Thursday 9th February. "Hazel" the boat was in Stalybridge but we needed her in Ashton for the Valentines trips (still undersubscribed if you and your lover would like to book a place). Anyway, it was an excuse for a training trip.Tony had invited his friend Joe who found us after a mystery tour of Ashton. We took "Forget me Not" up the 3 locks to Stayley Wharf, Kim Tranter having his first go at boat steering, which he took to like a duck to water. We then left her in the care of Joan Wainwright while the rest of us walked up to Knowl St Heritage Boatyard to collect "Hazel".
Nigel Carpenter shafted the boat down to the winding hole and winded her, before working down lock 7.
Jannice Brown and Barry Atherton joined us Tony Hewitson bowhauled down the locks through Stalybridge town centre. George Hewitt took on her usual role of lockwheeler in chief.
It was a dull cold day with occassional flurries of snow so everyone was well wrapped up but in good spirits.
Back at Stayley Wharf, Joan had been heating up some delicious soup that had been donated by Bev Ackford who was unfortunately unable to join us for the trip. This was shared out and consumed as Joan steered us along the long pound to lock 3.
Then down the two locks and along the next pound to lock 1.
From lock 1 it was a level run through the Asda tunnel to Portland basin, where our crew made an excellent job of breasting up with minimal instruction from me.
It was an excellent trip. Everyone worked well together and enjoyed themselves, mostly just seeing what needed doing and doing it without having to be told.
When we were tied up, some had to go, but the rest of us went up to the shop as it was Hazel the person's leaving do. After a little mix up we found her in the nearby Station Hotel where she organises a Knitting and Crocheting session on a Thursday afternoon. For the last 2 years Hazel Mayow has been our volunteer organiser but, now that the funding has run out, we'll have to organise ourselves or return to anarchy. Hazel has a liking for cake, so we covered the pub table with extreme ceam cakes from the Polish shop. Poles seem to excel in the art of cake making. Luckily Hazel hasn't completely gone as she wil be coing back as a volunteer. I took my camera with me but clean forgot to take photographs, sorry.
All in all it was an excellent day. Thanks everyone.