Saturday, 25 July 2015

Lovely Barnton Cut

Sunday 19th July; Frodsham Cut to Barnton Cut.

It was wet and windy overnight and first thing this morning, but had cleared up by the time we were ready to leave.  The Runcorn Rowers were out again but had mostly returned to base before we left.  We saw a kingfisher and two Great Crested Grebes on our way back upstream.  The Devil’s Garden mooring was a lot busier than it had been the other night - 4 boats were moored – but there was still space for a couple more.

1 devils garden quite busy

We tied up on the lock landing before Dutton locks.  We hadn’t phoned ahead, as when we came down the other day the lockie told us not to bother, as the signal was so poor.  While he prepared the lock I took a snap of the info board the owner of had put up.  It’s hard to read because of the shadows – the lock dimensions are 225’ by 42’.  Quite big.

2 dutton locks facts

The river path here is part of National Cycle Network 5.  We have found towpath cyclists in the north and midlands to be pretty respectful of pedestrians, and ring their bells or call a polite warning when they are coming up behind you.  Even in London they warn you of their approach, unlike a lot of cyclists in the south-west, who seem to think you have eyes in the back of your head.  Which is stupid, because if they warned you (pedestrians, runners, slower cyclists) of their approach then you would move aside before they reached you and they wouldn’t need to slow down so much.

Anyway, we were joined by nb Nestor, who had been moored at Devil's Garden for a couple of days.  They had managed after three tries to leave a voicemail for the lockie.  We paused briefly at Acton Bridge to drop off some rubbish then followed Nestor to Saltersford lock.  A cruiser had swept past us on our way but was made to wait by the lockie while the three narrowboats got sorted – share boat Winthorpe was already there, having been moored at Acton Bridge.  Like us they had turned at Marsh lock yesterday and must have gone back upstream while we were walking along Frodsham Cut.

3 in saltersford lock

The cruiser also had to wait while the narrowboats left the lock – I seem to remember on the Thames they let the plastic boats go first.  Not here though!  We moored at the lovely Barnton Cut moorings for lunch, and decided to stay put.

After lunch we walked up a footpath to meet the canal towpath where it runs along the top of Barnton Tunnel.  We knew where we were because we could see the top of a ventilation shalt.

6 vent shaft barnton tunnel

The shop is five minutes walk from the eastern tunnel portal and has a very good range of items, so it’s one we will remember for future use.  It is open long hours too – until 8 on a Sunday. We took an alternative path back which was rather overgrown.  We spotted this large bracket fungus which had unfortunately been knocked off its tree stump.

5 bracket fungus

Later on we rubbed down the second dinette window and Dave got a coat of varnish on.  He was just putting things away when he looked up to see Meg on the bank limping towards him.  We have no idea what had happened – there was nothing sticking in her paw, no blood, no apparent problem with her shoulder, just a sore paw.  What to do?  She was not upset in any way, and apart from not putting weight on that leg she behaved as normal.  So we found a couple of vets on the very slow connection, and planned to go straight up to Northwich in the morning.  We had intended to spend another day here getting on with some jobs, but with the weather likely to be a bit damp we didn’t mind cutting our stay short.  Meg’s more important than paintwork after all.

7 and a half miles, 2 locks

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