There have been some interesting machinations occurring with regards to our planned route. Our goal back in 2016 was to go by narrowboat over, under and around the Pennines. We achieved under and around but not over due to damage caused by severe winter storms on the Rochdale Canal. This trip our plans are to complete what we couldn’t do back in 2016.
Going over the Pennines is very difficult for several reasons of which you will learn about as we hopefully experience doing the Rochdale Canal. Since before we got to the UK, we knew of water shortages, damaged locks, and reduced passage numbers through tunnels..
Through sheer persistence, Fraser managed to score a booking through the Standedge Tunnel. They are only allowing four passages a week (two each way) and each passage allows 2-3 boats. So that was a huge win.
They also have water shortages around the same area, and you must be escorted through a number of locks either side of the tunnel. You need to have your timing right to achieve your goal.
At present, we are aware of a damaged lock south of the tunnel which has closed the canal. Fortunately, we are coming from the north and fingers crossed that they will have it repaired before we get there in three weeks. If they don’t………….we don’t want to think of the alternative!!
OK, so this morning saw us farewell Marlene and Wolfgang who are going to catch up with a couple of sets of friends down in southern England, before they head through the chunnel early next week and then home to Bremen for three months. Note that we have our Ange De L’Eau crew shirts on. There was also the flag ceremony where the Bremen Flag was replaced by the Canada/Kiwi/Ozzie flag as is the tradition. Ozzie flag not in the photo as doing some final adjustments.
It was then the final check of the boat. Filled with water, diesel, emptied poo cassettes (TMI), final washing done and cupboards full.
Our farewell to ourselves before we headed out of the Over Water Marina where we had had a very good stay.
Our plan for the first week is to get from Nantwich which is on the Shropshire Canal to Manchester. By our calculations, it is 25 hours of cruising in five days. Sounds easy, but not so if the weather decides to turn ugly. The map above shows you the route which is highlighted in the fluorescent green.
We set off a bit later than intended – actually, a lot later than we had wanted to, but time just got away from us. It was 2.30pm so if we needed to do five hours cruising, we needed good night vision.
There was a rather major navigational issue as we were heading out of the marina. Di felt we needed to turn right to go north whereas Fraser felt turning left was north. Thank goodness for cells phones with compasses!!
Boaters still had their bunting out from the Platinum Jubilee Celebrations.
We ourselves did not see much of the celebrations as we were in Scotland and when we did get back on Saturday, we were too busy organising things.
You tend not to get the best TV reception on the canals, and it isn’t that uncommon not to get any internet.
We cruised through a lot of chocolate box countryside today. To say it is stunning is not an understatement.
The county which we are in, is Cheshire where a lot of well-heeled people live.
It was then hang a right on to the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal.
So far, we are on schedule.
Maybe it is because we have not been on the canals for three years, but there does appear to be a lot more traffic than we remember. Due to COVID, the canals became very popular once lockdown was lifted and boat sales went through the roof. It was very difficult to travel oversea during COVID, hence, many Brits discovered their own backyard which included the canals.