No, I haven’t left my keys on the boat. The title refers to the fact that I am now on the Trent and Mersey Canal, on the affectionately called ‘Heartbreak Hill.’ There are more locks than miles here. Here’s a truly depressing picture I took near the bottom of the hill as I started up…
Lock number 69!! Fortunately I only have a mere 31 to do in 11.5 miles before I reach the Macclesfield Canal.
I ‘only’ did seven between the most beautiful mooring at Top Flash on the Middlewich Arm and last night’s mooring on a precarious stone wall on mooring pins that kept dragging out of the soaked ground on the Trent and Mersey! Mind you I also stopped in Middlewich, built my cycle, located a supermarket, filled up with fresh food and cycled back to the boat before continuing!
Here is Top Flash with the River Weaver flowing by…
I woke this morning to yet more rain, as well as a dead badger and another unidentifiable animal floating between my boat and the wall. I would never have normally moored there, but there was just no where to moor for mile upon mile and eventually I got so tired I just had to settle for it.
I was desperate to move on so decided to tackle 11 locks in 5 miles to get to the next reasonable place to moor (past the M6 motorway as it roars by at Sandbach.) I only made it to the top of the next lock flight at Wheelock – a little less than an hour’s cruising and no locks at all. The rain was teeming down, I was tired and stiff from yesterday and I was in a really grumpy mood because of the everlasting dot dot awful weather. All that combined made it too risky to tackle the locks – in my opinion. That’s the joy of cruising alone – I can change plans in a moment without referring to anyone else! In this case I saw a little length of the lovely, safe Arnco to tie up to in between two fields, close to Wheelock and decided there and then to stop. I’m so glad I did because I’m typing this 4 hours later and the rain has not let up for even a minute!
Instead of climbing slippery lock ladders, I donned my wet weather gear and took Bonny for the mile or so walk into Wheelock, bought some chips and walked back, sharing my meal with some soggy British Waterways workmen I came across, repairing the crumbling canal bank. The place I am moored is called Paddy’s Wood, which is slightly odd as there is no wood and I haven’t yet met Paddy.
The forecast is slightly less dreadful tomorrow so we will have a go at those locks then. I just want to get passed this bit and onto the Maccy. I had grown accustomed to beauty everywhere I have been so far and hitting this fairly grotty stretch of the Trent and Mersey was a bit of a shock.
This is a picture of the towpath near Wheelock – or rather what would have been the towpath if the undergrowth had ever been cut. This was one of the better mooring options!! As you can probably tell I’ve rather lost my sense of humour today! Ah well, I’m sure it will return… at some point.