Wheelock (a change of roles)

Karen left for work just before five on Monday morning and still got held up on the M6 around Birmingham.  Buddy and I were going to have a much simpler day as we just wanted to go about six miles albeit through 23 locks.  We had moored at Red Bull on Sunday evening – I always find it odd that a place is called Red Bull.  The pub we had gone to in the evening was also called the Red Bull but that’s quite reasonable for the name of a pub.  

We were moored right next to a milepost which indicated that we are only 28 miles from the northern end of the Trent & Mersey and as the new boat is being built nine miles before the end it meant we only had 19 miles left to travel.

A reminder of how close we are to the end of the current journey

Our mooring at Red Bull on Sunday evening in front of a fuel boat

My plan for Monday was to get down as many of the remaining 23 locks of the Cheshire Flight as possible.  Nowadays, the flight is also known as Heartbreak Hill – it’s not particularly strenuous but it is drawn out over six miles so it’s a lot of walking, especially if you don’t have a dog.

I was really fortunate that Karen’s cousin, Dave, and his wife, Barbara, offered to join me for the day.  They live on their boat in this area and had a free day so it was a good opportunity to have a catch up.  I fancied operating the locks with Barbara, as that’s usually Karen’s job, and Dave was happy to drive the boat.  The three of us soon got into a good routine and completed the flight in just under five hours.

Dave driving the boat

It was quite strange watching someone else drive the boat and I’m not sure that Buddy got used to it all day.  He peered over the edge of every lock to see what was going on as the boat came in - he knew I was with him and obviously not on the boat.

The locks on the flight are pairs of single locks and we found that all the locks were set in our favour.  It seemed that everybody was coming up the hill today and we didn’t come across one boat going down. One of the locks on the bottom pair was closed for refurbishment but at least I got the opportunity to see some stanking planks in action.

Stanking planks holding back the water enabling the lock gates to be lifted out for repair

Dave and Barbara left once we had moored up at Wheelock as they had some errands to run.  As the sun had come out and there was a good breeze I hung the washing out and got on with some odd jobs on the boat.  I also had some admin to do which needed the internet but I had a really poor signal.  This is quite unusual as even when we have no phone or TV signal our broadband receiver usually manages to pick up the internet.

Dave and Barbara popped back a bit later as I wanted to buy them a drink to thank them for helping me during the day, it really had been very kind of them.  After we had relaxed with a drink in the Cheshire Cheese’s beer garden we went our separate ways.  I spent some time taking down pictures and other things ready for when we move onto the new boat – the current boat is getting quite bare inside now.

Later on Buddy and I cruised another mile or so to a spot in the country near Sandbach where I knew we would get an internet signal.

Our mooring for Monday night

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