Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Mini Voyage - Overwater Marina to Church Minshull and back!!!

Thursday 8th October

As the weather has become very pleasant we have decided to take Ella for a mini cruise. We felt it was important to practise taking the boat out of the marina as well as putting her back in!!

I negotiated our way out of the berth and then out of the marina and turned left onto the Shropshire Union Canal.  The weather was warm and sunny and the canal was very quiet and peaceful.

We cruised through Nantwich and on up to the junction with the Llangollen Canal, here there were a few more boats as this is a very popular canal even during October.

Cruising on the Shroppie
On the left hand side of this photo is a large reservoir and along the railings sit large flocks of gulls, a very impressive sight.

Beautiful red ivy.
A lovely house overlooking the canal with the ivy turning a vibrant red, stunning!

Cruised onto Barbridge and suddenly there was a line of boats, here we turned right onto the Middlewich Branch of the Trent and Mersey Canal.  We joined a queue of three boats going down the first lock, but it was lovely standing chatting in the sunshine.  A volunteer from Canal and River Trust was working the lock as this is one of the busiest locks on the system apparently!!

Toby on the stern
Until he is used to travelling on the boat, Toby is tethered by his lead to the back of the boat. Unfortunately whilst we were waiting to go through the lock, he jumped off the boat and missed the bank, splash into the canal where he paddled until I was able to haul him out!!!  A rather soggy doggy!!

Continued on our way until we reached beautiful moorings just past Aquaduct Marina, here there are picnic benches and barbecue stands available for visitors.  We moored the boat and set off for a late afternoon walk down into the village of Church Minshull where a pub called 'The Badger' serves a very pleasant glass of ale.  However the path we wanted to follow had a very heavy duty padlock on the gate and dire warnings of beware of the dogs!!
We decided to abandon this idea and walked back to the boat, the walk along the canal was very good though.

Instead we opened a bottle of wine and sat at a picnic bench and watched the sun go down, a beautiful end to a gorgeous day.

Evening drink
At the moment Ella is flying the Royal Air Force flag in honour of both our fathers who served during and after WW2 for many years.

Friday 9th October

Today we are going to turn the boat round and cruise back to our Marina.  As the boat is 57ft and therefore wider than the canal, we have to continue along the canal until you get to a winding hole (pronounced as in wind that blows) where we can turn the boat 180 degrees and return the way we came.  They are called winding holes because in the early days of canal travel the narrowboats were pulled by horses and in order to turn the boats the boatmen used to rely heavily on the wind helping the boat to turn.

Church Minshull
A view of the village we were aiming for yesterday afternoon, as we cruised past the gate we noticed that the heavy padlock had been removed - were we imagining it???

Another beautiful cruise back along the Middlewich Branch, left onto the Shropshire Union and this time we moored up outside the Barbridge Arms where we had a tasty lunch.

Cruised on to Nantwich to the Nantwich Canal Centre where we filled up with diesel and disposed of all our rubbish.

As we were returning towards the Marina we saw this heron just standing on the towpath.

Take off!

Dave took Ella back into the Marina and berthed her beautifully back where she belongs.  A lovely couple of days, enjoying some gorgeous weather and meeting some friendly boaters, brilliant!!!

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