Helen went back into town to Vermyuden's? delicatessen to get some cold meats, the beef is beautiful, and a pork pie, whilst I stayed back and used the fact that we had a good internet signal to book train tickets and other jobs that needed doing.
It was lovely and warm byt the time we actually got under way so the dappled shade of the tree lined cut were very pleasant.
Ellesmere Tunnel was even cooler, and we were straight in as nobody was coming the other way. It was also dry, as most places are after about 6 weeks of no rain.
After the tunnel you get into a section of canal that wriggle round the Meres in the area, first Blake Mere, and Cole Mere. There are some lovely spots to moor and overlook the picturesque Blake Mere. We promise ourselves that we will stop, but never have yet. I just wonder what the insect life will be like at this time of the year as the horse flies are quite voracious at the moment.
There were plenty of boats moving so it was quite nice to arrive at the Prees Branch and head off the main line for a bit and lose the boats passing either way. The Prees Branch was supposed to be built to the place of that name, about 5 miles away, but it never got that far. It ran out of money at Quina Brook where there was some lime kilns to provide traffic. It was opened about 1800.
On the short section that is still opened, just under a mile, there are two lift bridges and both date from the building of the canal. The first is Allman's Bridge and and was one of the last lift bridges to be altered to Hydraulic in 2010.
The end of navigation is now at Whixal Marina. It was the last part of commercial use as the clay pit that was still in use by the canal company to provide puddle clay for the maintenance of the canals. It looks like a big new building has recently been erected at the marina and it turns out that a local well know business family had bought the marina last year and have had the new building erected to house a cafe.
The also got planning for glamping opportunities in shephards huts that can be moved around, and stored away in winter. The 'facilities' would be in the cafe block. It didn't look like the cafe or the huts were in use as yet.
We winded at the marina and moored up at a bit of wide towpath, with a wide bit of canal, where there were no buildings. After sitting and reading a bit, to allow the engine to cool down, I did an oil change. It was a lovely quiet spot and again Macy enjoyed being in the grass.