It was grey and bleak as we set off this morning, after a very quiet night at Barbridge. It's amazing how being just a little way back from the main road makes such a difference. Before long we were passing Hurleston Junction, which is the start of the Llamgollen canal. Then it was on through Nantwich, where the moorings on the embankment were quite busy.
At Bridge 91 I could see something strange happening just through the bridge: someone was getting bucketfuls of water from the canal, and throwing them apparently at the bridge. As we went through the bridge, all became clear. CRT staff had been clearing undergrowth from the offside, where there's a stop gate in the bridge hole. In doing so, they'd disturbed a wasps' nest, and there were dozens of somewhat dozy wasps flying around. Buckets of water weren't having much effect.
A little further along, there wer clouds of smoke coming from the back of a boat. I thought there'd must be major engine problems, but it turned out the chap had a barbecue on his semi-trad stern deck.
At Hack Green lock, we were back to narrow locks again. There had been a procession of boats in the other direction, and we we're able to go straight into the first lock. There'd was also a boat coming down the second lock.
But when the boat emerged, the gates were closed and the locks was turned. Both the crews involved blamed the other for not spotting us coming.
As we headed towards Audlem, the weather took a turn for the worse, with cold rain and squally winds. We made a decision to go up two of the locks and try to stop for lunch - probably a first on this trip as we normally eat on the move. There was a suitable spot available, so we moored up, ate, and then went for a walk around Audlem. If anything, it's even nicer than it was a few years ago, when we regularly came through on our share boat, Debdale. There's a nice butcher, where we bought some chicken stir fry for dinner, and a useful Co-op where we bought a few top up groceries.
Returning to the boat, we decided that as it had stopped raining we should head up the locks. For a moment, the sun even came out. We passed a procession of boats coming down, including Lizzie and Chis on Shimshams, Braidbar no 101, whom we saw at the owners' weekend earlier in the month. It was good to catch up, even if only in passing.
The rain came back, but it's still a very pretty flight of locks.
We stopped at the Coxbank moorings, two locks from the top. It's a lovely quiet spot that we stayed at a number of times on Debdale.
10 miles, 15 locks. (257 miles, 152 locks)