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Thursday, 25 July 2013

Middlewich.

Boats had been going past us both ways for a while before we set of this morning. It seems that we got the best mooring for a long way as the tow path was well overgrown and the trees were overhanging making it gloomy. The end of the lock free cut is coming to an end. Other than Dutton Stop Lock near Preston Brook the last locks would be at Manchester or Wigan. These locks were on the Bridgewater Canal and were to wide beam size. The original Trent and Mersey Canal to Middlewich was also wide beam. At Croxton Aqueduct where the canal crosses the River Dane flood damage saw it revert to narrow gauge again.


Croxton Aqueduct narrows.

This meant that the Big Lock at Middlewich is left alone. Although wide size it is a rise of only 5 ft. After this the next three locks are narrow. I got no photographs at Big Lock as we took water just before it and got talking to an old boy. Another boat arrived so we shared with them. I thought it was brand new but it was older than ours. I think I know what he does when not cruising! Once we were in the lock there was a group at the lock seeming to be struggling. It seems that they had been using a Sea Searcher magnet and it had got stuck. It seems that it had got stuck on something. They thought that it was on something metal but it must have been jammed in the paddle gear as it wouldn't move at all. In the end they asked if I would cut it.

 As the next locks were narrow there was a slight delay. The next lock is close to Andersen Hire Boats and they looked well presented.


Andersen Hire Base from Lock No.74 with St. Michael's Church in the background.


Helen getting back into the swing of lock wheeling and enjoying the narrow size.


Lock No. 72 Middlewich.

The narrow locks means that you don't have to walk right round the lock to get to the other side as you can hope over the small gate or the small bridges.


Middlewich Hire Base. 

We hired a boat from here not too many years ago and were not impressed with the boat or base at the time. I know a new person has purchased the concern and they seem to have tidied up the base and the boats. I'm not too sure about the new colour scheme of blue and grey but very good luck to them all. Just after the base is the junction with the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union. It is a very bust junction as it it is on the Cheshire and Four Counties cruising rings and has a lock just by the turn. The lock is Wardle Lock and was built by the Trent and Mersey to link with the Shropshire Union. The 154' length of canal from the junction to the lock is called the Wardle Canal by some and is therefore the shortest canal in the country. We passed under a few bridges and then moored up. We went off into the town to do some shopping and were pleasantly surprised to see that the town had smartened up a fair bit since our last visit. After dropping the victuals back at the boat we wandered back to the junction to have a pint at the lock and watch the fun and then go to the King's Lock Chip Shop for a 'chippie tea', and very tasty it was too. 

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