I was relieved my back was no worse in the morning but still felt like there was a tight spot there. There were no locks today anyway so no need to test it. Shane wanted to get moving as he wanted to get to the marina for diesel and charging and climb Mow Cop, before sunset. Walking is good for a bad back so I was happy to go for a walk up a hill as long as it wasn’t too high. I haven’t bagged a Munro in a few years and towpaths are flat, so am not getting much practice on a slope.

Shane has been warning of cold weather for a while and was getting his head and neck well wrapped with a headband, with ear flaps, thick woolly hat and wool scarf as well as 6 layers on his top half and two pairs of socks, waterproof gloves and sunglasses. I came to sit outside and as usual enjoyed the birds and bridges. 


Happed up at the helm

After a while I could see him dancing about and shaking his hands, so offered to drive and let him warm up a bit. Perhaps I move more when driving, stretching to see around the profile of the boat or may be my hand knit gloves are warmer. We swapped back again and he drove through Congleton. Bryn had also joined us.


One of the Turnover Bridges in Congleton

Just beyond Congleton we saw a boat through a bridge that looked like it might be coming towards us, then it pulled to the side and Shane drove through the bridge. There were two boats – one boat being held by ropes and was possibly about to moor. It had 3 flags on its tiller that looked like Yorkshire, England and a red ensign with a union jack in the corner. The other, behind, was a boat we have seen before called Aye Oop, also flying a flag but while the boat seemed to have a regional accent, it didn’t have a regional flag. I asked the woman at the helm what her flag stood for, as she pulled out to go under the bridge, and she called out proudly “Women on Barges!” I gave her a cheer!

Later when I was driving again, I met the only other boat but this time he was closer to the bridge so I waited for him to come through first. Shane was warming himself by pushing aside all the reeds and branches that had accumulated on the bow, affecting our speed through the water.

After mooring at the marina and a quick lunch, we headed up to Mow Cop. Shane was setting a brisk pace as he was concerned about returning before dark. I was falling behind. A couple of houses in the village (also called Mow Cop) had interesting jutting out windows.


Mow Cop Window

We caught up with a couple walking up the road and just after we had passed she called out “Oh you are the lady on the boat!” I can’t tell what suddenly made her notice – not my gait, at any rate.  I had changed my coat but had the same hat. I then had a few minutes conversing with them by walking backwards up the hill, so I was facing them. I got to use different muscles and admire the view of Joderel Bank, but did fall behind the chaps a bit. I caught up with Shane and Bryn just as they were reaching the sign announcing a 25% gradient. I enjoyed Mow Cop, but glad there was no ice on that bit of road, though there probably is now. We came back by a longer but less steep route and back down at the marina, the jetty was icy, all along.

I have tried to search for the colourful flag that I saw on the woman’s boat and found that there is a facebook page called “women on barges” – they vet you before can join…no men allowed! I am waiting to see if they let me in. I don’t mention boating on my page much, but have mentioned it today in a post about walking like a penguin to avoid slipping on ice.

Further facebook news: the Hadrian’s wall flag design has been tweaked. The crochet pattern is now out and it is different from her earlier pictures. Bryn has done some chart modification and I have had another exchange with the woman who is coordinating the bunting project.

Further knitting news: Shane was on a video call with his brother who said he has no jumpers at all but has sent a picture of an unusual jumper he had seen advertised, asking if I can knit it.That would be a much bigger and more challenging project.  There is no pattern and I cannot see detail of yarn type or the stitches on the picture. Leaving that on the “I’m considering it” pile at the moment; more info needed.