One of the disadvantages of hiring a boat is you feel the need, or are required by time, to constantly keep moving. The situation isn’t helped when the literature from some hire boat companies advise a journey can be completed in an optimistic timeframe. I remember the year we completed the Four Counties Ring. We decided to book the boat for 10 days instead of the suggested seven. It wasn’t leisurely cruising, however we did have time for some brief scenic stops. Another boat with a young family seem to be keeping pace with us until we reached Great Haywood on the second evening. They thought the journey was going well until they discovered we were doing the ring in 10 days whilst they had 6.5 days; and had already used two of them. When we woke in the morning they had long gone and I can imagine it would have been a very busy holiday.
When booking a boat in 2005 for the Cheshire Ring we allocated two weeks. This gave us some time to visit Bugsworth Basin and even a short portion of the Caldon Canal. Even then I tend to complete the first half of the planned trip in less than 50% of the total time as you never know what might occur. When we reached Bosley Locks there was a long queue of boats waiting to go down. Walking to the flight I found the bottom of one lock was at the surface.
We lost almost one day waiting for the hard working BW crew to repair the collapsed lock sill. One boat crew from the same hire company simply ran out of time and abandoned the boat leaving it for the hire company to recover.
On a more positive note, we met a lovely English couple at Manchester who were also doing the ring for the first time. We discovered travelling with company was a far more pleasant experience. Hopefully we will met Joyce and John again when we get to live on the cut.
One other thing I’ve noticed is how reserved a small number boaters can be. Perhaps it is because I’m on holiday and happy with the world! Whereas they don’t appear to see me, looking stoically ahead when I utter a cheerful greeting! Although on one occasion I did get a reply and was told “Go back where you bloody came from!” To which I doffed my hat and wished him a pleasant day. No ignorant curmudgeon was going to spoil my fun! Others are more than happy to let the hire boat crew do all the work at the locks. It’s almost as if we hire boaters are apprentices and should be doing all the manual labour. However these people are a very small minority which is why we are so enthusiastic about our plans for life on Waiouru.
If my memory is correct this is Hall Green Lock on the Macclesfield Canal. It’s a stop lock at 6” deep with a pretty canal cottage beside it. The occupant had placed out a range of wares to tempt passing boaters. Jan was tempted!