Thursday, 1 September 2016

Synchronised locking

31st August to 1st September

Wednesday 31st August
Church Lawton to Hassell Green
3.25 miles, 8 locks

I am sorry to report that we should have broken a match the other evening as our 'smashing' time was not over!  Last night it was Chris again and yet another glass bit the dust.  We will have to go shopping when we get home to re-stock!

Today began with a difference.  Monty, Sue and I headed back up past the two locks we came down last night and took a left off the tow path along a footpath to follow a walk that Sue knows and loves.  We were just too tired to do it yesterday evening.  First we came to the church which was closed and always has been when Sue has passed this way previously.  We went through the churchyard

and through some delightful woods to

to Lawton Hall Lake, then back through the woods to the church

which we found had opened.  It seems to be open from 10:00 to 17:00 daily and is worth a visit if you are passing this way.

I don't think I have ever come across a church with the kitchen and a table and chairs at the back, but needs must if there is no church hall.

We had eight locks to do today most of which were doubles.  Is this what you call synchronised locking?  The weather was quite kind with just a brief period of rain, but sufficient for everyone to scramble to find waterproofs.

These adjacent locks are great when two boats are travelling together, however, it does cause a bit of a jam when they suddenly go back to one.  We are waiting for the boat ahead of us to go down with Cleddau and one other behind us.

Along this stretch of canal we passed many very pretty houses with some lovely gardens

Seating areas

and rooms with a view.  I had to do a double take here as Monty spends a lot of time at home looking out of the window and that would be his place of choice if he lived there.  However that Collie does not need a walk or any dinner!! I guess the vet's fees are less as well!

The canal starts to bend quite sharply - Cleddau is at the end of the arrow.

And then if you look back over your shoulder there is the folly on Mow Cop from yet another angle.

Once we were moored in Hassall Green Sue, Monty and I went off to explore and here is what remains of a pub we visited on our third ever canal boat trip nearly 30 years ago!

The Romping Donkey

It does not look quite so bad from the canal, but it is still a said sight.

Thursday 1st September 2016
Hassall Green to somewhere near Paddy's Farm before Rookery Rail Bridge (158)
3.5 miles, 10 locks

The second lock of the day was this close to the very noisy M6. Even at 04:00 ( at our mooring a bit further away) it seemed to be very busy.

Of the ten locks we had to do today I think 8 were doubles and we got into a very good routine and had an effortless run down to our mooring.

There is always a slight bottleneck when two becomes one - at this set only one lock is in operation.

But we were soon back to doubles again and reached Wheelock Services with warm sunshine all the way.

We did have a slight delay here as there were two boats watering up when we arrived, but it was not long before they were on their way and we could fill and empty as required.  There is a useful paper shop up the road - not magnificently well stocked, but it has the essentials.

In Stouport it was Jane's Plaice, here the owner appears to be Liz

There is also a pet shop where Monty persuaded me to buy him a squirrel!!  I am not sure how long it will last!  I noticed on my way out of the shop that it also sells cereals and porridge which seems an odd combination.

A bit further on and we moored up in (we thought) glorious isolation, but withing five minutes we had been joined by another boat.  Tonight Sue and Ken are coming for dinner - an early birthday meal for Sue (tomorrow) as they are not sure if they may get visitors tomorrow, so I must away and do some cooking!

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