Sunday, 18 November 2018

Kidsgrove Sunday 18 November 2018

Last night after we moored up the wind picked up and by the time we went to bed I was out trying to stop the solar panels rattling. I was hoping to sit on deck for a bit looking for the meteor storm as it was so clear but it was just plain uncomfortable, so I went to bed.
This morning was a completely different day, sun shine again like yesterday and not a breath of wind. We finally set off just before 11 AM and only met 2 boats all day, the first thankfully waited for me at a bridge hole, with the sun coming straight down the cut I couldn't see him until almost in the bridge, the second was coming up Plants Lock on the T&M, he kindly opened the top gate on the adjoining lock for us and we in turn closed up for him after he left.

I have been trying to get my head round the system they used for the Mile Stones on this canal. as I posted yesterday there is a large on every mile, on the south face its the full miles to Marple and the north face the miles to Hall Green but in this case it includes a ¼ mile as the first stone is a ¼ mile from Hall Green lock.
Between each mile stone there are 3 smaller stones marking the ¼ miles, on the first one you pass travelling north after a mile stone has ¾ on one side and ½ on the other.

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The middle on has ½ on one side and ¼ on the other, the final one

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has 0 on one side and ¼ on the other.

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For those of you that know me will realise that this meant I have walked much further along the towpath today than I normally wood in a day, it wasn't just a case of walking from 1 Mile Stone to the next as some of the smaller ones are missing and some damaged so it was impossible to read the inscriptions.
It looks as if bridge 71 has been on the move it is only a foot bridge, some joints have been repointed and the offside stone work has a selection of surveying targets on it DSCF0655

At bridge 75 there are two bridges one after the other but they are not quite in line adding a kink to the exit. Although there are two bridges the canal is actually crossed by a major road, a small road and a railway at this point which probably caused the problem lining them up.DSCF0661

Down at Hall Green someone has erected in the hedge facing the canal what I can only describe as a "bus shelter" complete with three hanging seats.DSCF0672

It was then through Hall Lane lock and back onto the Trent and Mersey canal, crossing three aqueducts, the first over Knowsley Lane, the second a bit larger over the A50, Liverpool Rd. and finally the Trent and Mersey canal to Red Bull Basin where its sharp left to rejoin the main line at Hardings Wood junction. hard left again and down through Plants lock. We prefer the left hand chamber if possible as the tail bridge is a foot higher and I don't need to remove the flag pole, stove chimney and exhaust. Between Plant lock and Limekiln lock there is a long length of visitor moorings which will just suit us for the night.

Today's Journeymap 06 9 miles, 2 locks in 4¼ hours

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Buglawton Saturday 17 November 2018

A very interesting talk last night by John about Braunston past and present which answered a few things that I wondered about from my time in the area. Again a good meal in The Red Bull, I would say its the best sub £10 pub food I have had, quite amazing.They also have more expensive dishes.

Needles to say when we got up this morning the batteries were already down to 22 volts but they still seamed quite capable of supplying what we need including the inverter and fridge, but will need sorting before next trip. The water pump is only dripping slowly so I will order one of those for next trip as well.

We set off at 10-25 am in bright warm sunshine, it was like a spring day. After about 15 minutes we were at the start of the Macclesfield Canal at Hall Green locks.
There use to be two locks here, back to back, One belonged to the Trent and Mersey Canal Co. and the other to the Macclesfield Co. Now there is just the one with a rise of about 200mm to the Macclesfield, but the long chamber still exists.DSCF0612

Some years ago the Macclesfield canal was awarded  Green Flag status, Only 5 navigabile canal have received this award and the flag is proudly flown in the Garden of Teapot Hall.DSCF0614

The canal also boasts some rather splendid mile stones, a large one about a meter high every mile and a small one every quarter of a mile. The large ones have the mileage to Marple on one side in whole miles and the mileage to Hall Green on the other which includes a quarter of a mile.

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The quarter mile markers have ¼ on one side and ½ on the other or ¾ and ½ on the other side.DSCF0622

Leaves are bit of a problem on the canal this time of the year, they collect around the propeller and take away all its efficiency to the point where it will not drive the boat along, momentarily selecting reverse blows these all off.DSCF0620

As well as the splendid mile stones there are some very handsome turnover bridges, these were built so that the horse towing a boat could change from one side of the canal to the other without the tow line being disconnected, something that is not possible with a standard bridge.DSCF0634

This one is also slightly unusual that it has a standard bridge, know as an accommodation bridge attached to it, but divided by a wall so the canal traffic and the local traffic crossing the canal never met.DSCF0635

There is another one a short way along the canal which serves both purposes but has a common span.DSCF0642

Today was also the day when I was able to photograph a flying Kingfisher which was just about in focus, even with the good light the shutter speed did freeze the wing beats. Maybe the next one.DSCF0631

Due to engineering works the Bosley lock flight is closed and as the winding hole (turning point) is above the first lock we don't think we can access it so have had to wind (turn round) about a mile and a half before the flight, so we were unable to moor on the visitor moorings by the Dane Aqueduct for the night.

Today's Journeymap 05 8 miles, 1 Lock in 3½ hours.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Kidsgrove Friday 16 November 2018

Well it not been too bad a day, it didn't rain and most of the locks were with us, that's the good bit now the other. Woke to find the domestic batteries just below 24 volts so they need replacing and when I went down to check the charge current I could hear and alarm going off. Not fire or CO but in the galley, then I remembered the water alarm under the fresh water pump, that was it. The fresh water pump has started to leak so along with batteries that's on the shopping list.

We were away at 10 and although it wasn't raining the day was very overcast, cooler and damp. Most of the locks were with us, probably helped by the boat that came passed in the dark last night. We only saw one other boat on the move and we didn't meet him until Townfield lock coming into Kidsgrove.

One of the things I have noticed on a lot of these locks is the right hand wall is eroded just above the empty water level about 200mm from the bottom gate recess, I just cannot work out what would have caused this to happen, its not just one lock but several.

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Another mystery is Church Bottom lock, I wonder if at one tie it was fitted with a single bottom gate, as the near side gate recess is twice as big as it needs to be, its the only one like it on the flight.DSCF0605

Depending on your point of view there was an interesting "creature" lurking on the top gate of Thurlwood Top Lock. DSCF0599

We stopped to fill with water and dispose of rubbish at the Red Bull CRT service block, the moorings below here are designated "Winter Moorings" but not a single boater has taken them up, they look to be some of the better ones. We met a CRT operative here who was chasing, on foot, the boat we met 3 locks earlier, it seems that the requirement to close gates when you leave doesn't apply to him so the chap was going for a word in his ear.

We pushed on up the flight passing under Poole Aqueduct, this is quite unusual as it carries the Macclesfield Canal Feeder over the Trent and Mersey canal, most cross roads or streams and only a few cross canals. After passing under the Macclesfield Feeder we went up through two more locks and then turned onto the Feeder at Hardings Wood Junction only to then pass over the Trent and Mersey canal where we had been 30 minutes earlier.map aqueductThis canal doesn't actually become the Macclesfield canal until you get to Hall Green Lock, this is because the Trent and Mersey company wouldn't let the Macclesfield company cross their canal, so they built the aqueduct and feeder to meet them.map 04

Today's Journey 4 miles,14 Locks in 3¾ hours.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Old Rode Thursday 16 November 2018

A lazy start as we only had about 3 hours to do today. Before we left 2 boats had come by going the other way, one said the next to locks were with us. What he didn't know was a boat moored nearer the locks set off after he passed so they were against us again. Looking back at Wheelock bottom lock all the visitor moorings are now empty.DSCF0588

We met a third boat at Wheelock locks so that set one lock up for us, but the boat ahead had the benefit of the rest. At Maddocks Lock CRT contractors are foam injecting the nearside lock walls,DSCF0590This has already made a big difference to the water leaking through onto the towpath and making it a quagmire.

It was here that we caught up with the boat ahead and followed them as far as Hassall Green where they pulled over. Work is making good progress at the old Romping Donkey pub with a large house sized extension on the back.DSCF0593

The Trent and Mersey Canal Society had a good sized work party out today, there were enough of them to work on both Pierpoints top and bottom lock. They really have got a splendid day for it, much nicer than yesterday with warm sun and next to no wind. We only wanted to do about 3 hours today, that will leave us another three for tomorrow so we put the pins in by the Matthews Nurseries. I have just had the rings crack on the third mooring pin and I still see people tying ropes to the rings.

Today's Journey map 0312 locks 3 miles in 3 hours

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Wednesday 14 November 2018 Wheelock

Earlier this week Neil and Karen from Chalkhill Blue recommended Big Lock on their blog so we thought we would give it a try and had a very enjoyable meal. I have never had Beef Cheek before but one of the TV chefs mentioned it last week, slow cooked and it was lovely. We walked back to the boat in the dry but had heavy rain overnight that woke us both up. Thankfully it had cleared up by this morning.

We set off at our normal 10am and went up through Big Lock where a CRT "chugger" had set up shop, we didn't go far before stopping, just by the kiddies playground to walk to Lidl.

Once back on the boat we were off again, The Middlewich three were against us but as we drew the bottom lock a boat coming down entered the middle one. Looking back down the canal Anderson Boats looks as if they have the whole fleet in.DSCF0575

We passed the boat in the first pound up, but the second one by the dry dock was quite low, any lower and we would have had to let water down.

Middlewich still have all their street poppies up from Remembrance day at the weekend. DSCF0578Kings Lock was almost full so the top gate must leak quite a bit. The Middlewich Swans have moved up to just below Rumps Lock, there were 30 of them here, last time we came down 2 ladies were feeding them. We had to wait for a hire boat to exit the lock before we could go up, so that was 2 boats on the move we saw today. The three Booth Lane locks were with us so not a bad run, we continued on to Wheelock and filled with water before mooring for the night just before the visitor moorings but well clear of the services. As the sun went down the sky coloured up nicely, letsDSCF0585

hope its a good omen for tomorrow.

Today's Journey map 029 locks 6¾ miles in 4 hours.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Tuesday 13 November 2018 Middlewich

We didn't get back to the boat as early as we would have liked due to traffic conditions, the A14 was closed with major tail backs so we detoured round Papworth, likewise the M6 was blocked so we left it at junction 15 but still hit heavy traffic up near Middlewich, a car had left the road by junction 14 on the M6 closing a lane and before Bury St Edmunds the road was closed with a diversion. The end result was we slipped the lines at 1530 hrs and made our way to Middlewich meeting just one boat on the way. We decided it was to dark to tackle Big Lock so moored just after the winding hole at 1700hrs with a view to walking up the pub later.

Our plan this week is the Trent and Mersey Canal Society meeting on Friday at Red Bull where our friend John Pomfret is speaking then a short trip up the Mac.

Today's Journeymap 01 4¾ miles 1½ hours.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Home Moorings Sunday 28 October 2018

Our reason for getting back to Anderton yesterday was the fire work display that CRT were putting on on the river. It cost £6 per head to go into the visitor centre grounds to watch them and well worth the money. I wouldn't like to estimate how many people were there but they had to delay the start as people were still coming in at 8pm.

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When we went to bed we didn't change the bedroom clock so this morning we got up at our usual time and were on the move at 9am new time.

It was a bright sunny morning as we made our way back to our home moorings but a bit on the cool side. Once moored up it was load the car up with stuff to bring home, by now there were some rather black clouds gathering but we completed the task in the dry and a little after 12 o'clock were on our way home.

Today's Journeymap 13 5 miles in 2¾ hours.

This trip we have done 112 miles IMG_0256