The Bridgewater canal is now behind us. It was suitable for double width boats and so all the bridges and locks were double width. Yesterday, we saw a sign warning of a landslip and that there would be priority to traffic coming the other way. We did meet two boats there, today, but it was in fact one of the easiest navigational sections of the day. Some bits looked wide but had a warning sign all the same. Watch out for birds standing on rocks.
Both Shane and I had meetings with boats in a wiggly bit and having a brief grounding and getting back on track by the non driver jumping off the front and shoving the boat a bit. The bow thruster is replaced by a prow pusher.
As I was driving over an aqueduct, Shane leapt off. At first I thought he might be worried about something and getting ready to push, but he was just getting a photograph.
The canal got more wiggly and busier than it has been for a while. By lunchtime it was also warmer than it had been for a while. It was a very scenic spot to stop for lunch.
I had watched a heron stalking around in the reeds over lunch and then as I went out to get this picture of the lunch spot, a swan came over to see us.
He even started to chat. Pity I don’t speak Swan.
We felt moved to take our jackets off for the afternoon and Shane certainly kept warm as there were a few locks for him to work and some wiggles between the locks to keep me busy. I was shielding my eyes from the sun a lot of the time in order to see my way.
Last time we came through here I had worked the locks and there were also lock keepers to help. No lock keepers today. It seemed just as busy with boats crossing in each pound.
I recall that last time I had seen people hauling their boats on ropes and as I was coming out of one the boat coming the other way was diagonally across the pound, but also there was a 90° turn into the next lock. I haven’t been driving much recently, but there was no let up in the manoeuvres as we had a turn off at the junction shortly after that lock. Shane had got off to be lookout/prowpusher/guide, but as the sun was in my eyes I couldn’t see him hardly at all. I could occasionally see he was gesticulating but not what it meant – not the smoothest turn in the world.
Shortly after there was another lock, so Shane stayed off to work it and as we wanted some shopping we stopped straight after and moored for the night. We have been surprised to hear boats going past us after dark and operating the lock. Shane suspects there has been a hold up and people are behind time, perhaps it will all become clear tomorrow….perhaps that swan was warning us about it!