Sunday 5 May 2024

Hurleston Junction

Today's Canal - Shropshire Union

Rather early this morning, Mike had a fit of conscience and moved the boat forward  enough to be off the two day mooring we had been on. We were a few hours over the limit and we planned to go into Nantwich this morning and leave around lunch time.  Better to avoid a black mark if possible! As it happened, no other boat wanted to come onto the mooring the whole time we were there - but one did arrive whilst we were in town! 

A lovely clear morning - the photo is probably not detailed enough to see, but there was the reflection of a network of con trails from planes flying overhead. Early departures for a bank holiday break in Spain?

At the large town centre parish church we had a choice of services and times but opted for the 9.30 All Age Communion. All the words were on screen and a well organised music band led the singing. There were around 60 in the congregation including a number of children.

The other reason for coming into town (and having an issue with the mooring) was that we did not have enough time yesterday to charge the car fully. The particular charging point only allows a maximum of an hour and with a three hour drive back home we wanted to start as fully charged as possible. The system estimated around half an hour so we walked in to the town centre and sat in the sunshine watching the world go by!

We walked back via some of the quieter back streets including this one that is largely unspoilt by commercial developments. On one side was a row of up market mansions whist on the other side a terrace of quite tiny houses for the minions!

Back at the car there were just a few minutes before we could unplug and return to the boat. By now it was a rather warm day and the view from the bridge next to our mooring almost picture book!

We changed and had lunch before setting off. Once we did it was only a few minutes to the two Hack Green Locks, once a staging point for fly boats who could change their horses at the stables.

We were in luck at both of them with boats coming the other way, leaving top gates open for us and wanting us to leave the bottom ones for them!

The upper lock still has its corporate blue name but sadly someone seems to have taken a fancy to the one for the bottom lock.

All the ladders at both locks are of a somewhat dated design and have woefully inadequate amount of room for toe holds, making them quite tricky to use. How standards change, especially those with a safety element. When we first started exploring the canals, there were fewer ladders and not always reliable!

A good, level cruise in the sunshine followed until we reached Nantwich Embankment and the Telford aqueduct at the end. The story is that the local landowner refused to cooperate with the canal builders and forced them to take a circular route to the basin that already existed on the earlier Chester Canal. It took some time before the embankment became as stable as it is today.

A boat, not using the services, was sitting on the customer facility mooring and despite glares from a boat crew just in front of us, they took some time before they deigned to leave. The other boat then had a very large, almost empty, water tank to fill and it was around an hour before we could start on ours!

The photo shows the arm down to the boat centre on the right and the main route goes under the bridge. North of here was built with wide bridges and locks but, as can be seen, south of here the newer canal was for narrow boats only.

It was only a short trip up to Hurleston Junction where we turned right around (the manoeuvre took too much concentration to take pictures - excuses) and came back under the junction bridge to the immediate visitor mooring. Tomorrow we will retrace our steps a little bit, ready to leave the boat at Overwater for a few days.

5.1 Miles - 2 Locks

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