|Downhill through Shardlow Lock, before coming back uphill through it.|
|Turning at Shardlow - Conversion to a pub has rather spoilt this iconic warehouse.|
Two things we knew we had coming today were....
1) Having to get back through both the locks that we grounded on the bottom of when coming the other way - the wide Aston lock, and the narrow Dallow or Dallow Lane lock, (it seems to carry both names).
2) Working uphill though locks that are 11 feet, or in one case over 12 feet deep.
|One of the deep uphill locks.|
First was Aston lock, where I reckoned I needed to go in hard under power. I reckoned the sludge itself would slow me and I was unlikely to strike the cill or gates hard at the far end. This proved to be right, and I forged in under far more power than would normally be wise. This one was out of the way quite easily.
None of the three big uphill locks presented any problems, but they don't half feel huge when you are at the bottom of them. The rather shallow looking top gates have large paddles in, covered by lifting flaps designed to deflect the water downwards to some extent, but not enough to avoid a full length boat in the lock. It is therefore necessary to wind only the ground paddles first, (which are actually quite mild and slow filling) then wait really quite a long while before you can start to open the gate paddles. We managed to open them small amounts long before they could be opened fully, and it certainly sped things up.
|Passing the newly restored "Pinner" - the same class of boat as "Flamingo"|
|Steerers view entering 12' 4" deep Stenson lock.|
On the way down I had spotted Shobnal Fields, a large area of parkland, playing fields, and with a mass of indoor and outdoor sporting facilities, and it had looked a good potential overnight stop. So it proved to be, we got easily to the side, and there are well designed rings, so mooring up was a doddle. The dogs absolutely loved it, and Max in particular ran around far more than I have seen him do in ages. Trying to keep them away from dozens of other dogs, or out of the several football matches in progress was a bit of a challenge to me, but it was really good to see them both so active.
Shardlow to Shobnall (Trent & Mersey Canal)
Miles 15.7, Locks:7
Total Miles both boats: 159.0, Total Locks both boats: 65