Heartbreak Hill is the name given to the 26 locks, many of which are duplicated, that take you up or down the Trent & Mersey between Kidsgrove and Wheelock – a distance of about seven miles. It’s a bit of a misnomer I reckon – I’ve always found the journey up or down enjoyable even when the weather’s a bit unreliable as it was last Thursday.
The double locks mean that there’s not a great deal of queuing. We were the fifth in a line of boats going down and didn’t have to wait for more than a few minutes at any lock. Vivien and Stuart on nb Fayrewood were in front of us and often managed to prep one of the lock chambers for us while they worked through the other one. When we caught up with them at single locks there was plenty of time for a natter and I could return the favour by helping them through.
In front of them was a single hander on nb Cailin (pronounced Colleen) – a lovely bloke who, despite working through on his own, still found time to ‘crack a paddle’ for Vivien and Stuart behind him so that the lock was ready for them when they arrived.
There were plenty of breaks in the weather and loads to look at along the way……
…including a rather good view of the M6.
Despite the fact that the traffic seemed to be flowing well I was glad that we were travelling in a more sedate fashion.
After an overnight stop at Wheelock, we headed on towards Middlewich. We’ve never gone north from here before having always turned left onto the Middlewich Arm of the Shropshire Union at the junction below Kings Lock.
Everything for the next three months or so is going to be new territory for us and I’m really looking forward to the journey.