My time down on the River Weaver was quite a good experience. I’d forgotten about river travel, the Thames in 2018 and the Trent in 2019 were the last big rivers I had been on. The width (being able to turn around almost anywhere), the huge locks (and lock keepers), and the flow were all good reminders of the difference between a river and a controlled canal. I can’t see the Weaver Navigation staying the way it is though, it’s costing a fortune to maintain and run such a short section. They should probably automate the locks so the boaters can run them (like on the Thames), which would allow more flexible travel without having to keep to ‘their’ schedule. This might entice more people to go down the boat lift and experience it and save on lock-keepers’ salaries. It’s not nice to think about workers losing their jobs but it’s inevitable if things continue as they are.
Going back up the Boat LIft again was still an interesting experience. As much as I enjoyed the river, it was a bit of relief to be back on the ‘regular’ canal. There seemed to be almost constant problems on the Weaver, from the boat lift itself having issues to locks failing and causing delays. On most canals that usually means just turning around and going the long way around. That’s almost impossible on the Weaver, it’s dangerous and expensive to go along the Manchester Ship Canal to Ellesmere Port. It sure would be fun though!
On my return journey, I stopped at Bramble Cuttings, one of the waterway’s nearly legendary mooring locations. It’s on the ‘offside’, opposite the towpath, so doesn’t have people, dogs, or bikes going by. Only three boats at a time too, so very quiet and peaceful. It’s set up nicely with benches, picnic tables, and BBQ stands. Loved it…
Once leaving Bramble Cuttings (2 day maximum stay) I headed back toward my regular stomping grounds around the Nantwich area.
To make a long story longer, I got back onto the Shropshire Canal (Main Branch) and went as far south as Audlum. There I got some allergy medicine from the ‘chemist’ and got more work done. I’ll soon have the hatch cover acceptably de-rusted and painted. As the title hinted at, the days are becoming warmer and make it feel like summer is here. However, the nights are still very cool, getting down to 4 ℃ one night. Luckily as the days go by it seems to be getting a bit warmer, daytime and night.
After a couple of pleasant days at Coole Pilate, and having a visit with Gary and Linda on NB Watercolour, I moved north to beyond Barbridge Junction. Most cruisers head up the Middlewich Branch at this point, as I did previously, but this time I went straight on toward Chester. I got some water and dropped off the garbage and spent a quiet night before returning to Barbridge. Mooring outside the Barbridge Inn, I had a great Sunday Roast and met Phil and Ang for a drink later!
Nothing much after this to report, just idling to the marina to prepare for the return to Ottawa. I’m so excited to see Robbie get his degree, it’s been a tough road for him (and all the other students) having to navigate the Covid restrictions. It wasn’t easy to do lab work remotely. Of course, I’m also very excited to have Rianne fly back with me and experience the canal life!