June, and delivery of Chrissie

So on the 7th June we left Crick to retrace our journey all the way back to Aston Marina.
Our car was still in Aston Marina so we loaded it up and went home for a coule of days with anything we thought we could do without for the rest of the journey. Returning from Devon with the car, less the back seats making more room for everything left onboard.
Next logistical issue was getting the car to the end, and we have to thank old friends Bob and Gill in Stone for running us backwards and forwards.
Finally leaving Aston Marina on the 24th of june and off towards Stoke-on-Trent. We still had the advertising boards from Crick so were able to drop them off at Longport Wharf where Stoke Boats are. And then further on to Harecastle Tunnel, Red Bull and then “Heartbreak Hill” which is a series of 31 Locks from Harecastle in 14 miles, mostly double locks all the way to Middlewhich.
And then turn onto the Midlewhich Branch of the Shropshire Union and just 2 more Locks to Aqueduct Marina.
All canals we’d done before many times over the years.

Turning onto the Middlewhich branch and imediatly into “Maureens Lock” Maureen lived at the lock for many years right up to here passing in 2012. She used to help boaters through the lock and we remember chatting to her on more than one occasion.
If you can read the plaque here it’s an amazing story.

Its the last few miles now before we reach Aqeduct Marina where we leave Chrissie.
Over the years we’ve struck up a friendship with the Cafe owners at Cafe Bon Bon in Middlewich and we wanted to say Hi and bye-for-now. We’ve had some memorable visits there, great cakes and snacks and a good atmosphere too. Good to get the last provisions in Middlewich before hand-over to the boys.
Our little Fiesta was rammed full of our belongings, and on the 31st June we handed over and travelled back to Devon.
Safe cruising Barry and Richard, enjoy.

Summary.
Jill and I have had a great time with Chrissie since launch in 2016. Thank you Stoke Boats.
She was all we had hoped for, and designed for. COVID meant we were unable to cruise in 2020 and a limited time during 2021.
It was obvious in 2021 that generally the Canals were changing in many ways.
We had possibly had the best of times since our first boat together back in the early 70s, even before our children were born, and then when they were growing up we had some great holidays on Narrowboats.
Chrissie was a 5-6 year plan, as we are getting older we just needed to do it while we could, without putting us under strain.
Anyway, we’re back home now in Exeter and looking forward to more settled times in the Westcountry.
Thank you Jilly for being with me, there was no way I could have done it without you, you steered in and out of the locks faultlessly and showed that Ladies are capable of steering without bashing into the locks.
You kept me, and many visitors well fed and watered. And as for the 2 daily Scrabble games, you’re better than me, most times.
We may be back in a hire boat one day and do some of the canals in the NE we didn’t do.

I hope you can find the time to read some of our other cruising years, or explore the website further.

Here’s  some silly statistics, we used 3,214 litres of diesel, did 1,427 hours cruising, went through at least 1,485 Locks, and covered over 2,592 miles.