The tree looks like it is not going to be moved soon so going back the way we’d come and through the same 2 flights to do double the distance is probably the best option in order to get to our Ribble crossing appointment and be able to get water. Sitting tight and hoping just was unlikely to work.
So the day started by heading for the nearest winding hole. As I am not confident winding, Shane offered to do it, or do it with me watching and explaining or talk me through doing it. So I was in the middle of doing th last option, when a woman passed on the towpath and shouted to me, “You passed the test!” I replied that I was “under instruction”.
Back we went past our unafraid heron and familiar little pedestrian bridge and returned towards Marple again. This time I got the pleasure of driving through the uneven tunnel and over the aquaduct and from my lofty stance I could see the river far below and it was strange to be in such a narrow passage but feel able to admire the view rather than concentrate on the steering (unlike the tunnel where watching steering and ducking your head are required).
Then up the Marple locks. Nye didn’t read my message telling him we were returning, until we had already completed the flight, so missed the chance to see the lads again and get their help. However we were helped all the way by the Canal and River Trust volunteers – and the occasional onlooker. It was a sunny day, so there was no shortage of spectators. As all the locks were ready it went very smoothly, though once the lock keeper let water back out of the lock I was in, to let a guy hard aground get some water to set him free.
We were trying to make good time so we reduced stopping time. I prepared meals while Shane drove and showered and put on washing. Shane hung it up while I was driving. The evening mooring was hard to find and tricky to complete but we are flanked by a field of splendid sheep on one side and swathes of purple – great willow herb – on the other.
Here’s hoping the Bosley locks tomorrow will be drier and warmer than last time, though it is Friday the 13th.