We’re on the last stage of our summer cruise. Should be easy, one would think. It’s the eighth time we do this stretch. And yes, we’re doing fine.

Until… I get to my favorite spot: Middlewich Junction. Of course it is very, very windy. But I’m sure I manage. Out of the lock, turning left as soon as I’m away of the bridge, but… WRT still decides to make a wide swing. Not a problem. A bit more throttle and… I see another narrowboat heading towards me. If I give it full throttle I will certainly hit him, because he can’t see me at the moment. So I decide to slow down a little.

WRONG

The wind blows me straight onto the new mooring, someone built there.
But, after the oncoming boat is out of the way and moored up across from me, WRT is going nowhere.

Middleridge

I’m stuck. Barge pole out: nothing.
Rock the boat: nothing.
Meanwhile it starts to rain.

HEAVILY!
A deluge! And Lawrance is on the other side, without any rain gear, and with no way to get to me.

I try whatever I can think of. With no result.
The ‘oncoming narrowboat’ is willing to let off his back rope and ferry Lawrance across the canal onto WRT.

Middlewich Ferry

Finally, after an hour of absolute pouring rain WRT moves. Lessons learned on the Mon&Brec about using the barge pole do come in handy.
Needles to say that at the same moment the rain stops…

Two days later I face another day of hurricane force winds. The early start I wanted gets delayed because our header tank cap is missing, and nowhere to be found. It’s still dark, long after dawn, and the sun turns red, so Lawrance keeps telling me it’s not the sun, it’s Mars.

Just before Ophelia hits Sale, we’re moored up safely.

After getting grounded before Poolstock Lock 1 there is only one bad day left. We’re trying to make the marina, because there is another storm coming. We leave Wigan early-ish, the weather is still fine. By the time we get to Dean lock, it starts to get dark, so I put on my water proofs, leave my glasses off and wear my boater’s hat.

After five locks and three swing bridges I feel water running into my bra. I already know that my jumper, polo shirt and arms are soaked. My boater’s hat turns out not to be water proof, so my hair is soaked, and I can hardly see, with all the water in my eyes.

We get as far as the Farmers Arms. Have a meal there, dry out, and go to sleep.

Finally, on the 20th of October we’re back home.

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