The first in an occasional series.....
Not having been able to get up to Norbury Junction and take any photos in the current snowy weather I thought I'd use the excuse of having just acquired a 35mm slide scanner to post some photos of the last time I went boating in extreme conditions.
In the 1970s I regularly joined a group of friends to hire a boat over the New Year. It wasn't that we particularly wanted to go boating at that time of year, but it was very cheap -all we could afford - and it provided an excuse for getting away from our families after Christmas!
Over the New Year of 1976/7 we hired two 70ft'ers from what was then Willow Wren Kearns (now Middlewich Narrowboats) one of which was "Sycamore", in an abortive attempt to do the then newly re-opened Cheshire Ring.Travelling anti-clockwise, by New Year's Eve we had reached Marple and had started to experience problems with ice. In fact, after stopping for the night we had to call out the boatyard as water was pouring into the boat through the stern tube, presumably as a result of repeated "full ahead" followed by "full astern" as we tried to make progress. At Marple, we found that there had been an unexpected stoppage somewhere further on, so the decision was taken to turn back and retrace our steps to Middlewich.
This one, however, is definitely lock 11 at Bosley, where we were having difficulty in getting round the turn due to the ice.
The ice got steadily worse as we continued south as can be seen from the following photos: (again, any advice on locations welcome)
We struggled on as far as Congleton, where the ice finally defeated us.....
.....and where the ice was thick enough to bare the weight of a man - or at least of Grahame
We abandoned the trip here, but not before someone had thought to offer our services to Willow Wren Kearns to take the boats back to Middlewich for them after the thaw. We thought of it as a free boating holiday - they, no doubt, were glad of the free labour and to be relieved of an onerous task!
In posting these photos I've noticed that I haven't scanned them particularly well and some of them at least need cropping to eliminate the dark borders. Forgive me - I'm new to this, and will try and do better before I post any more.