We left the Marina the next day and moored up at Westport lake for the weekend.
As it was so nice we thought we'd try our new purchase out......A small foldaway BBQ.......well, after burning the top of our new table and then red hot charcoal spitting out onto the tinder dry grass which started to smoulder it was decided that we'll extinguish the BBQ due to safety reasons and the fact that on lookers thought I was doing some kind of crazy rain dance when I was only stamping on the smouldering charcoal...... I can see the local headlines.....Crazy boater sets fire to the grounds around Westport Lake....ho hum!!!!
Up early and onwards to Harecastle tunnel (2926yds long) which I was not looking forward too....I really do not like the tunnels maybe it's because they are so small and I feel claustrophobic??! but in we go following 4 other boats. Going last is good because I can go at my own pace and not worry about anybody behind......it's so hard to steer the boat when you have jelly legs!!!!!
|The southern end.....|
|Almost 3000 yards later, the northern end,|
Look at the colour of the water? YUK!!
Out of the tunnel and we soon pass the junction of the Macclesfield canal.
|The Maccy is through the narrow bridge on the right.|
We leave Rode Heath very early the next day to make our way to Church Minshull to meet up with Dennis and Ann (A.K.A. Lord and Lady Malakas) owners of NB Emily.
Getting to Nantwich we have to get through a heavy stretch of locks this is often called "heartbreak hill". It's at this point after 4 1/2 months Suzie decides that she will take over on the tiller and I can do the leg/lock work. I have to point out that this is pure coincidence that Suzie has come to this decision and that I do 22 locks in 1 day (this is defo our record)!!!!!!!
|Going down nice and slowly|
|Another successful lock done,|
Well done Suzie
Anyways, hard as it is to believe, it was a coincidence as Suzie was unaware of what laid ahead and to be honest it was great seeing her on the tiller going in and out of locks and her gaining more and more confidence.
On the way we pass Malkins Golf Course which advertises breakfast so we moor up in a pound (the space between locks for those that don't know) and in we go at 09:30....."are you still serving breakfast" I asked......"ummmm we start around 10:30" the blokey behind the bar says.... "hmmmm....okay no problem, we are in no rush" so we sit on the terrace and wait and well worth the wait too....if you pass here do stop (between locks 62 and 63) as it was a scrummy breakfast set in beautiful surroundings and great value too at £7:85 for 2 breakfasts and 2 coffee's.
We make good progress and I am enjoying doing the locks although when it's raining I'm not so sure I'll feel the same.... We arrive at Middlewich and moor for the night.
|I've got to turn left, very tight and with a boat coming at me 2 boats moored|
on my right AND another boat coming out from the left!!!
This branch is reknowned for it's wildlife and we were very fortunate to see a river dolphin.....very very rare and known only to exist on this stretch of canal.
|A bit blurry as I had to be quick!|
After a few drinks we walk to the Badger Inn for a meal...."lets do a short cut" I say. "I have a new phone with maps and all, we can follow the map".......what the phone didn't show is an overgrown footpath covered with thorns and nettles and said footpath meanders (is this the right word?) at the edge of a 100ft sheer drop......The girls were not impressed with me!!! needless to say we walked back via the road!
|Our view overlooking Church Minshull....stunning!|
|More or less the same view the next morning|
|Lord and Lady Malakas with Suzie aboard NB Emily|
We both left the next day, Denis and Ann back to Nantwich and us to moor up at Barbridge Junction where we meet up with Suzie's Brother-in-law Steve. It's a flying visit as Steve is on his way to Germany to see Kiri his wife.
|Steve with Suzie and a spider crab!|
|As you can see, Steve loves his dogs Phyllis and Karla|
|I've just told Steve I will be watching the Grand Prix |
and does he want to watch it too?
It was great seeing Steve and after a few beers we visit the pub.....again (It does seem that our lives revolve round visits to the pub......maybe it's true?)
Next day Steve and I watch the F1 Grand Prix (well done Lewis) and then we say our goodbyes and Steve makes his way to Dover and we make our way to the pub.......again!!!
We leave Barbridge Junction and make our way into Nantwich where we meet up with Denis and Ann again. This time we have a Indian curry as they read about our sorry tale in Stoke. I wasn't disappointed this time! The Red Melon......lovely Indian restaurant, lovely food....10 out of 10! Then next door to The Black Lion for the pub quiz. Denis and Ann's "team name" in the quiz is The Malakas' and they are fondly known as Lord and Lady Malakas........it's a Greek word which roughly translates into English as "a nice person, a friend, a mate"....where we would say "hi mate" when meeting someone we know, the Greeks would say "malakas"....that's what they told us anyway (I must Google it)! We do the quiz and come a respectable 4-5th out of 9+ teams. At this point I must add that had I'd been lisened to, we would have got 2 more points and come 3rd!.....tis only a game and was a great night, brilliant fun as Suzie grabbed the mike and gave us a burst of something she called singing during the quiz.......we are now barred from The Black Lion!!!
What will happen next..........???
Since the last blog we've done 31 miles, 35 locks.
This gives a grand total of 223 miles 100 yards, 164 locks and 7 tunnels (tunnels over 1000yds only).