Sunday, 4 September 2016

Nb "Simplicity" and Four Lift Bridges.

Sunday 4th September, 2016 in Ellesmere.
Thankfully, the rain eased overnight and gave way to a brighter morning.
"If at first you don't succeed" must be the motto of the unfortunate fellow still trying to find his propellor. He arrived early with his grappling hook. R helped him to bow-haul his boat into the canal arm from the main line and, as we left, he pulled his boat into our space.
We never did find out his name and we don't know if he found his propellor - we really do hope he did; he was so stoical and cheerful about the situation.
We set off after breakfast; there are no locks on this section - but there are four lift bridges and the first one came all too soon. It was a close thing getting MM past!
We were delighted to be travelling with another Kingsground boat, nb "Simplicity"; they had moored up on the Whitchurch arm just behind us and we left more or less together.
The last of the day's lift bridges was tough - 55 turns of the windlass to operate it and M ended up doing this three times. We had arrived as a boat was going through and the bridge was up - so M took over. But after MM went through, there was a gap before "Simplicity" arrived behind us and, as there was a car waiting to cross, M kindly lowered the bridge to let it through and then had to raise the bridge again for "Simplicity". M muttered darkly that having the instructions in Welsh didn't make it any easier!
This stretch of canal is truly lovely, flanked by beech woods and large meres, created at the end of the Ice Age when the glaciers melted. M spotted mooring rings at this point and said that she would like to moor there on the way back.
Two Kingsground boats in the same tunnel! Bet that doesn't happen very often! For once M didn't walk over the top but, as it is only 87 yards long, walked through on the towpath.
Like Whitchurch, Ellesmere has a canal arm into the town but, unlike Whitchurch, the arm goes close into the centre of town. We were fortunate enough to find a mooring on the arm right in front of "Simplicity" and finally got a chance to meet her owners, Peter and Sarah from Swaziland. They bought her in 2013 but are currently planning to sell her because she is 63 ft long, which means that they cannot cruise the Leeds & Liverpool canal or up to the North East.
Peter and Sarah came on board MM for a drink and a look around.
Heavy rain tonight - and M had left the washing out! Tomorrow we are planning to stay here and have a quiet day.
Today: 12 miles, 0 locks, 5.1 hours and 4 lift bridges.
Trip: 333 miles, 241 locks and 246.3 hours.

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