Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Mostly Down and a bit Up - Middlewich

Mostly Down and a bit Up - Middlewich
Monday 8th October 2012
Malkin's Bank to Wimboldsley
10.5 miles and 15 Locks

It's only in the last 6 months that I have realised there is a vast range of boater's blog sites out there. I regularly now follow a few favourites and read others that catch my eye. One site starts with the date, the journey and the distance/locks etc.
This certainly helps me as a reader to follow his travels so I am adopting this approach.
Today has been a warm Autumn day, enjoying the cruising with few other boats around so no delays. We dropped down the delightful and well engineered locks of Malkin's Bank.
Most of these are paired though a few not in working order. Designed by the famous James Brindley, this Trent and Mersey Canal dates from 1777, and still operates efficiently.

Leaving an iron bridge

Cottages at Malkin's Bank

The Boatyard at Malkin's Bank, traditionally renovating (wooden) working boats
Emerging from a paired lock – note the towpath side lock is closed and has been for sometime now
We dropped down the 8 Wheelock Locks under the the by-pass and stopped at the Wheelock Services. While I sorted the toilet and took on water, Chris posted a letter and got some more milk.
The next stretch around the back of Ettily Heath has the remains of much industry, mostly reclaimed by nature and man. We noticed major construction earthworks on the east side of the canal after the Rookery Bridge No.159. Bounded by the canal and the Crewe – Manchester railway, this site was previously dug out to be a marina many years ago. Now it looks as if the land is being prepared for houses?
As we continued to drop into Middlewich, you go under the main road bridge, rebuilt for modern traffic. The original bridge 165 is built into this – on a skew – and very low needing the exhaust to be taken off. Thankfully I had remembered!

The British Salt Works – one reason for the canal's original commerce

The salt pile under the shed
As we approached Middlewich, we spotted our Brother-in-law who drives a Pochin wagon. Their yard is in Middlewich.
Best pic I could get!

King's Lock is understandably a busy spot as waterways converge and the various boatyards. We always find Steve and team at King's Lock Chandlry very helpful and here we took on some fresh diesel for our Webasto heater.

The Pub!

The Boatyard

Turning into the Middlewich Branch, heading west, we used the bow-rope method to get a 60 foot boat around a 90 degree bend! It works! Just two locks up to finish the day's exercise.

The late afternoon sun was low and in the steerer's eyes as we pottered back into the country. Having passed under the Crewe – Glasgow West Coast line, we moored in a great spot looking down the River Weaver valley with the Winsford Top Flash just visible.

Time to do some boat jobs as dusk fell – a good day's travels.

Mooring spot

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