|Finally into Hack Green Locks after a delay.|
We probably should have learnt from yesterday! The canals around here are very popular at peak season, as the unprecedented (for us) queuing for locks proved. So when a string of south-bound boats passed us as we were having a leisurely start to the day, I guess we should not have been surprised when we did get going, and reached our first "Shroppie" locks, that several of those boats were all sat there waiting ahead of us. In fact we were only fourth in line, but I guess it still took in excess of an hour before we were through the two Hack Green locks that we might otherwise have worked through in a fraction of the time.
|Audlem locks - the "touristy" bit of them!|
This was all slightly worrying, because after this comes three lock flights, the first being that at Audlem, with fifteen locks. A massive new marina has been built near Audlem in recent years, and I had images of boats turning out from there to augment the queue we had already seen. In practice quite the reverse happened, as the boats we had been following dropped out one by one, and we went almost immediately into the lock at the bottom of the rather lovely Audlem flight.
Cath had already decided she would head off for some shopping, so David was asked to turn out to work locks. When David is working locks, I find I have to go up a gear, and be a bit more attentive! If he is not held up by others, it all happens rather quickly. Gates shut, and three paddles straight up before you know it! (Where the locks retain a third paddle at the top end, in the middle of the gate, they fill very much faster than those where it had been removed as part of gate replacements).
|David carries freshly purchased scones back to Chalice.|
I really enjoyed this flight, which we positively rushed up, even after Cath took over lock duties from David, (I have to actively adjust to Cath's rather less manic pace, though!). What a pleasure to get a move on after a whole heap of delays at various locks before these. I didn't time it, but without any rushing, and a fair amount of waiting for people coming down the flight, I'm sure we probably bettered two hours for the 15 locks, including the purchase of some excellent scones from a lady at the top of the flight.
|Climbing Adderley Locks.|
Could it possibly carry on ? Well, yes it could! We also found no queues at the five Adderley locks, and despite a top gate that Cath was unable to close without help from another crew, I think we did the 5 locks in around 45 minutes, with most set against us.
|Rock cutting and bottom lock at Tyrley.|
I'm not averse to a bit of delay - it can be quite fun chatting to others also waiting, but I am not a fan of long delays! Once the early delays were out of the way, what a delight today was. Our third lock flight was Tyrley, and again we just went more or less straight up it, this time probably under 40 minutes or 5 locks. Only 2 of the 27 locks today, (the first) involved a lot of waiting, and I thoroughly enjoyed working the remainder quickly and efficiently.
|Attractive buildings at Tyrley Top - last lock of the day.|
Uphill, these are not always the easiest of locks, as very strong by-wash weirs discharge across the lower mouth of them at varying angles, ready to push the unwary into the lock apron or wall on the opposing side - you do need to come in at a bit of a lick, but of course it could all then be a bit more dramatic if you do misjudge it!.
|Cuttings hewn from solid rock are a regular feature of the "Shroppie".|
|View from bridge returning from Wharf Tavern|
We decided to push on a few more miles, and try for a pub meal at the rather remote Wharf Tavern at Goldstone Wharf, near Cheswardine. Good beer, and an excellent meal gave us a good end to an ultimately very rewarding day.
Nantwich Embankment to Goldstone Wharf near Cheswardine
Miles: 15.7, Locks: 27
Total Miles: 230.2, Total Locks: 180