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Friday, April 19, 2013

Alton's Easter 2013 Run to the Port Part 2

Sunday morning we were up at first light handballing many tonnes of supplies onto Alton, conditions were pretty treacherous with ice, snow & blustery winds. By 2pm we'd finally finished our reloading & set off. The ice & snow on Bosley Locks was phenomenal & we had a steady run down, taking things carefully. We had quiet a few customers, some of them quite surprised to see us still working in such conditions, others knowing we'd keep on battling through. We finally tied up at Congleton Wharf in darkness. We were on a tight schedule so we needed to make an early start each day. Next morning we reached Scholar Green as folks sensible folks were rising & got busy with customers who were very pleased to see us including Kay on Que Sara, who even gave us coffee to go ;-). Round at Hall Green stop, our good friend Graham off Daphne had the lock set & he was a great help for the rest of the day down the Cheshire Locks. It was great to catch up with Graham & we all worked well as a team together. We tied up for the night in Middlewich, Graham headed off to get a train home, whilst I made a last few coal deliveries to some local houses & the Kings Lock pub. On my return to the boat a police car pulled up & a WPC got out. Apparently the police had received a call that someone had been seen acting suspiciously with a wheelbarrow! It took a while for the young officer to be convinced I was legitimate in my nocturnal deliveries as she couldn't quiet believe someone still carried coal "on a barge" :-). Anyway, we managed to grab some fish & chips for tea & put our feet up.

Up at 6am Tuesday morning, we had the Middlewich locks to ourselves. Our first customers of the day where up & waiting below Big Lock, then it was the lovely winding pound. We were kept busy with customers at the flashes, Orchard Marina & Anderton. Our aim was to get to Acton Bridge to deliver to Davenports Farm shop, we had a good run & I set about deliveries with the Barrow whilst Ann Marie winded Alton & returned. We decided to crack on back through the tunnels & as darkness fell we were still serving customers around Anderton. We finally tied up outside the Old Broken Cross pub & grabbed a well earned pint.

We needed to be at Nantwich to reload on Thursday morning so I made for an early start, leaving before dawn & rousing Ann Marie from her slumber just before we reached Middlewich. We made our way up the locks, calling in to Middlewich Narrowboats with supplies on the way. Out on the Middlewich Branch the blustery winds had got up again, making it very difficult to get in to serve customers. We took a left at Barbridge Junction & got busy for a couple of hours making deliveries. We finally reached Nantwich about 7pm, we were just serving a customer when we saw Mike Askin on fuelboat Victoria & James Bills & friends Karoline & Ali on fuel boat Archemedies heading towards us. We had a quick natter with them & as they were planning to tie up for the night we all arranged to meet up at the Black Lion for tea and a coalboaters banter. We had a cracking night in the pub, catching up on each others news & talking coal & diesel (yawn!) & finally got thrown out after midnight.

Renaissance Canal Carrying