Saturday, 30 March 2013

Winter - Spring - Winter- just make up your mind

Sunday 24th March to Monday 25th March 2013

9 Miles, 12 Locks and 1 Swing Bridge

Totals: 1470 Miles, 1198 Locks, 47 Tunnels, 24 Lift Bridges, 97 Swing Bridges

The window of opportunity opened itself and we obliged – we should have however waited a little while to make sure that it didn’t close before we set off.

In what could be best described as a chilly day and at worst as outright bl____y freezing we headed off with a fair degree of determination to get to the top of the Bosley Locks, water up, and make for Gurnett’s Aquaduct (just short of Macclesfield).

That we made it in the end was because of that sheer and bloody-minded determination; that we attempted it in the cold and biting wind can be looked back on as a bit bloody stupid.

All four of us were freezing cold to the bone by the time we moored up – and that was despite the warm thermals and coats and everything else we could muster.

all rugged up and still not warm - but a warm smile

even the cows were starting to turn blue
To begin with it was a pleasant cruising day; wind was chilly and gusting but didn’t affect the boat handling.

The first 6 locks were a doddle – apart from the cold – close together so that the next lock could be set whilst the previous one was still filling and with Diane on board and me locking we worked well and efficiently.

Then almost without warning the cross-wind hit all of us – especially the boats – and getting across some pounds was diabolical – pushing off with poles when a lull appeared, only to be blown back onto the side – arching backs and a desire not to give up got us through.

For two of the pounds I decided to simply put on maximum revs – about 2300 – and roar out of the lock and get clear of the side before the wind had a chance – it worked but it was hard work to get it done.

After 2 and ½ hours we made it too the top; Dot and Gordon ahead of us on the water point were filling, so with no other boats around we simply filled our tank whilst in the lock – not the right thing to do but it didn’t cause any problems and gave us a clear run out of the lock instead of pushing off against the gale.

We were lucky to meet Alton the working boat as they were almost through the bridge and we were still short of it – would have loved to fill up with them but conditions were not anywhere good enough to do so.

Once in the shadow of the hill around Oak Grove we felt a lot better – no wind and normal cruising resumed – a last flurry just short of Sutton Wharf before we eventually moored up at the aqueduct – what a day !

We were so knackered that we could not be convinced to leave our chairs for a walk down the 25 steps to the Old King’s Head with Dot and Gordon – it was a reasonably early night for us both.

A brighter day on Monday showed itself and looked almost like true spring weather – looked like it from inside the boat; it was still chilly out but with reduced wind.

It was actually quite warm to walk as we found out when walking into and back from the town centre – a chance to have a look around Macclesfield.

As is the case it was not possible to escape without something to carry back and yes there was an apparent dire need for the milk stocks to be increased – we may need to get a bigger fridge and build an extension to the kitchen – maybe a nice conservatory on the side.

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