I was aware that in Edinburgh, pupils return to class. If not retired, I would have been in work this week and possibly in the special school today. I posted parent advice on their nurture page anyway, as I have been regularly this week. Staff and pupils were in my thoughts but we had a lot of canal ahead to cover, to keep up.
Looking out in the morning I saw a crane, not a bird, but a large metal structure clearly for hoisting items in and out of boats on the canal. There was also a device for hoisting a boat out of the canal. No time for photography though as getting cracking on the day’s work and unusually I was first to do driving.
The Bridgewater Canal is different managed separately from the Canal and River Trust so lacks the usual signage but does have a crane at almost every bridge, it seemed.
The canal was wide. There were lots of different kinds of water lilies throughout the day. Yesterday I commented on the many water birds seen, but I didn’t see any geese, apart from the goose Island IPA, I had in the evening. Today I saw lots of geese and when it was Shane’s turn to drive I tried to get some shots. I didn’t get any in the water but these were making themselves at home on the towpath.
Later in the day we saw lots of swifts and once, looking behind me, I caught the flash of a kingfisher. We met few boats moving but some are double width trip boats. The wider canals allows for wider boats. I was amused to find we were going over the Mersey, but it was barely bigger than a stream. Tiny compared to the canal we were on. Big rivers all start small.
We were making good progress, but both of us were a bit damp and chilly, it was more like Autumn than August. Legs were protected when driving so we both had shorts on, but waterproofs, jumpers, a hood or hat and even gloves, were all deployed. I saw a group go past happed up in their waterproofs but with what appeared to be strawberry prosecco in their hands so we decided it was Pimm’s o’clock, whatever the weather. Funny how a cool drink can warm you up!
We had cause to celebrate as we were now back into our original route and had made good progress in the day. We decided to head a little further to the Wigan flashes to gain time. We came across a swing bridge and Shane went to operate it but nothing happened. Turns out boats are not allowed to get through for one and a half hours, so as not to stop cars at all in the rush hour. It wasn’t that busy (being still school holidays here) but we had to wait until 6 to get through.
We made good use of the time by getting out the spare quick link and using it to shorten the chain and reposition the front fender. Another balancing job with both of us on the bow: Shane holding the fender up using the boat hook ( a human crane) and me crouching down, peeling back the plastic convering on the chain and fastening the new quick link on to two other links one higher and one a little lower, making a shorter chain. Success!
Soon after the alarm Shane had set went off – 6 pm – and Shane could operate the swing bridge and I could drive through and by 7 we were mooring. I think it’s the most driving I’ve ever done in a day. Yay!