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  • clivenmel

Oct 18th

Normal 0 false false false st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0cm; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} We�re still here!   We got up early this morning � 06.30am!  We knew we had a long gruelling day in front of us and also we had to be at Lock No 65 for 08.30am to meet the BW man who was going to unlock the locks for us.  So we set off at 07.15am � the first part of the trip was very easy, just a gentle cruise, one lock (No 64) and then a lift bridge!  The bridge was a bit of a puzzle at first, there were four boxes each with a red and white barrier for stopping the traffic, there was a small building and no obvious instructions or control pad, then I found it several yards away from the bridge!  After that it was very easy, put the BW key in the lock, turn it and press the UP button � piece of cake!  The barriers came down and the bridge started to rise.  A van pulled up at the barrier and the driver got out with a big beaming smile on his face � he said �I have lived here for years and I have never seen this bridge working�.  He was fascinated watching it working and the boat coming through � I think I made his day!  After that it was plain sailing and finally the dreaded lock 65 came into view and lo and behold it was open and we could just cruise straight in.  We were met by two BW guys, Paul and Karl, who introduced themselves and gave us our instructions for the trip down to Manchester.  They told us that they would go ahead and set some of the locks for us, Paul gave us his phone number and told us to phone if we had any problems, then we were on our own!   To be honest it was nowhere near as bad as we had thought, we didn�t see a single troglodyte or bandit, in fact everyone we met was very friendly.  It was a bit odd doing one of the locks right next to a pub where one guy was well into his cups and it was only 09.45!  The only other problem we encountered was at one lock which the BW guys hadn�t set � I opened the rear paddles to start filling the lock and it seemed to be taking ages.  The next lock was very close so I trotted off down there to get that one ready and as I was on my way back up to the first lock I noticed the water was swirling in the canal � that shouldn�t be happening yet I thought � sure enough when I got back to the lock I realised that somebody had left the front paddle open and the water was running out as fast as it was running in, which is why the lock wasn�t filling!  There was a young man hanging about the lock, looking quite interested (is he a bandit I�m thinking?) and happily smoking a joint whilst his lovely dog was tearing about having a whale of a time � he had noticed it wasn�t filling too but hadn�t realised the paddle was open.  He was very pleasant and asked all about our boat and where were we going, been etc etc.    A couple of locks further down and Karl was waiting for us.  He said he had finished all the other jobs he needed to do and would now be with us for the rest of the trip down to Manchester.  It was great having his help with the rest of the locks and it cut down the time considerably.  We did have a few hairy moments with flooding though, there were a couple of locks that were totally underwater and water was pouring over the front gates as well.  I had to paddle through the deluge to get to the front gates and open a paddle to let some of the water out before I could get to the rear gates to open them! Anyway, we finally arrived at Lock No 83 just after 2.00pm and finally parted company with Karl who went on his way with our grateful thanks.  We decided we had had enough after 19 locks and decided to moor up in the Piccadilly Basin in the middle of Manchester.  Its actually very pleasant and surprisingly very quiet!  It seems a strange mooring as we have been used to more rural moorings, but it will do nicely.

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