of Oleanna to have raised over the top cil. A thumbs up and wave between Mick and myself confirming he’s happy for me to walk on ahead to start setting the next chamber, leaving him to open the gate, drop paddles, bring Oleanna out and close the gate behind.

Wheelock Bottom Lock

As Mick brought Oleanna into the second lock of the morning it had started to rain. I picked up my coat from him as he entered the lock, removed a layer so as not to overheat under my waterproof and worked Oleanna up.

He had a brolly I had a tree

A little bit of a walk to the next lock and by the time I got close it was heaving it down! I took refuge under a tree, sorted out my pockets and when Mick came alongside I handed him my bumbag with camera in it so that it could go inside. It took sometime for the rain to calm down to a steadier fall, we could stop and wait longer or carry on, carrying on got my vote.

As I wound the paddles up I could see the steam coming off the backs of cows in a nearby field after the rain. I wonder how long it would be before I started to steam.

Once a lock now a bywash

Every lock was against us, but the paddles were easy having recently been greased and the narrow lock gates light to move once the levels equalised. Some of the lock beams reach past the small lock bridges, I always push them open rather than pull using the bridge, just so I don’t get pushed over the edge or get squashed by the bridge railings. So on these locks I do what I call the Trent and Mersey hurdles, sit on the beam and swing my legs over onto the bridge to get to the other side. But right now all the beams were awash with water.

Shorts and muddy legs

Today I’d opted not to wear waterproof trousers and gone for shorts. This would mean getting a soggy bum and getting wet pants if I did the hurdles. So instead I opted to take more time and walk round the locks using the top gates, keeping safe and my underwear dry.

Mick following behind

At Malkins Bank Golf Club I could smell burgers being cooked and a sign advertised their chilled medication. We still had some more locks to do before we could have a break though, so we continued up the hill.

Woosnam not Wuhan chilled medication

Above Longcroft Lock was a boat that had passed us yesterday, most probably the reason for the locks being set against us all the way this morning. The crew appeared just as I reached the lock and busied themselves pushing off from the lock landing. Here sweat peas filled the offside hedge, what a pretty sight.


At Maddocks Lock they pulled away as I emptied the second chamber for us, they’d not seen a boat approaching from above so I walked round and pushed the gate back open.

Vaporised Pip

Then came Mick’s favourite lock along here Hassall Green Bottom Lock. You duck under the M6 and then rise not quite to the same height where you can watch the speeding traffic as you wait slowly to rise in the lock. The south bound traffic was slow and chaps wearing high-vis walked along the hard shoulder.


I prefer the single lock above, Hassall Green Top Lock 57. In years gone by there used to be a shop and maybe cafe here. On the side of the building a Heinz sign boasting 57 varieties. Sadly the sign went some time ago.

As the boat in front of us pulled out of the lock I enquired as to how much further they were heading today, just far enough to escape the noise from the M6. I hoped we’d pass them in that case. Coming towards us was NB Tad A Drift who had spent much of lockdown around Hurleston, I think they must have been moored above the locks and come past us to go shopping in Nantwich periodically.

Pierpoint Lock

A lunch stop was needed before carrying on so we made use of the rings above the lock for a short break before carrying on to Pierpoint locks 55 and 56. The on line moorings by Hill Farm Winding hole are now empty, maybe the new cow sheds don’t mix with boaters. We soon passed the boat ahead and then had a boat coming towards us, at last some empty locks.

So sunny on a grey day

The cottages above Thurlwood Lock always look pretty. The flowers in their gardens today despite being damp looked wonderful, a slightly yellower than normal daisy stood out and had to have it’s photo taken.

Rode Heath
Malkins Bank

One of the cottages on the towpath had a for sale sign. There had also been a cottage for sale at Malkins Bank. Interesting how much more an extra bedroom and pretty brickwork will cost you!

A lovely boat

Up one more lock into the long pound at Rode Heath where we moored up for the day. The soggy covers done back up and Tilly allowed to venture across into the trees away from all the woofer walkers.

Time for me to do my sign and take a photo for the #freelancersmaketheatrework campaign. Yesterday when I’d first come across this there had been 500 posts on Instagram, today it was over 1000. Actors, Directors, Wig Makers, Fight Directors, Writers, Costume Makers, Stage Managers, Riggers all sorts of people just wanting to be recognised as part of the industry and not be forgotten. Around about 200,000 people make up 70% of the UK theatre workforce.


People Powered was set up early on in Lockdown. A collective of freelancers from across the entertainment and live event industries came together to help the NHS and other frontline services after their work was stopped. They have been helping with deliveries, over 300 radios going into ITU’s, Wobble Rooms for NHS staff to relax in, structures have been erected creating more space for triage at hospitals.

Then there have been actors returning to medicine to help. We’ve all seen the costume makers busy making scrubs for the NHS, now making masks for one and all, I actually know a lighting designer who has dusted off his sewing machine to help too.

Theatre and event people are all good at solving problems, it’s part of why we do the jobs we do. So many have been turning their hands to where extra help has been needed. Others have been doing their best to keep their creative juices flowing, producing footage, radio dramas to keep people entertained when we all need it most. The entertainment industry has been working from behind closed doors for the last three months. As I say we’re good at solving problems, but right now there is one that we haven’t as yet got a solution for and that is a way to reopen theatres and venues and be able to do what we all do best, live entertainment, sharing the experience with others in one room.


14 locks, 3.63 miles, 1 down pour, 2 dry sets of pants, 17 steaming cows and 1 bull, 1 boat ahead, 3 empty locks, 2 hours shore leave, 2 many woofers, 1 soap box still, 1 of the 70%, 1 lovely widebeam still for sale.

Image may contain: sky and outdoor
It really is a lovely boat

1 thought on “Avoiding Wet Pants. 19th June

  1. woodburygardengirl

    Yes there was a cafe at Hassal Green locks, along with a little shop. We had a significant-birthday lunch there for Dave, sitting in the sun and watching the boats. Lovely! A little more than 10 years ago now.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.