Wednesday, 3 May 2017
From Heaven to Purgatory
I spent the bank holiday weekend back in Congleton which Bonny and I both loved! Then on the Monday I moved down to opposite Mow Cop and this is the view from the top. Since I had to face the dreaded tunnel, I thought I would enjoy fresh air and big sky before tackling it! I left the Maccy with some regret. It might be a silty little ditch but I love it!
The tunnel of doom was much easier than on the way up. I arrived at the gateway to hell and found I was first in the queue. It feels so much better not to have anything between me and the other end. I did have to wait for nearly an hour before being allowed in so that gave an opportunity for a cuppa and a chat with the others waiting. The boater behind me said he hoped I wouldn't be too slow. I told him I didn't think he needed to worry.
Off we went with me leading the convoy. By the time we got to the other end and blessed daylight, the boat behind was at least 10 minutes back and I had got through in 35 minutes! I cruised to Westport Lake, tied up, let Bonny have a wee and was just putting the kettle on when they reached us. I smiled quietly to myself.
Then today I tackled the big Stoke locks. There were no other boaters about and so I had to climb back up at each one to close the gates. The top lock has a drop of 15 feet and it feels like climbing down into the pit of Hades when using the ladder. Bonny was her usual calm, best boater dog self and coped with the locks with aplomb.
Just as we were getting to the bottom lock, we met a boat and the rather smartly dressed couple greeted me and the man said that there were two disreputable looking men at the lock and that I should tie up on the non towpath side. Then they left. I was rather puzzled on reaching the lock to find a high concrete wall on the offside and certainly nowhere to tie up the boat. There was a man at the lock bollards and he was the worse for drink or drugs (at 10am) but he looked like a mild breeze would blow him over and he was certainly no trouble to me. Another example I think of the fear of crime being the problem rather than the reality!
I was glad to get moored outside Stoke. It's not the quietest spot but it's green and there is a walk for Bonny. I had thought about going on to Trentham Lock and mooring near the Wedgewood pottery but my foot is continuing to cause me pain and it had done enough locks for the day! Maybe tomorrow if I need to restore before the next 8 locks!