A bit of a late start this morning, I got engrossed in Melvin Brag on radio 4 "In our Time" all about how and why birds migrate, so it was 1030hrs when a boat came down Hunts Lock that we set off. This saves the lock keepers a bit of work as the locks are manual and the gates have to be wound open on quadrants. Between the big lock and the small one there are the remains of some old gas lights.
On the bird front, first we saw a blackbird with a white chest, it looked almost like a Magpie when it flew off, but didn't get a photo, then this rook with white spots, you can just see one under his chin.
The lock keeper rang ahead to Vale Royal Locks for us and told us there was a boat coming down, he also told us that they had removed the quadrants at Vale Royal and the lock keepers were winching the bottom gate open and closed. When we arrived at the lock the gate was open and we went straight in, you can see where the quadrant should be. Once in the lock keeper on the off side pulled the gate shut with a petrol winch like this one, used to pull the gate open.
We carried on past the end of CRT controlled waters into the bottom flash to moor at the town quay, its starting to look a bit run down with boards lifting and weeds growing, also its silting up and we couldn't get against the edge, only the bows in. I know the water is low at the moment which didn't help. After lunch Diana went to buy BBQ food while I filled with water. This could be a lovely venue and its a pity its not better used or looked after. Looking back in the flash there was what looked like a fishing machine, where a net dips into the water, often see abroad, but it turned out to be nothing more than a trampoline, goodness knows how it got out there and I expect it will stay until it rots.
As we were backing our a chap was pumping up an inflatable stand up paddle board, he passed us later when we had moored up for the night. He stopped for a chat but like all these inflatable things it seemed very driven by the wind.
We have moored opposite the last winding hole on the river but not needed unless you are a lot longer than us as we can turn with ease up by The Red Lion.