Thursday, 23 March 2017

Home mooring Thursday 23 March 2017

Last night was the last night for our friends onboard so we had diner at The Old Broken Cross, a very popular pub who serve typical pub grub. The mooring was a bit noisy overnight with the nearby road and bridge but we still got a good nights sleep.
This morning we woke and the sun was shining, typical on the last day, we set off at 9-15 and only had a mile to go to our marina which took just on half an hour.

It was nice to be hailed by nb Lazy Bee who follows this blog.

Needless to say as I went into the marina and tried to turn to reverse down the pontoon the wind picked up and I just went sideways, so a change of plan and motor down to the loading bay and unloaded the boat to both cars and waved our friends goodbye.
The reverse back up the marina and then down our pontoon went like a dream even with someone watching.
Today's Journey  
1 mile in 30 minutes.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Broken Cross Wednesday 22 March 2017

Last night we walked up to the Stanley Arms to eat. Not the slickest of operations but good food and good sized portions, the beer was well presented as well, better than some we have had this week. Just as we were leaving it started to rain and continued until lunch time today.
We set off at 9-30 stopping at Anderton Service point to fill up with water and dump the rubbish and then on to The Lion Salt Museum, still in the rain. We had a 10% discount to enter the museum as we went to Weaver Hall, the Salt museum in Northwich and the are under the same management, West Cheshire Museums.  As soon as we went into the museum it stopped raining, but boy was it cold in there, if you go wrap up warm.
As we were returning to the boat for lunch we noticed that The Salt Barge  pub was doing main course lunch for £5 so we went in there to be greeted but a roaring open fire. The food was good as well with 4 choices, Curry, Fish & Chips with mushy peas, Gammon, egg and chips or a vegetarian meal.
Back on the boat we headed on for a bit to moor outside The Old Broken Cross for the night, tonight's venue for dinner and it has started to rain again.
Today's Journey
4 Miles in 2 hrs 10 min

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Anderton Tuesday 21March 2017

Well after all the rain, it was still raining when we went to bed , this morning was blue sky and sunshine but a tad cool. The Swans opposite were hard at work nest building, the husband collecting the material and the wife putting it in place.
We timed our departure to arrive at Preston Brook Tunnel at half past ten, didn't quite get it right and we were there about four minutes early so thought it best to wait. Diana and Chris decided to walk all three tunnels today so I dropped them off and headed through waiting for them again the other side. Dutton lock was with us but we still needed to open both bottom gates to get in, on leaving a hire boat was coming towards us so we were able to leave the single top gate open for them. 
We stopped for lunch a short way before Saltersford Tunnel again timing our departure to arrive at the tunnel mouth at one thirty. The fields between the canal and the Weaver are holding a lot of water at the moment.
Saltersford Tunnel is quite twisty and often you cant see light at the far end.
It wasn't long before Diana and Chris caught up with us at the other end, I hadn't even pulled into the side before they came walking down.
We had been told there was a good Co-op in Barnton so we moored just by road bridge 202 so the ladies could get a few bits and pieces, it would have only been half the walk if we had gone on to the footbridge. From here it was only a short hop to our overnight mooring outside the Anderton Lift visitor centre.
Today's Journey  
8.7 miles, 1 lock, 1 junction,3 tunnels in 3 hours 40 minutes.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Runcorn Arm Monday 20 March 2017

To say it was raining this morning would be an understatement, We were away at 9-30 so we arrived at the tunnel mouth dead on 10. It was good to see that the dry dock is back working but I have no idea who operates it.

At Preston Brook we turned down the Runcorn Arm passing this pile of stones which we think is in the Priory grounds.
Again I had the opportunity to photograph a Kingfisher, he was sitting still but I wasn't.
We winded at the end of the arm and moored up, after lunch we went for a walk down the old Runcorn Locks to the Manchester Ship Canal. We then went down to get a photograph of the Silver Jubilee bridge. Police divers were at work looking for someone who fell from the bridge Saturday morning.

From here you can see the new toll bridge that is still under construction, lets hope it gets more use than the M6 Toll road.
Once back onboard we retraced our steps, but this time in bright sun shine, passed a section of bank covered in primroses.
We moored a short way before the railway crossing still in sunshine, but by 6pm it was raining and as I write this its chucking it down again.

Today's Journey  
 11 miles, 1 Lock, 1 Junction in 4 hours

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Dutton Sunday 19 March 2017

Well it wasn't actually raining wen we got up this morning. We decided in view of the weather and the problem with accessing the locks we would leave the river and return to the canals. We pushed of at quarter to ten and went down stream as far as Saltersford lock where we winded to return to the lift, on our way upstream I was fortunate enough to have another Kingfisher pose for me
The old Soda works has virtually gone now, there are still a few 
reminders like the bases of the main pillars and the small heaps of rubble and ash.

I walked up to the office at the lift and the earliest booking they could offer was at 12.50pm. We were the only private boat to go up but they were only running one caisson, so it gave us time for a bit of lunch before moving to the holding area. By the time we were do at the lift it was raining again, I did manage one photo of our guests on the lift.
Once at the top we spent a bit of time in the visitor centre, I think CRT and BW before them made a good job of laying this out. Once we had enough of that it was on along the T&M, we arrived at Saltersford Tunnel with about hald a hour to wait so time for a cupper. when it was 4 pm I went out to untie and found another boat had pulled in behind us. After the tunnel things turned really wet and windy but we carried on to the site of the Dutton Breach to moor for the night.

Today's Journey 
7.5 miles, one river, one canal, one boat lift in 3.5 hours

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Barton Saturday 18 March 2017

Last night as we were going to bed I looked out of the rear doors and this was the view, the rain had just stopped for a short time and there wasn’t a breath of wind.

Well we haven’t boated far today, we spent the mooring wandering round Northwich returning to the boat a little before lunch just as it started raining again. We cruised up to just below Hunts Lock and had lunch.
After lunch we spent the afternoon at the Salt Museum in Weaver House, the old Work House, this was our third visit and still saw things we hadn’t seen before. We returned to the boat via Hunts Lock, again in the rain.
At 5pm we pushed off to moor by the Anderton Lift passing under the railway viaduct.
Just through the viaduct is one of the few remaining distance markers showing how far it is from the lock, they are moulded in concrete so most of them are damaged.
Between the rain showers it was quite pleasant with no wind, this gave so nice reflections as we passed Yarwood's basin with the Narrowboats all moored bows out to the river.
We passed the town centre again and I took another shot of the Odeon Cinema, you can see how murky the weather was.  
We moored on the 1 day visitor mooring pontoons just before the Lift but felt the noise from the soda works opposite might be a bit intrusive so we carried on for about a mile and a half to the 48 hr visitor moorings at Barton, this is inline with Barton Tunnel on the Trent and Mersey canal.

Today's Journey 
4 miles in one and a half hours

Friday, 17 March 2017

Northwich Friday 17 March 2017

Last night dinner was taken in The Big Lock pub, they do a first class meat pie.
This morning after a visit from the local ducks feeding on the weed growing round the water line. It was before 9am when we pulled away just as another boat was also approaching the lock so were able to share. The swans have started nesting on the pond a short way below the lock, so its all started happening, but today didn’t feel very spring like with continuous drizzle until half two and then real rain. We made a brief stop at the services at Anderton to fill with water where the boat we shared Big Lock with passed us, they were also heading to Anderton Lift but not going down until tomorrow.
Our booking for the lift was 1515hrs and you need to be there half an hour before. We moored just before the visitor centre and had lunch moving on to the lift holding area at half two. I nepped down and told the lady in the office we had arrived and not long later there was a knock on the boat with our safety talk and we were into the lock. We were actually at the bottom of the lock by 3-15 but it took another quarter of an hour to get the bottom gate open. It was quite windy as we entered the top of the lift but the wind died away before we descended. On leaving the lift we turned hard left and moored for the night in the still poring rain in Northwich. I am not sure how we will get on cruising the Weaver as it appears from the information that lock keepers don't work weekends until Easter.

Today's Journey
11 miles, 1 lock, 1 lift 1 canal and 1 river in 4hrs 20 min

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Middlewich Thursday 16 March 2017

Well an early start by my standards this morning, we were on our way at 7-15 am heading for our moorings to meet Chris and Gwen. We actually woke to bright sunshine but by the time we set off it had clouded over.
While I was waiting for the lock to fill I noticed 3 geese sitting on the wall of the weir, one of them in the classic one leg pose.
When we passed under bridge 162 CRT were still preparing to rebuild the wall.

I mentioned yesterday all the new houses going up near Booth Lane Locks, well today I took a photograph of it, its a Taylor Wimpy development called Albion Locks, I suppose that sounds better than Booth Lane Lock for a housing development. 
Maybe CRT will rename the locks to suit?

Bridge 165 Tetton Bridge has been extended 3 times, as you approach from the south its an arched bridge, about 10 feet in the arch drops by about 5" until you are almost half way through,
then it goes into an oblong  profile. Lots of boat travelling north to south have hit the transition between oblong and arched.

We met a boat just before Rumps lock so from here all locks were with us. The brickwork in Rumps Lock is all over the place but the lock is quite wide so doesn't present any problems.

 Below Kings Lock we stopped to fill up with diesel before continuing down the Middlewich flight, the area around the dry dock was very wet so it looks as if someone managed to flood the pound. We carried on through Big Lock and the back to our moorings at Park Farm Marina, This part of today's journey took 5.5 hrs. I have written the above while we wait for Chris and Gwen  to arrive and then we will set off again.

We off again at 3-30pm heading back towards Middlewich for the night, by 5-30 we were up through,  Big Lock, winded and moored outside the pub, moments before it started raining. 
This trip we have been lucky enough to see two pairs of Kingfishers, the first pair were flying up and down the canal, so no chance of a photograph, but today we passed two sitting on a branch.

Today's Journey
16.4 Miles 10 locks in 7 hours.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Wheelock Wednesday 15 March 2017

A change of plan today, the thought our friends were visiting today but when we rang them last night it seems they are coming Thursday. So options for today changed.
The first job was to put a coat of light and dark blue on the rust repairs I carried out the other day, its not very pretty but its not going rusty now. Really the whole white coach line and a bit of blue on each side of it needs taking back to bear steel and painting properly, but that's a weeks work to do a half decent job flatting back between coats, at least its the right colour now.
As we had winded last night to get the right hand side of the boat against the towpath we decided we would go back through Middlewich and up to Wheelock for the night. so quarter past ten and we were off. Under bridge 172 which is home to several pigeons in the alcoves on the off side.
Middlewich bottom lock had the bottom gates wide open and the next two just had a few feet of water in them. Passed the Wardle Arm, at Middlewich Junction, you can see how short this canal is, as it ends at Wardle lock. Then up Kings Lock and away.

The speed the houses are going up along this section of canal is amazing and they are a bit out of town at Booth Lane Lock. It was here that we met our first boat of the day, so the other 3 locks were all with us. We later met two more boat, so that's more than yesterday
Its nice to see the May out in bloom, the old saying "Don't cast a clout until May is Out"
Studs Lane bridge is having a lot of work done on it and is well scaffolded up on one side, not a very good photograph as it was into the sun.
When we arrived at Wheelock we dumped the rubbish and then filled with water, once that was done we had to go up through the next lock to wind, luckily for us the last boat down the flight had left the gates open behind him, so up through Wheelock Bottom Lock, wind and come down again to moor just on the end of the 48 hour moorings.
Today's Journey
7 miles 10 locks in 4 hours

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Middlewich Tuesday 14 March 2017

This morning before setting off I applied some red and white paint to the cabin side that I primed last
We were still away at 10 am but we were facing the wrong way, so it was forward a couple of hundred yards to Aqueduct marina where I tried to do a gently wind as three lads were fishing opposite to the entrance. They were there last night when I winded as well, nice lads who helped the boat that shot straight out so I didn't want to spoil their fishing. So I ended up with the bow just in the entrance to the marina and then walked the stern round from the bank, letting the wind take the bows round.
I posted yesterday about the SUMBA here are some of the fruit trees they have planted .

I heard a buzzing sound in the sky, looking up this is what I spotted.

We only me one boat on the Middlewich Branch today, much different to the weekend. As we dropped through Wardle Lock a boat went passed the junction heading for Big Lock so now the 3 Middlewich locks would be against us, it turned out worse than that. When we got to the first lock she was still aboard and he was holding the centre rope. Diana drew both the top paddles before she even had a windlass, as they finally went into the lock I tied to the lock moorings  and walked down to set the middle lock, as they only drew half a paddle I also set the bottom lock before walking back up to help Diana at the first lock, we turned the lock and took Harnser in, the boat ahead was still in the middle lock, no paddles drawn but they were both collecting fire wood. we waited until they finally locked down and left so Diana could draw the top paddle of the second lock before I dropped the top one. I took the boat to the second lock and then waited until they locked down the bottom one. The asked if we wanted to share Big Lock but we told them we were stopping before that.
I turned at the winding hole before Big Lock so we could moor right hand side to the bank, this was so I could get a second coat of red and white paint on, all I need now is a fine morning and I can do the dark and light blue.
Today's Journey  

7.5 miles, 5 locks, I junction, 3 canals and I have winded twice in 3.75 hours

Monday, 13 March 2017

Church Minshull Monday 13 March 2017

Lovely quiet mooring last night and woke to a smashing morning, As we planned to visit Nantwich, we haven't been for years we set off a bit earlier than normal around half nine. It took a little over half an hour for us to reach the aqueduct and the 48 hour moorings adjacent to it were free, so a bonus. We didn't spend long in town but the buildings we passed are very interesting, maybe next time we will make a day of it as a planned stopping place.
The aqueduct has just had £200,000 spent on it, details HERE but its still held together with a couple of lumps of wood.

We stopped at the serviced at Nantwich Basin to dump the rubbish and fill with water, Diana also picked up a couple of books to read, we will drop these off at another services for someone else to read. Many years ago a wooden horse was constructed at the back of the towpath, he is wearing very well.
We were a bit surprised to see that the pub sign is still standing on the site of The Jolly Tar and Barbridge Junction, the pub closed down in 2013 and was demolished/burnt down last year. The site is now waiting for redevelopment.
I made the turn into the Middlewich Branch much better than when I came out. There is a house right on the junction that supports a good collection of chimney pots.
As we made our way down the Branch the sky started to darken but thankfully stayed dry. Just above Cholmondeston Lock SUMBA are busy laying the hedge, they have also planted fruit trees and bushes at different locations along the Branch.
As we approached Church Minshull lock the lock and cottage looked quite nice reflecting in the still water.
Not far below the lock is Aqueduct Marina, I was planning to wind there so was going slowly, this was lucky as a boat came straight out or the marina, not looking in ether direction and smashed headlong straight into the bank opposite, a fisherman pushed his bow round for him and as we passed he didn't say a word.
The reason I winded is that I needed to do something about the rust in the right hand cabin side and the tow path is on the left, so I winded in the marina entrance and then went backwards to the visitor 48hr moorings where I was able to attack it with the grinder until it packed in working so then a sander, treated the rust and got some primer on it. Hopefully I will get a bit of colour on tomrrow.
Today’s Journey 

8.25 miles, 1 Junction, 2 canals, 2 locks in 3.5 hours.