South west for winter: Day 5
Day 5: Leaf drop day
Hassall Green to Wheelock: 2 miles, 10 locks
Away, away from the noise!
The M6 is a constant presence at Hassall Green: when inside the boat cabin the traffic roar is just a faint and indistinct background sound, but outside the noise is inescapable.
Locks 58 (a pair) are visible from the southbound motorway – if you know when to look. It’s quite noticeable though that once a boat drops down inside the lock chamber the noise is far less sharp – and once you walk or cruise underneath a motorway bridge the noise is even more muted.
The locks come frequently. The paddle gear on some is painfully stiff and rusted up. It was encouraging therefore at Lock 60 to see some maintenance work going on, the cogs of the paddle gear being painstakingly cleaned out and new grease being applied.
There’s a golf course at Malkin’s Bank, its clubhouse close to the canal. Somehow it seems a more prominent presence these days, an A board enticing towpath users to buy refreshments (on an eat in or a takeaway basis). A peep across the road from the bridge at the bottom end of the lock revealed flags and signs for a golf shop… not the retail opportunity that boaters usually relish!
Onward – 3 locks still to go. FALL. How abruptly has come the change from leaf glory to leaf fall… Suddenly the grass areas were carpeted with leaves ; lock beams and lock gate platforms had become leaf sprinkled.
Canal side Wheelock has a services area and just along the (traffic busy) street is a small shop. Is there anything else to this village was the challenge Boatwif set herself this afternoon. Despite a bypass the Crewe-Sandbach road passes through and traffic seems heavy. A pet food place dominates the main street, a Congregational Church is an attractive building up the hill towards Sandbach
Often seen from the canal (in the Middlewich direction) is a Kingdom Hall (Jehovah’s Witness Church) . A Google search has revealed that there is also an Anglican Church, (not discovered on Boatwif’s stroll). So Wheelock has an abundance of worship places – if only it wasn’t blighted by the road traffic…
Leaf soup permitting Cleddau will cruise on tomorrow, 14¼ miles, 7 locks still to go.