Today’s Video is here:
A little test for me this morning as I chose to take the helm to come off the mooring in the marina turn her for the exit, to work on my fear of being watched whilst manoeuvring her. It wasn’t as tight as in my home mooring but with all the folk in the cafe etc it was a nice way to take a step towards being more confident with her.
Immediately before I got to the entrance a working boat & butty came past. Thinking we would be behind them for some time they actually pulled over not too far up the ways. The boats looked amazing, so beautifully kept and with his bowler hat and chipper smile I really wish I could have been ashore to capture a great picture of them both with their pride & joy. Found out since that they’re on Facebook under The Floating Workshop, hope we bump into them again as they are a talented pair.
The next few locks were great and we met a lovely boat coming the other way on every one. Some liveaboards and some hire boats and all very friendly, jolly and chatty. Lots of local advice about where we’re headed along with funny tales and shared laughs. We paused coming out of the second lock as a fuel boat was using the winding hole below to turn around. When we did it, we spun on a six-pence as my boat is quite short and she turns well. Watching this heavy 70ft (maybe 72ft) beast of a boat turn in the same space was like watching Austin Powers and his 50 million point turn in the golf buggy. Such skill to turn a boat that size.
You always know when you’re approaching a town as the moorings get denser and Nantwich was possibly the most dense i’ve experienced yet. Boats moored either side leaving just enough space for 2 boats to pass. We were behind the fuel boat and watched as they speedily pulled over to sell their wares to a customer. I had to slow right down as someone was coming through the tiny bridge hole but with no space to really play with for all the moored boats, I struggled to bring her in nice to be able to leave a gap for them to pass. We got there in the end and we got over to the towpath and took a line ashore to wait for them to come past. The fuel boat was quickly on us again but I decided to seize the opportunity, seeing as the seasons are changing, to grab some coal and kindling. Plus i’m a little nervous about our draught (depth) on the Llangollen as we’re right on the borderline of being too deep so some coal on the front end will help bring her bum up a little.
The lads of the fuel boat were just fab, loads of banter and my god do they work quick.
I was grateful to leave the waterways equivalent of the Arc de Triomphe roundabout and be back on less populated waters as we continued north.
We smiled as we could hear the tooting of the fuel boat behind us calling out to the moored boats like an ice cream van calling out for business. We were turning left at this point to join the Llangollen canal. The turn was super tight so with me ashore, Richard continued a 360 degrees spin to get her alongside at the lock landing as the wind proved too strong for me to bring her in with the centre line.
Luckily we had enough time to make the turn before the gents of the fuel boat had caught us up. Big waves and smiles as they came past, headed for the pub!
So here we are, waterway #5 of the trip and kind of the reason why we started planning it as everyone says how beautiful this stretch of water is. I really wanted to do the aqueduct and i’m excited to be exploring further with Māhina & Richard.
The lock-keeper on the Hurleston flight of 4 at the start of the Llangollen was brilliant. Had a lovely chat with him as he came up the locks with us. So much good information on what lays ahead and some right belly laughs. After a stop to top up the water tank (anything to bring her bum up more!) we continued to his recommendation for a mooring spot tonight, it was bang on.