Monday, 19 August 2013

Quatermass on the Propellor.

Monday 19th August 2013, north of Middlewich.
We left our picturesque mooring overlooking Church Minshull and cruised towards Middlewich.
There are two locks before Middlewich and at the first, when R stopped briefly to let Jamie and Alex off MM to do the lock, the propeller and engine stopped dead.  It was clear we had picked up something in the propeller. We pulled MM into the lock on the ropes and R went down the weed hatch to see what we had collected.
The answer was nicknamed "Quatermass". It included (among other things) a crochet blanket, bits of carpet, a lot of rope, balls of string, audiotape, sticks, bits of fenders and metal rods and tubing. Quite a haul! No wonder the engine stopped!
On the outskirts of Middlewich, we moored up and all four of us walked into town for a "few bits". It's astonishing how often we have to go for a "few bits" with two hungry youngsters aboard! Two local ladies directed us to a new Morrison's supermarket that had only opened this year and so was not listed in any of the guidebooks. At least with four of us, we could spread the load of shopping for the walk back to MM.
Back on MM, we cruised the short distance to the Middlewich Junction between the Shroppie (Middlewich Branch) and the Trent & Mersey Canal. We said a sad farewell to the Shroppie, the canal on which we first cut our narrowboating teeth and on which we have had so many happy times. We turned north on the Trent & Mersey. Although our route will take us south on this canal towards home, we had decided to make a diversion to visit the Anderton Boat Lift 10 miles up the canal and we are hoping to take MM down the lift tomorrow.
We were immediately faced with four locks and a queue of three boats ahead of us. Add to that the fact that two of the four paddles were out of action on the first lock and it took us a while to get through as the lock was very slow to empty and fill. Eventually we managed it, with Alex and Jamie helping out on the gates and paddles vey competently.
At the third of the four locks,we again picked up a bit of carpet on the prop, but soon managed to clear it and keep going.
For quite a while the canal was very narrow as the offside was full of reeds. Luckily we didn't meet anything coming the other way as there was no room to pass in some places.
We moored up in a fairly remote area and were delighted to see the full moon (and its reflection) through our bedroom window.
Today: 9 miles, 6 locks and 4.9 hours.
Trip: 271 miles, 215 locks and 223.1 hours.

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