Friday 10 June 2022

Swanley Bridge Marina

 Today's canal - Llangollen

So, last night: not what we had hoped for! 5 and 6 years ago we had good service here which is why we had the idea of returning last night.

However, either a change of landlord, chef or just the effects of COVID have left it with a very mediocre offering. Almost all of the food seemed have come straight from the freezer (via a deep fryer or oven) and lacked anything that we could not have done better ourselves. (Always our test for an eating place!) Still, at least the on board chef had a night off.

This morning we set off, immediately passing through the well known Wrenbury Mill lift bridge, Two country roads meet here and there is always plenty of traffic crossing over. It is a mechanised lift but with a reputation for frequent delays. Apart from a boat coming the other way being blown across the basin, there were no hold ups for drivers than is necessary.  

A few minutes later there is another lift bridge but this one is just a farm access bridge so is operated by yet another hydraulic motor. We were lucky as there was another boat that came through the previous bridge just in front of us so we had a free ride for once.

The weather today has been rather mixed. One moment there were blue skies and, almost with no warning, complete cloud cover. The above is a view looking back across the fields to Wrenbury Church (if your magnifying glass can find it!)

A short run brought us to the first of the three Baddiley Locks. There seemed to be a steady stream of traffic today, more coming up than going down it seemed. Also, almost all were private boats - one other days the greater proportion were hire boats but today is a turn around day at Wrenbury so theirs were already in.

The last set of locks for this trip were the two Swanley Locks. As we approached we wondered whether to see if we could go into the marina today - we were booked for tomorrow - so that we could ensure a prompt departure tomorrow. We are only returning for a few days, primarily for dental appointments and to see how the newly planted garden is faring, and will be back almost as soon as we have gone! We wanted to re-fuel - which is a mooring just outside the marina entrance. Whilst Mike was filling up (self service here!) Christine checked with the office and, yes, we could come straight in. The only problem we had was the rather fresh wind blowing today. After one false start (just testing out the wind strength, you understand!) Mike made a reasonably good turn into the mooring space. Too little and the boat will be at an angle to the mooring and unable to fit in. Too much and, with today's wind direction, a risk that it will blow the boat the opposite way!

After lunch we cleaned through and tackled several small maintenance jobs that ought to have been done whilst we were away!

4.3 Miles - 5 Locks

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