We decided not to film our return journey a) because we were now going to head for the Llangollen Canal and we had already filmed that section of the Trent and Mersey twice b) it gives us a break from filming and c) we were about 7 weeks behind with filming so it gives us a chance to catch up with ourselves.
8th September to 16th September 2020 (not filmed)
We leave our mooring at Froghall after our 24 hour stay and over the next week we return to Etruria. The weather is now quite hot and humid during the day but with some rather chilly evenings. At Cheddletton, we stay for a few days and we meet up with Pats sister Carol and brother in law Colin. We manage to take in a visit to Cheddleton flint Mill and return to their caravan which is near the Tissington Trail, where we had a lovely walk. As Cheddleton was only 48 hour moorings we moved down to the moorings outside the Hollybush Inn where we stayed for a further 48 hours and enjoyed a couple of meals at the pub with Carol and Colin.
On 15th September we had a lovely cruise from engine Lock to Etruria, where we stayed overnight and managed a trip to Tesco to stock up on provisions. The following day we cruised onto Westport Lake where again we stayed for a couple of days, visited the Aldi and took a cold but lovely walk around the lake.
18th September 2020
Our passage through Harecastle tunnel was booked for 9am, so we left the Lakes at around 8am. It was a cold start to the day but it soon warmed up, and we arrived at the tunnel entrance at around 0830 only to find 6 boats in front of us. Of course this meant that there would be 6 boats in front of us going down Heartbreak Hill!! We stopped at the boaters services to allow some time for the other boats to sort themselves out but in the end we decided to stop at Church Lawton as there were still 4 boats waiting to go through each lock.
We completed the remaining Cheshire Locks to Wheelock the following day. We really love this section of the Trent and Mersey as it is so isolated but after 20 locks we were knackered and really understood why the old boatman called this section Heartbreak Hill!
20th September to 1st October 2020
We made our way up to Middlewich where we stayed for a few days. We had the Webasto boiler serviced at Kings Lock and we ordered Pat some new glasses. ( He had broken his frames a few weeks beforehand and was wearing them all glued up!). We cruised up to Park Farm Marina where we left NB Dunworkin while we visited my sister in Wiltshire to celebrate my 60th birthday.
2nd October to 11th October 2020
Left Park Farm Marina and moored at the flashes for a couple of days where we met Pete and Ali from Moor 2 Explore who moored up behind us. On the 5th October we moved back to Middlewich where we picked up Pats new glasses and met up with Mark and Debbie from Well Deck Diaries. Sadly she had just had investigations into breast cancer which later proved positive, we wish her all the best with her ongoing treatment.
On the 7th October we cruised through the Middlewich Locks and onto the Middlewich Canal and moored at the 2018 breach site where we met up with Martin and Mandella on Beau Romer, another Bickerstaffe boat and also Jenny and Trevor from Life of Riley whom we last met on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal more than a year ago! These two lovely couples had met on the Llangollen canal and were now travelling together.
The weather was wet and windy for the next couple of days so we didn't leave our mooring until 11th October, when it was bright and sunny so we moved up to a mooring by Aqueduct Marina which is where we take up filming again!
12th October 2020
Following a break from filming you catch up with us on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. Heading West, we pass Aqueduct Marina, Church Minshull Lock, Venetian Marina and Cholmondeston Lock before turning South at Barbridge Junction. We contacted Dave on NB Snowgoose to let him know when we would be arriving at Cholmondeston Lock and he came out in the rain to assist our passage through the lock. (Thanks Dave!!)
We soon arrive at Hurleston Junction and ascend the 4 locks here. With a total rise of just over 34 ft (10.4m) , the first lock (Lock 4) we encounter has been subjected to recent major repair work undertaken last winter. The Canal and River Trust have built a hidden retaining wall behind the original brickwork as movement of the 233 year old lock wall, meant that passage for narrow boats had become increasingly difficult. Opened on 1805 the lock flight was built by famous canal engineers John Fletcher and Thomas Telford.
We stop at the boaters facilities at the top of the locks before torrential rain stops us and we moor just pass Bridge 1A on the Llangollen Canal.