Wednesday 24 June 2015


We had the best of the day as we set out reasonably early from Bramble Cuttings.

So did this happy chappie, who we mistook for an Aylesbury duck until we got closer. He was relaxing among a group of duck friends.

Coming up past the Lion Salt Works I once again failed to get the camera out in time to record the developments being made in what is becoming a visitor attraction – really must remember next time. However that meant the camera was out (just) to snap NB Houdini – notable for being the boat I just managed to avoid being blown into when trying to moor below Middlewich Big Lock two nights ago.

On we went round the corner, testing the zoom on the parish church across the fields at Great Bedworth.

Then past the Anderton Boat Lift (stopping for water but not, this time, to enjoy the delights of the River Weaver into which it drops you). And so onto a narrow, shallow section before the two tunnels. And here he was, in front of Towpath Cottage, in all his glory, parrot 'n' all.

He was not, however, the biggest pirate in this stretch. Coming towards us fast through the narrows was the first of a small convoy that had come through the tunnels. He had no intention of stopping, though I judged that the canal at that point was not wide enough for three boats. I'd already halted when he collided with Erin Mae head on. Not a pretty experience, and his partner had hastily disappeared inside in some embarrassment. I reversed back to let him and the others past at a point where nothing was moored up. He clearly felt I was being rather foolish. I held my counsel.

The Barnton and Saltersford tunnels are both intriguing in that, from one end, you can see the other, only to find it disappearing from sight as you negotiate the bends. What fun those navvies must have had, giggling about what they were doing to generations of boaters. After all that excitement we proceeded steadily until we caught up with…

The dog summed it up. It looked as though she was under instruction until she hitched herself up and sat on the roof for a bit. We slowed to tickover, bided our time, counted our blessings, and hoped they weren't going to take the last available mooring at the spot we had earmarked for tonight. Thankfully they pushed on (if that's not too dynamic a word) and we got in on the rings at Dutton Bank, looking out over the bit of the Cheshire countryside that got inundated from a breach on the canal a couple of years ago.

Not a pirate in sight.