THE CHESHIRE RING
29th June - 6th July 2019
The intrepid narrowboating crew set off from Alan's house at
10:30am on Saturday morning, on-route for the Black Prince boatyard at Acton
Bridge, Cheshire. Bob met them at the boatyard and they attended the
briefing with Danny from the boatyard about the latest dangers of the Cheshire
Ring. It was warned that high rainfalls in the Pennines were causing
excessive flow down the Rochdale canal making the central Manchester locks
impassable. The crew were concerned, but not worried.
Saturday 29th June
(Really hot and sunny)
- The excited crew left Alan's House in Tom's car
arriving at the boatyard before 1am, with Bob arriving only minutes later.
After the briefing by Danny, the boatyard owners, about the dangers of
Manchester, the crew were allowed to set off almost immediately. The
crew were alarmed to find that the boat was facing away from Manchester, due
to the impassable locks. However, they quickly located a winding hole
only 10 minutes from the boatyard and turned the boat to head northwards
toward Manchester. The Preston Brook tunnel (1,239yds) was
traversed at high speed as they were just outside the time window for safe
passage, but all went according to plan. On reaching Stockton Heath
the crew hurried to 'The London Bridge, where good food and ale was served to
the hungry crew.
Saturday 30th June
(Warm, but overcast)
- Knowing that an easy, no locks, day was head of them,
the crew decided to take a diversion to view the Manchester ship canal.
Quickly mooring the crew set
off on foot to view the giant Latchford Locks on the Manchester Ship
Conditions were good as Bob
gently guided the narrowboat through Sale on-route for the centre of
A special space had been
reserved for 'The Narrowboat Evie' in the Castlefields area of
Monday 1st July
(Overcast with a cold wind and a little light rain, but turning better in the
- The crew awoke early to setoff on a long and
torturous day, departing at 7am.
As the crew
approached the first of the 9 giant Manchester locks, they realised
that Danny at the boatyard was correct and that the floods coming
down the Rochdale canal were overwhelming the canal, making it
impassable for normal narrowboaters. They knew however,
that their immense strength would overcome this minor annoyance.
- All continued well until they turned onto the Ashton Canal and saw to
their horror what appeared to be an abandoned narrowboat in the entrance to
lock 15. On closer inspection the crew were seen hiding in the boat,
having called the emergency number for the Canals and Rivers Trust.
It appeared that one of the lock gates could not be opened fully to allow
the narrowboat to enter the lock. The engineer from the CRT arrived
shortly afterwards and using a grappling iron and fork managed to move the
obstruction sufficiently to allow the reopening of the canal.
- Two more stops have to be made whilst Alan cleared the snagged propeller
with first a canvas bag and rope and secondly with a tarpaulin. The crew
realised that they would be unlikely to arrive at their planned destination
until close on 7pm, making over a 12 hour cruising day.
- Will they succeed?
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