Last night some of our entertainment was doing a canal scene jigsaw Clare gave me for Christmas. I got one of the pieces of plywood that we used to use to make up the bed in the saloon and clamped it to a table. This gave us extra space and the option of moving it if we didn’t finish it. We finished it in one sitting, despite the missing piece (the joys of second hand jigsaws).
Today was forecast to be cold and dry-ish. At breakfast it was obvious that the weather was murkier further up the valley than where we were. Our plan had been to head in the direction of the murkier weather. We set off nevertheless, and soon had to go through the three bridges we’d encountered on Christmas Eve.
As lunch time approached we were nearing Whaley Basin (near Whaley Bridge). My thought was to fill with water while Clare went to buy bread and milk. The water point is at the canal terminus in an awkward triangular basin. By the time the tank was full, Clare was back but we decided to move off the water point before eating. The manoeuvre turned out to be surprisingly tricky. With a bow thruster we could have spun round, but a moored boat on the third side of the triangle made it very tricky. We ended up doing a 270 degree turn to get out. Even then, the only available mooring was on an awkward corner with rings buried in the mud.
So after lunch we headed to the other nearby end of the canal – the Bugsworth Basin. The entrance to it was covered in brashings blown off a clear-felled field of trees.
The basin itself is a restored monument to the industrial heritage of the area. It was also very crowded with moored boats, I remembered the old joke: “What do you do if you see a spaceman? Moor in it – man!” It was soon obvious why nobody else was here, it was hard to get the stern to the bank. I wondered about moving on. Clare pointed out that we weren’t in the way and that we couldn’t save effort by moving, so we’ve stayed.
We went for a bit of a wander around the basin before dark. It became obvious there were not many other mooring spots. The best ones would have required reversing between several pairs of boats. Again with a bow thruster, no problem, without it would have been fraught and tricky.
We saw an interesting arrangement of boats with a “tug” coupled to the back of a cruiser. The cruiser is the family home – the tug is also the blacksmith’s workshop. The pair look too long to fit together in to a lock, but can be separated for that.