This is Steve & Viv Carter's log of the trips and travails on the narrowboat Adagio – liveaboards from October 2015. Then back to the shore, in Trefin, Wales from November 2019. "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." (Mark Twain)” firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
We left Nantwich on Monday, 1st July. Swung the boat and chugged back to the wharf for a pump out – because it was sooo nice! The chap does it all for you and spends about 40 minutes doing a very thorough job. Recommend the place. We then went on Barbridge junction to cruise the short arm to Middlewich – passing through a few pretty big locks – the first had a queue but three volunteers were on hand to help (Cholmoldeston Lock). More queues at Minshull lock, well, I suppose it is July now. And to moor at a quiet spot, just beyond Aqueduct marina and near the aqueduct over the Weaver, where a certain dog went for a swim. Tuesday was on to Middlewich. And then it was on to the Trent & Mersey canal and the long cruise south.
Having spent a few days in Wrenbury and then a day between bridges 3 and 4, we finally left the Llangollen canal. Passing Gordon on Cut Loose as we locked down. Spending a quiet few days in Nantwich. Letting the heatwave come and go. We tried, successfully to get a Sainsbury’s order delivered and lo, it came to pass! Brilliant. Saved the long walk into town. Mind you Steve did drive his ickle bike around quite a lot – getting some tapas from M&S plus some special gin (Tarquins, Sea Dog @57%) and some special rum (Venezuelan Diplomático) , nice, well, we finally sold our Bitcoin – bought for £400 and sold for £1,000! Set up the satellite dish, as we want to watch n record bits of Glastonbury. The Killers, one of our favourite bands are headlining on Saturday. And owing to a hard drive failure, we lost the last Glasto recording. So settled here for a couple of days……. probably not much more blog as we are retreading our steps home….. but who knows!
Well, 10 days stuck at Grindley Brook, then 3 days here in Marbury. Loads more boats turning up – 22 now. Some hire boats came and leap-frogged 5 waiting ones. Ooer, missus, there’s going to be fisticuffs – barge poles at dawn. And I was almost right. Unfortunately. We enjoyed a revisit to the Swan – perhaps the best place we’ve been to on this cruise. We didn’t enjoy Sunday night when the boats ahead of us started to move up (why?), so we followed on and I still don’t know why we did. Never mind. Up at 0600 . . letting some boats go first . . . but by 0800 we were on our way – slowly past the almost-breach, then on past two lift bridges and moor up in Wrenbury. Hurrah. Freedom. But so very very stressful and maybe the final straw?
Final straw? Maybe. We’ve found the last 12 days all a bit too much. Too many boats and too many boaters. Perhaps its time to try and chill a bit more by returning to the land and a nice small cottage somewhere . . .?
This is a nice quiet spot – well, no boats can go by! CRT have moved the goalposts ever so slightly, in that we have to move 0800-0900. Personally, I would want to get as many boats through as possible and then carry on working, forget the 1600-1700 slot. More boats have joined the ever lengthening queue….
We decided to rise early and get going by 0800, and lo, it came to pass. Soooooo quiet! Can this really be the Golli? Well. It IS so different from the the other week when there are boats going by from 0600 until dark! Today, we didn’t pass a single moving boat, idyllic. We moved on down the Llangollen canal, thru the three locks – Povey, Willey Moor & Quoisley to Marbury…..
Well, maybe a bit overly dramatic but yes, we are Free!
Full credit to the guys working for CRT for getting the navigation navigable again, even if it is rather restricted. After receiving this memo, we decided to move down the locks today. The chains had come off! Firstly, Steve had to cycle into town to pick up an Amazon order for some new underwear (and was tickled when asked “do you want to track your package?”). This was collected plus some essentials from Tesco’s. We swung the boat and after lunch, descended the triple staircase locks with help from John the lockie and Viv. We are now sitting just along from the bottom 3 single locks, so I suppose, still in Grindley Brook but will move off early tomorrow, hopefully ahead of the herd. (Stampede?). Hopefully too we may hook up with our old travelling chum & beer consultant, David Thomas who is passing through these parts – with the lure of abundant real ales in the Bhurtpore Inn, for example. Meanwhile, there’s still a chance of a snack back in the ever delightful Horse & Jockey.
Yes, we aren’t still stuck. Been here for almost a week now. Shame the town (Whitchurch) is such a walk away. I’ve cycled there and back a few times, to pick up pills (for yes, you can get prescriptions sent on to a local pharmacy), catch a train and visit Sainsbury’s. We’ll wait until the Friday pronouncement , to see if they are going to allow passage under restrictions. Otherwise we’ll head back up to somewhere remote like Whixall Moss.
The rain continues! Records still broken – starting to come in the boat now . . . . could do with a dry spell and some warmth.
The forecast is getting better . . . and our mate Mark is due to visit today. And to prove it – he’s here. We’re thinking of heading off on a Saga trip – maybe to Bangor, by train, see the Menai straits and visit llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
Bit of a busy day – having organised post to be sent to Wrenbury P.O. – poste restante – we were now stuck in Grindley Brook. So Steve cycled the 2 miles to Whitchurch station, narrowly missing the train, caught one that didn’t stop at Wrenbury, so had to go on to Nantwich and double back. Such Fun! Cycle the mile or so to Wrenbury and pick up the vital post (2 birthday cards!). He then cycled on to view the damage to the canal.
We left Whixall marina, having taken on water – so our boat is now over half a tonne heavier, what with refuelling yesterday. Only 100 litres went in, so our “mpg” is around 1.4 litres per hour, not too bad. It was still drizzling. We rejoined the main canal and just missed the lift bridge, 45, as a boat had just gone through and blow me, if they started to drop the bridge as we approached – not a polite thing. Maybe they were in a hurry (nb Dipper). Anway we tooted ( a lot) and they raised the bridge to let us through – we said we’d go on and do the next one (for there are five of these today!). They were to get their comeuppance later!