Friday, 16 October 2015

The start of October and still glorious

We’re home again, and it’s a lot chillier than it was when we started over two weeks ago …….

Thursday 1st October; Swanley marina to Coole Pilate

After paying our dues at Swanley marina, and taking on some fuel, we were on our way to the Hurleston locks by 10.  Although we were behind a couple of boats we were soon round the junction and on our way to Nantwich.  The traffic on the Shroppie was a lot less than when we came down the short bit from Barbridge junction in August!  It’s a few years since we came this way but we were soon seeing familiar sights such as the wooden horse at Nantwich.

1 wooden horse at Natwich

We had hoped to moor at Nantwich and visit the town, which we’ve never actually done before, but the moorings were chocker till we got to the aqueduct.  There the towpath (and the easy access to town from the moorings the other side) was closed, as the aqueduct is being/has been sandblasted and, judging by the smell, is being painted too.  We couldn’t actually see anything but the sheeting.

2 nantwich aqueduct

Further on there is a big new estate below the embankment, and there are ‘no mooring’ signs along here.  I have to say my first thought was ‘how lovely to look out of your bedroom window and watch the boats go by’, but then I remembered the towpath strollers and thought again. I didn't see any net curtains though – perhaps they are all exhibitionists in Nantwich!

3 maybe need net curtains

There is a bridge called David’s Bridge as you leave Nantwich.  I had a picture of Dave looking rather unimpressed but it was a bit blurry so it’s just his right shoulder in this photo.

4 davids bridge

After a break for lunch, when I got some more blackberries, we came up Hack Green locks.  There have been a lot of farmyard aromas around – this was why ……

5 slurry spreading

The slurry is sprayed out so finely it’s no wonder the pong spreads itself about a bit.  However, Hack Green locks are still very pretty in the autumn sunshine. 

6 hack green bottom lock

We visited the Secret Bunker a few years ago (it’s now on the brown tourist signs on the roads, so not very secret now).  It was fascinating, especially for people of our vintage.  But we didn’t hang around today, and pottered gently down to the Coole Pilate moorings, where we pulled in just before the bit with the picnic benches.  This is one of our favourite moorings.  I left Dave rubbing down the cratch board and went off with Meg in search of a damson tree I had read about in someone’s blog.  Success – it is at the southern end of the moorings, and there was enough fruit still in reach for a bowlful.  I then had a lovely cup of tea and read the paper in the sunshine while Dave soldiered on with his painting.  His choice!

7 mooring at coole pilate

This is just a super mooring spot.  Wonderful.

6 locks, 8 miles, 4 hours.

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