Shroppie Canal to Middlewich Canal –  7th June 2022

First full day of cruising and in beautiful, sunny, and scenic conditions. Just wanted to add in a bit of footage of the areas we are going through. We are not that far from Manchester, which dredges up images of black buildings, pollution and overcrowded housing which isn’t true anymore and certainly not in the rural areas.

One thing we have noticed on the canals since our last trip in 2019 is the amount of traffic which is too surprising, considering people were buying boats sight unseen during COVID. You need to be extra vigilant approaching bridges and corners as Murphy’s Law is that is where you are going come across another boater.

This gave us a bit of a fright even though there was a very old notice on the gate to say that part of the cill plate had collapsed.

Definitely something you do not want to get hung up on.

So far, we have shown you the beauty of the canals, but history dictates that they also went through industrial areas. The Middlewich canal is no exception.

This is an ICI plant and there was a very strong industrial strength smell of chlorine.

We passed via this way on our very first canal boat trip in 1991. We distinctly remember all the dead fish floating in the canal, but we are pleasantly surprised to tell you that they have cleaned up their act. There was actually a chap fishing – one hopes he was doing catch and dispatch.

The plant had also significantly expanded since 1991.

Another thing that has expanded hugely are the number of marina’s that have popped up. Guess that considering the increase in boat numbers over the last 24 months, people are going to need to be able to store them somewhere. We had never seen a marina prior to flooding and somewhat surprised as to how shallow it was.

We cruised until quite late as we struggled to find a mooring plus the weather was so lovely. Our evenings are very full with doing blogs, planning our next day, and trying to keep on track of all the canal blockages that seem determined to thwart our plans. We are still on track with our original route but we are not holding our breath as things are seem stacked against us. Another inconvenience is internet connection, as it can be very problematic because of the remoteness of the canals, so you get very inventive with trying to get signal.

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Had one near mishap today. We very often tell people that you cannot get laxadaisical and flippant when canal boating and especially when working locks. Today, Di only just avoided a pretty serious accident. She was winding up a paddle gate and using one of the long handled windlass’s which gives better purchase for her. The problem this creates, is often it scrapes the top of the beam and you are unable to grab the handle of the winder as it goes across the top of it. This was exactly the case and the windlass started to spin and whacked her at great force on the chin. Apart from a big fright it did not break her jaw but has caused a serious knock and is painful. We thankfully avoided a visit to the A&E!


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