Saturday, September 12, 2015

Back to Plan A

Well, after completely changing our plans and developing a completely different route, we arrived today to pick up the boat and discovered that the broken lock would be fixed and navigable once again.

Leaving the Marina
We were a little concerned with Plan B as it took us right through Manchester and one section required us to do 27 locks in one day, as it is not recommended to moor the boat along the canal in Manchester. Although the city’s reputation has improved in recent years, it was not unheard for boaters to be treated rather violently by local gangs of teenagers when they tried to stay overnight in Manchester. The decision therefore was not difficult, and we decided to go back to our original plan and do the Four Counties Ring.  

Our boat was ready to go on time, and the fellow giving us instructions on the boat was very happy that we had done this before and knew most of the information. There were a number of other boats coming and going , but we were the first out of the Marina. Finally on the boat and underway. Yay!

On the Canal at Last
The day started out miserably, and we woke at the B & B to a downpour of rain, so resigned ourselves to the first day on the boat a wet one . . . but, by the time we picked up our groceries and celebratory libation, the rain had stopped and the skies were clearing, and we motored out of the marina under blue skies.

Traveling on the canals on a narrowboat is not at all like touring in a car. England is a very densely populated country, and you rarely drive without seeing houses, stores and industry, but on the canals you mostly motor slowly through the countryside, surrounded by fields and trees. Our boat is named “The Great Blue Heron”, and soon after leaving the marina, a blue heron lifted off from the side of the canal and flew over the boat – a good omen if there ever was one.

Making Friends Along the Way
We did pass by a rusting very shabby looking industrial complex, but quickly were surrounded by gently waving cat-tails, fields of corn, and huge trees with branches we had to duck to avoid as we glided by. The canals are narrow and we are often less than two feet from the sides so the purple flowers on the bank could have been picked as we went by, and we saw another boater who  had discovered a plum tree growing beside the canal and had stopped to pick a basket.

The first day was an easy one with only three hours and one lock to do, so we arrived at a pleasant mooring spot just outside Middlewich, and after a delicious dinner of English meat pies purchased at the street market before we left, we are relaxing in the boat.

Now tomorrow is a six hour day with 17 locks to navigate, so  . . . . .

1 comment:

  1. Have fun now that you're on your way! Tell Margaret & Bill that we had a great time at Cherry Hill, and I'm really sorry for what I broke. :-)