Friday 22 September 2017

Swanley Bridge Marina

Today's Canals - Shropshire Union, Llangollen

It was a really fine morning as we set off, a little earlier than usual as we wanted to beat the traffic to the service block. Although this was just a couple of hundred metres away, we were facing in the wrong direction so we first had to go about a mile southwards, across Nantwich Aqueduct to the nearest winding hole.

Under the first bridge we were able to turn around without anyone in our way. However, as we began the return we encountered a steady stream of boats, some six before we were back where we started.

Although there were some more spaces in the moorings along the embankment that we have seen in the past (this is one of the well-known visitor mooring hot spots) we still had to crawl along, made even slower by the on-coming boats.

About three quarters of an hour after setting off we eventually made it to the service block where a boat was just leaving.Fortunately there was then room both for us and another boat which popped through the adjacent bridge to the north just as we were coming alongside.

After completing the usual full range of services we set off once more and before long were able to turn left at Hurleston to ascend the flight of four. Not only were boats coming down regularly but also a couple of good volunteer lockies were on duty.

As a result we were leaving the top lock, alongside the splendid former lock keeper's cottage just 25 minutes after arriving at the bottom.

Just above the locks is the point at which most of the water that comes down the Llangollen is taken off to fill Hurleston reservoir which provides a local water supply.

Alas, by now cloud was arriving and it was quite grey by the time we turned into the marina at Swanley Bridge. We already knew our allocated mooring so, whilst Christine went to the office to complete the paperwork, Mike took the boat to moor.With very little wind this was easier than some arrivals at an unfamiliar marina - although we have been here once before, last year when we left our previous boat to be sold by the brokerage here. (They did an excellent speedy job as well)

In the afternoon we had a visit from Keith who supplied the Mastervolt electrical system on board, to go through with us in a bit more detail of our experiences to date.

We had already decided that we would eat out tonight and Christine had booked us in at The Dusty Miller, in Wrenbury where we went a couple of times last summer. Another good meal!

5.6 Miles - 4 Locks

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