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Saturday, 22 April 2017

Onwards and Upwards.

We had some letters to post this morning so we went for a walk to find a box. There seem to be several streams and rivers joining up to form the River Wheelock, after which the place is named. They seem to be quite swiftly flowing, and clear.

The River Wheelock finaly leads into the River Weaver and hence to the Mersey. I wonder how quickly the water passing here will be there? Faster than a narrow boat I have no doubt.

We were thinking of going all the way up Heartbreak Hill today, but looking at our timings again I see there is some wriggle room so we are stopping half way today. This is the first lock of the day and the first duplicated lock since we were at the Hillmorton locks. Most of the locks on this section were doubled by Thomas Telford to ease delays on the single Brindley Locks. Most are still duplicated which certainly speeds things up.

The canal house at the top of the first lock. Just as we were rising in the first lock a boat arrived to come up astern of us. I think they were experienced hirers with six adults aboard. I thought we would struggle to keep ahead of them. Helen and I got into a rhythm with Helen opening the lock gates and closing them behind me and opening the top paddles before walking on to the next lock. I would drop the offside paddle when there was almost a level, with the boat pushing on the gate. I would then cross the gate before, or as it opened, to drop the other paddle and fully open the gate. Boarding the boat again I would take her out of the lock and clear of the gate before stopping the boat, jumping off and closing the gate before heading off again. It is quite easy on this flight as the lock lead ins are long enough to stop the boat drifting off, especially as there is little wind today.

The countryside is very pleasant today, bathed in sunshine and with the real green greens of spring contrasting with the Friesan cows.

This little arm led to another chemical works, those of Brunner Mond at Malkins Bank.

The next lock has been reduced to one, bu the disused one substitutes as an overflow.

Helen getting her exercise for the day.

We were doing very well until lock 60 when the pound to 59 was all but empty. This put a halt to proceedings for a while. Fortunately the pound above was a good long one so Helen and a couple of girls from the other boat walked ahead to run some water down. I came out of the lock but didn't go much further but thought it best to make a move so that just the right amount of water could be used. 

The next lock was just under the M^ that was it's usual busy self. Despite our bit of trouble with lack of water, I know where I would be rather travelling along.

Another nice conversion of an old canal warehouse. Old buildings certainly give character to an area and if they are industrial they also add to the history of the area.

Nearly there for the day. Helen has the bottom Thurlwood Lock ready for me. I have been surprised at how little traffic there has been on this end of the Trent and Mersey. Only one boat passed us coming down the locks this morning. Heartbreak Hill, or this half of it, is a very pleasant flight of locks with a few gaps to catch your breath and in lovely scenery and with enough interest to keep you going all the way to Rode Heath.

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