We had been told by a number of people that the moorings at Vale Royal were terrific and when we passed them on Tuesday they looked extremely inviting; so that was where we would head to.
There was the little matter of winding, but being on a river meant that it really wasn't much of a problem - plenty of width and the depth was OK as well, so we simply left the front rope tied and swung around - presto, we were facing back down the river.
Our destination was to be the much praised Vale Royal moorings which we had seen and passed the previous day.
There had been just the one boat moored there the day before and as we approached we could see a clear length and we had the full selection of spots to moor up - the final decision was based on best TV signal which unfortunately did not include ITV4, so it was to be le Tour on live streaming again.
|We wandered back for a closer look at Vale Royal Lock....|
|...the by-wash - through an old single lock...|
|...an old stone from a long gone building -|
oh, and Diane upon it
|posing on the swing bridge over the lock|
The moorings are on the eastern side of the river and with a clear view west we had the full sun on both days that we stayed - the amps were certainly flowing freely into the batteries.
A full hot sun and we attempted to alleviate some of the impact with poistioning of umbrellas to give at least some shade and by-and-large we were reasonably successful.
|mooing at Vale Royal - extremely sunny....|
|....misty in the morning...|
|....sunny again in the afternoon|
|a bit of relief as we walked|
Time to move on and so down the two locks that we had come through earlier and through to Northwich - moorings were available but we were more concerned with water and elsan as well as clearing the rubbish, before moving further along -our aim was to moor up at Barnton Cut.
|approaching Saltersford Lock|
Luckily there were still a number of places available but we chose the northern end - again without any ITV4 luck at all, but we still saw the race.
Later on we sat outside and chatted with Kathleen and Michael (nb Kerry Rose), whom we had met briefly at Vale Royal. They are a lovely couple and we realised that their children are just few years younger than us, but that did not stop boaters talking about what we do best - well second best - there was no discussion of batteries and toilets.
With it being Saturday - and Stage 20 - we moved along a bit -intending to, moor up at Acton Bridge and remain for Sunday lunch at The Leigh Arms - it had been very good so far with moorings, but here we met the changer - all full and boats breasted up all the way along - except against the cruiser - don't think that they would appreciate nearly 18 tonnes against them (on the outside), so we headed for Dutton Locks and we were in luck - totally free.
Diane's thoughts were that the reason may have something to do with there not being a pub near there.
We pulled behind the MV Concordia look-alike; success with the TV; we only had a mile to walk for the Sunday lunch and it would be cooler on Sunday than Saturday - a chance to rest easier yet again.
|Guess which one is moored correctly...|
|...not the old wreck in the background, oh and some|
slimmer bird in the foreground
A nice bit of rain on Saturday evening as well as wind change overnight meant that it was certainly a welcome relief for us on Sunday morning - cool enough to get stuck into some jobs - having primed the runners for the hatch late on Saturday, they were ready for the finish coat, as were the seats at the back - all freshened up and looking much much better.
Diane removed the front cratch cover - the residue of mooring under trees at Winsford is the resin that lingers behind, so a damn good scrubbing was necessary and that certainly did the trick.
We had already managed to shift the gear taken out of the engine bay back into there except for a few things that sat low on the floor - those too now found their way back and meant that we had regained the space both inside the front cabin and also in the cratch.
But it was time for a stroll back to
We had been there once before, 2years ago and found the food most enjoyable, so it was pleasing to be treated to a similar standard again.
As boaters do we chatted about allsorts of things but as always there is a time topart and we left them to journey back through Saltersford Lock that afternoon and we most likely would meet again around Northwich the following day.
|morning light across the still water|
|almost a perfect view from Ferndale towards Dutton Lock|
Monday is fasting day on Ferndale so we were able to leave without any complications like breakfast and too many dishes - but there was a nice leisurely cruise back to the lock and after a bit of a wait for another boat we were through - as the lockie pointed out it would be a shame to waste a half million gallons of water by not waiting for the other boat - we were in no rush.
Continuing on we found quite a number of boats heading towards us - all looking good for Northwich moorings, but upon our arrival, there was not one to be had at all.
We contacted Kevin at the marina and asked if we could come in a day early -no problems and just after that we reversed into the nominated spot.
The marina is quite nice and we will be here for a few days, but a problem after we had moored up appeared.
When we turned the battery charger on it tripped out all of the circuits for the marina - that it affected the whole place was a concern - it should only trip out on the bollard to which we are connected - after a number of attempts we will have to leave it off for this visit and get it checked out - if we cannot find a problem with the charger then we will need to not carry through with the winter visit to Northwich.
We are fine with the panels charging the batteries and the landline providing power for the inverter, but in winter the batteries would surely not survive on the solar panels.
Nothing to be done for now with that, but we walked through the town and on a bit more to the B&Q to pickup some things that we needed for the boat - it is just a mile away so the walk did us good.
Diane also managed to get some shopping in at Peacocks which was right next to the B&Q.
The section around the top of the bath is resealed; the bathroom door closes better and stays closed better; new locks for the steel cable to secure the solar panels - more things to cross off the list.
Finally, this evening we settled down after some long showers to clean off the grime of the last two days - not having to run the engine means no hot water and neither of us relished a cold shower, but we feel a bit cleaner and a bit tired and ready for a bit of taking it easy for tomorrow.
18 Miles, 4 Locks
Totals: 2701 Miles, 2043 Locks, 91 Tunnels, 32