Day 2 – Middlewich – Wheelock

Hours Cruised – 4

Interesting people met – 2 – including an itinerant blacksmith

Idiots encountered – Too many to mention

Classic album – Rush – Moving Pictures

Day two, and the objective is Wheelock, and the Barchetta Italian restaurant. Based simply on that fact, today’s classic album has to be Moving Pictures by Canadian prog gods Rush – Those who don’t get the reference need to listen to the album (track 2).

First stop was Middlewich big lock, and encounter with interesting person number 1. Local guy, obviously a professional gongoozler who knows the canal well, and willing to deliver advice on lock operation to anyone who would listen. However he did have a very cute border collie named Meg, so he was obviously a sound individual.

Past big lock, we moored up just behind a narrowboat pair (Emily & Bronte), and interesting person 2, but more of that later.

Into Middlewich to stock up with provisions, with visits to butchers bakers and in lieu of a candlestick maker, Tesco! Though interestingly interesting person 2 did make candlesticks.

So we get to Bronte & Emily, and interesting person 2 – Working from the narrowboat pair (Bronte housed his forge) was an itinerent blacksmith, selling a range of ironwork, from candlesticks, to  fire irons & door knockers. Apparently he build Bronte, (the tug of the pair) 22 years ago, and has been travelling the waterways since, plying his trade – #livingthedream. If you want to check out his work, his website is

Back on board having purchased a birthday present ( can’t say what as the recipient may read this and don’t want to spoil the surprise, but needless to say it may be a forge fabricated gift!) we set off to negotiate Middlewich locks, and this is where our day was beset by idiots – (warning – the following paragraphs contain a rant – skip forward to “rant over”  if you want to avoid it.

Middlewich locks are tight at the best of times with short pounds, and a rather interesting 90 degree bend between locks 73 And 72 (going up). This arrangement is no problem if you take the “One up, One down approach”. In this way, two boats leave their respective lock, cross in the pound, enter the next lock and continue on their way – simples!

So Why oh Why did people coming down think it was a good idea, despite a boat coming up the lock below, to refill their lock and follow the boat in front down, thus resulting in 3 boats in a very small pound trying hard to avoid each other and the sides of the overflowing pound!! Add into this the 90 degree bend, and …. ( you get the picture). What’s worse is that it doesn’t save them any time, as they simply then have to wait in the next pound. At least it gives them a chance to get over the stress that their lack of forethought has caused them and everyone else.

What makes it worse is that when you point out that manoeuvering is going to get tricky, the response is, “don’t worry, he’s very experienced” …. AAARGH. You could almost understand if the culprits were novices!


Above Kings lock, we decided to stop for lunch. (Mettricks pork pies this time – last of the Mettricks stash). 30 mins later, blood pressure back to normal, about to set off, and a boat pulls out behind us. It’s decision time, there’s a lock 200 yards ahead – do you let them pass? Of course you do! That way you are doing the hassling from behind!

2 hrs later arrive at Wheelock. Sat outside the Barchetta restaurant enjoying a beer in the sun, and who should arrive but friends from home! I really must check the boat for tracking devices! Nice surprise though and a chance to see the photos from the Big Geordie Wedding.

Evening finished with a great meal at the Barchetta, and back to the boat for Eurovision – obviously. Smart money suggest the UK stand a chance of doing well this year – will they never learn!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *