Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Marina Wednesday 4 January 2017

The wind picked up a bit overnight, not steady but just the odd gust.This morning was another fine day and even a bit warmer than yesterday, I didn’t even put the insulated overalls on.

The Broken Cross club are extending the moorings at Bramble DSCF6687Cuttings at the moment, I noticed that some of the mooring rings have 1989 cast into the concrete bases, so its a long term project.  One set of rails has been restored, this is where theDSCF6685 tubs of clay would have been pushed down and tipped into the waiting boats.

I made a comment earlier that I have not seen any Kingfishers this trip then on the last morning I see 3 in ¾ of an hour between Bramble Cuttings and out moorings. An unfortunate photo as the DSCF6689camera was set for landscapes and I didn’t have my glasses on to see to reset it, so it was point and shoot, the Kingfisher didn’t fly away and should have made a great photo.

On our way out we passed a pile of lorry tyres dumped into the canal, CRT were on their way to retrieve them, we met them at Middlewich Locks and were able to pinpoint where they where.DSCF6696 As you can see its a very convenient point to fly tip right beside the lane.

Back at the marina firstly we unloaded the boat to the car, then drained the water, I drain the potable water system all the way back to the isolation valve on the outlet to the cold water storage tank. Once that was all done there was the final task before we could set off home and that was to remove the 24 volt alternator, it had been making some protesting noises for some time and when I got it off there must have been a good 5mm end play in the shaft so it may be passed saving.

Today’s Journey map 17 3 miles, no locks in 1 hour.
So in this 16 day trip we did 122 miles, 58 locks in 59 hours.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Bramble Cutting 03 January 2017

yesterday evening when we walked to The Badger pub it was freezing quite hard and when we returned to the boat it was even freezing harder. As a result of this I expected to find the canal well frozen this morning, so we were in no hurry to get up. As it turned out the temperature shot up overnight and any ice on the canal this morning was very thin. Things got even better when two boats passed breaking up what was there.

We set off behind them at 11 am. The architecture here is quite striking, on one side of the canal in Minshull Wharf with all itsDSCF6665 curves and the other side a very square farm house, even the eves are squared off between the chimneys above the roof line. DSCF6667 On lots of the canal there was no ice at all and the broken stuff was probably only 2-3mm thick. The boat ahead of us winded at the first winding hole he came to  and the second moored up just before Stanthorne Lock, even so all the locks were against us. We stopped briefly for lunch just above Wardle Lock and then dropped down, turning right to fill up with diesel at Kings Lock Chandlery. Coming out of the junction from Wardle Lock there was a boat moored almost opposite on the very end of Kings Lock Chandlery’s moorings which tightened the turn a bit. The boat had quite an unusual bow.DSCF6668 With 170lts of diesel onboard we backed up and winded at the junction, needless to say just as I got to 90° across the cut the wind picked up and tried to take me sideways towards Kings Lock, but it failed.

This winter CRT replaced the bottom gates of Middlewich top lock, its a pity they didn’t have a tin of grease in the toolbox, I did oil the spindles via the oil holes with my oil can.DSCF6672 As we entered the top lock a boat was just coming into the bottom so we were hoping that he had also come up Big Lock, but no such luck and the lock was empty, so that was yet another to turn.

The whole area suffers from ground subsidence due to historic brine pumping for salt production, over the years the canal companies have had to raise the tow path levels to keep theDSCF6674 water in the canal, it doesn’t look as if it will be that long before this section requires raising a few inches.

We carried on a little further to moor at Bramble Cutting for the DSCF6676night, we have  never moored here before and it is a pretty little spot with picnic table and mooring rings, It was originally a loading wharf for clay from the local clay pits, this was used in the construction of the canals. The site is maintained by The Broken cross boat Club who have regular working parties here and are increasing the number of moorings.DSCF6680

Today’s Journey  map 16 7.5 miles, 3 canals, 1 Junction, 6 locks in 4 hours.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Church Minshull Monday 2 January 2017

Firstly I would like to say hi, to the couple with the black Lab who chatted to Diana at Hurleston this morning and read our blog. I hope you enjoy your stay at Kings Bromley Marina, we thought it was a good place to stay.

What a different day to wake up to. It was still below freezing when we set off at 10 am. It wasn’t overly cold overnight but it had been below zero since late evening so the outside of the boat was icy where it had been wet, including the roof and gunwales one side.

We stopped at the water point at the top of the Hurleston Locks to top the tank up, you never know when you are likely to get stuck for a few days in this weather. While we were there a hire boat came past which resulted in the 4 Hurleston locks being set against us when we set off. The views from the top of the locks with the bright blue sky were fantastic.DSCF6660

This is the reason the Llangollen canal rarely freezes over, this constant flow of water into Hurleston Reservoir, I think it is now the main drinking water supply for Chester, but when it was first built it was to maintain the water level in Shropshire Union canal. DSCF6658 At the bottom of the flight we turned left along the Shropshire Union canal as far as Barbridge Junction where we turned sharp right down the Middlewich Arm, It was here that we uncounted our first real ice on the canal this winter. Luckily for us it had been well broken but the buts were about 5mm thick, not thick enough to stop us but I was still pleased it was someone else's blacking that did the deed. As I waited for Cholmondeston Lock to fill I was entertained by this little chap on the lock side.DSCF6661

There was quite a bit of traffic about, much more than we have seen moving over the last few days. Venetian marina was looking very full with most of its ice undisturbed. Passing Nannies Bridge I gave a blast on the horn for Peter to come out and wish us Happy New Year. Funny old place the cut, some people you will only see once a year, maybe less but you still consider them friends. At bridge 11 Diana hopped off the boat to walk to Church Minshull, two reasons, firstly she likes a walk and secondly to see if the Badger was serving food tonight. I continued and could see DSCF6663the bridge where she would cross the river (centre of the photo) as she made her way  to the village. I moored at bridge 14 and waited for her return via the road. last time we visited the pub we took the footpath from bridge 11 but thought it may be a bit squidgy tonight, so we will chance the room and traffic instead.

Today’s Journey   map 157 miles 6 locks 2 junctions and 3 canals in 3¾ hours.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Burland Sunday 1 January 2017

As expected the New year started of rather damp,after seeing the New Year in twice last night, BBC at midnight and ITV+1 a hour later, added to the rain we made a very late start, not getting away until 11-15 am. The weather was quite miserable with cold rain coming across on a northerly breeze.

I did wonder what made this land owner open his land to the public, especially as there were several game feeders in theDSCF6649DSCF6649 wood. I didn’t look to be near a footpath at all.

There was very little about in the cold, wet of the morning, even this chap didn’t look at all impressed.DSCF6650

As we passed through Wrenbury we could see that there was a vintage car rally going on in the car park of The Dusty Miller, aDSCF6651 pub that stands both on the tow path and the road right beside the lift bridge, I don’t know if it was connected with the event but the caravan site just across the road form the pub also looked quite full, such a shame the weather was so miserable, but there were still a lot of people wandering round.

We stopped for lunch rather than eating on the move and when we had finished the rain had stopped, looking at our weather station we could see how the pressure had plummeted in the early hours of the morning but was now on the rise again.

We met 3 boats this afternoon, 1 hire, 1 share and one private. The sky was blue with wispy clouds and the sun was doing itsDSCF6654 best to wish us Happy New Year. We carried on to just below bridge 4 to moor for the night on the visitor moorings, just as we were tying up the sun was sliding down below the horizon for theDSCF6656 night, lets hope its back tomorrow.

Today’s Journey  map 147¾ miles  6 Locks in 3½ hours 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Marbury Saturday 31 December 2016

Well its been a grey old day, warm, dry but grey. We set off at twenty past ten without a breath of wind and only met two boats on the move, one of those was a hire boat on trade plates.

There was very little of interest to report other than Grindley Brook where I managed to empty both chambers completely behind me. This was due to being unable to close the intermediate gate to give less than a 4” gap between them.  I even tried racking the cill with my hook with no luck. The strange thing was that afterwards with the chambers empty they both closed reasonably so I was able to refill the top chamber and bring the middle one up to working level so that the next boater to arrive didn’t find it all drained.
There were a couple of fishermen between the bottom two locks, but as nether offered a weather forecast I assume that they were not the ones I met coming up.

There was a lot more water coming down the canal today than when we went up, this was especially noticeable below Willeymoor Lock.

We carried on down to just through Steer Bridge before we moored on the SUCS 48hr moorings for the night. Most nights this trip we have used their moorings which are very handy. You can find a list of them at http://www.shropshireunion.org.uk/the-canals/visitor-moorings

This will be the last trip report this year folks, normal service will resume in 2017.
Some statistics from 2016 we have covered 1308 miles and done 793 locks.

Today’s Journey  map 13 6½ miles, 9 locks in 4 hours.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Old Mans Bridge Friday 30 December 2016

Much warmer last night but the temperature dropped and the mist came in early this morning. As we set off just after 10 it was quite misty but we were soon in bright sunshine, then you would go under a bridge and the next stretch would be mist again.
The reflection on Blake Mere we came to was quite stunning, far better than I could capture as we passed.DSCF6631

We saw an unusual bird, I think it was actually a Blackbird with lots of white feathers, the other Blackbirds seemed quite OK with it and didn’t bother it at all.DSCF6634 While we are talking about birds, how do Buzzards manage to land and take off from the cross beams of power cable poles without electrocuting them selves, I would have thought their wing span would be great enough to touch both cables and there are two of them sat on this one.DSCF6623
We stopped for a while to see friends who live at Hampton Bank before pushing on to our mooring for the night.

Passing the Prees Branch from this direction the new piling being installed down the arm as far as the lift bridge is even more obvious.DSCF6641 Here our timing was spot on and we arrived at the lift bridge just as the boat ahead had gone through and they kept it open for us.

 

Someone, I don’t know if its CRT contractors or local highway dept. have been chopping the young willow shoots on the offside, some they have collected up but lots have just been allowed to fall into the canal. Not only are there a pain to boaters but eventually they will find their way down to the lock bywashes, DSCF6643its not that far to Grindley Brook, here there are just a few well spaced stumps but in 50 yards there is a continuous hedge off them and if they let that lot fall in the cut there will be a right mess.

The afternoon light gave me a chance to catch this lovely reflection, it was at about 3 pm this after noon, just half an hourDSCF6646 before we moored up for the night. It wasn’t planned but that mooring turned out to be just 50 yard from where we moored a week ago.

Today’s Journey  map 1210½ miles, no locks in just over 3½ hours.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Ellesmere Thursday 29 December 2016

It was definitely chilly last night, we recorded -5°C and when we left at 10 o’clock it had risen to -4°, but what a morning it was with clear blue sky’s and bright sunshine, everywhere was covered in thick, white frost from last nights freezing fog.

It has to be very cold for the LLangollen canal to freeze over as it is a constantly moving waterway, but today there was very thin ice in the mooring layby at Lyon Quays which is on the side of the canal.DSCF6599  The canal gave some real Christmas Card views today as we made our way to Ellesmere.DSCF6618 The wind was so light that that we even saw a hot air balloon slowly drifting across the sky, this was just before we arrived at The Jack Mytton Inn. Water levels here were a bit better than when we came up and we didn’t touch the bottom at all.DSCF6621

We stopped at the services at CRT services at Ellesmere to top up with water, I had luckily had the forethought to take the water hose out of the front locker and put it in the engine room so that wasn’t a block of ice, I learnt that the hard way. Once full of water we moored at the mouth or the Ellesmere Arm as the sun was going behind the clouds.DSCF6627

Today’s Journey  map 11 10 miles, 2 locks in 4¼ hours.