We are now back from Devon and at Chirck Marina after a near 5 hour journey. Chirck is dominated by the board factory where some of the wood used is brought up from Devon. Smoke seems to bellow out of the chimneys 24/7 . The plant is owned by Kronospan an international company that manufactures and distributes wood-based panels which are used in applications including flooring, furniture and timber-framed houses. it employs over 600 people from around this area.
We pulled ropes from bollards at 09.30 after paying for a our stay in the marina . At £7 a night it’s probably one of the cheapest we have ever stayed in although the price does reflect the fact there is no electricity or water available on the pontoons. Passing Chick bank and it’s always good to see when the local residents put on a good display next to the canal,so many gardens that border the canal are just left to go to waste.
This unusual looking boat pulled up behind us at Marton top lock . It’s a replica an old Bridgewater tug and was built about 20 years ago and has recently been repainted .These craft,were known as Little Packets, were generically Dukers as were all craft working on the Duke's canal. They were not strictly narrow steamers but varied in beam between 7' 10'' and 8' 9''. Propulsion was by a single cylinder horizontal engine.
After a night at Ellesmere we pulled pins at 06.40 and got straight onto the services,at that time in the morning the water pressure was really good compared to later in the day when it’s very poor. After a fill up we headed back down the Llangollen eventually arriving after a 5 hour cruise at grindley Brook locks. We expected there to be a long line of boats waiting to go down ,but luckily there were only three boats in front of us. After about 20 minutes we entered the top lock in front of a most splendid round-bayed lock keepers house.
Dropping down the locks we had the misfortune to encounter the most miserable and arrogant lock keeper we have ever met. I’m not sure why The Canal and River Trust would put such a person on this busy flight of locks as surely being a Trust it should have people on the front line with some people skills and a bit of respect for their customers,unfortunately this guy had neither.
Curly has been doing a lot more lock work with Carolyn and is now becoming very competent. In fact she can now operate a lock un-assisted as she did here at Marbury lock. Luckily a lot of the paddles are not that heavy so she copes very well .
After another 4 hours of cruising we eventually moored up near Wrenbury Heath where we were the only boat on the stretch. Needles to say after a long day and working all those locks Curly was soon ready for bed after we had Dinner.
The following morning we pulled pins at 07.30 and with 5 locks in front of us before reaching The Hurleston flight which would take us off The Llangollen canal and then back on to the Shropshire union Canal.
After 2 hours cruising we reached The Hurleston flight and Carolyn couldn’t believe her eyes, The Damson tree which she spotted on our way up was now full of ripe fruit and it seemed like none had been picked. Needless to say she was soon out with a bag and within minutes it was full. as soon as she gets time all those lovely Damson’s will be turned into a most delicious Jam.
Eventually at the bottom and we head out on the Shroppie and turn left . Our next destination will be to turn right at Barbridge and travel along The Middlewich Branch towards The Trent and Mersey canal.
We haven’t filled with diesel for some time now ,so we stopped at Venetian Marina for a top up and a bottle of Gas. We ended up having 140 litres of Diesel at 69ppl and a Gas bottle at £26.50. After a good cruise we had an early stop and picked up this mooring just past Aqueduct marina.
Tomorrow we will drop down in to Middlewich and do a shop ,then head out into the country to a lovely mooring we have used before.