Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Marston Tuesday 18 December 2018

The wind picked up over night as the pressure dropped, at the same time the temperature rose and we had to turn the stove down as we woke up hot in the night.

It was a dull morning and we didn't wake to early as everywhere was quite dark, so we didn't get away until 1030am. Not long after we set off the first spits of rain arrived, not too bad as it was behind us. The first stop was the services at Anderton to top up with water and then on to the CRT visitor Centre where we winded for our return journey, this time stopping at Anderton Marina for a toilet tank pumpout.

As we left the weather deteriorated, the rain turning to a very fine but constant drizzle and by now we were heading into it.

At bridge 196 there is a stop lock, these were installed to be used in the case of a canal beach, as lots of sections of the canal around here are well above the surrounding ground level. This particular one has wooden decking above it and this has recently had anti slip strips attached to the surface. I think CRT has a program for servicing all the stoplocks along this section of canal over the winter.DSCF0740

At Marston the towpath is closed by 193 and security fencing erected as there are plans to demolish the old salt store that is adjacent to the towpath, this has been in a sad state of repair for many years.DSCF0743

As we came through the Tata Chemical works the stink was something else, very similar to ammonia, I was quite pleased to be clear of that, as the weather had not improved at all we decided to stop outside The Old Broken Cross pub for the night and we will go in for dinner a bit later, I was going to return to the marina for the night so we can do a food shop in the morning, but stopping here means I can have a drink as I wont have to drive back afterwards.

Today's Journeymap 02 6 Miles in 2¾ hours

Monday, 17 December 2018

Marston Monday17 December 2018

We arrived at the boat around 12 o'clock and had a slight change of plan. The original plan was to load up the boat, cruise down the cut for the night and then return in the mooring to change out the domestic batteries, but as it was such a nice day I decided to do them today, so after getting the water back on and firing the stove up, we cruised the length of the pontoon and back down the other side so the engine room door was against the pontoon, this at least warmed the engine room but not enough to burn me.
The batteries were disconnected and the old ones all lifted out before carrying the new ones down to the boat. It all went a lot easier than expected and the new ones were soon in and connected. Once the old ones were in the back of the car it was time for a bite to eat before clearing everything up.

It was about quarter past two when we finally got away and headed North from the marine to moor for the night just past the Salt Museum around 3-30 pm. I did manage to spot 1 Kingfisher on the way.

Since then Diana has been busy decorating the boat, all the lights are up as is the Christmas tree.DSCF0738

Today's Journey image3¼ miles in 1½

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Home Moorings Wednesday 21 November 2018

Our initial plan for last night was to go to The Shampaan Indian restaurant for a meal, but as the weather was so inclement we compromised and had a take a way from there. We will eat in the restaurant when the weather is better.

This morning the weather had improved greatly so we set off a little after ten stopping for water and using the facilities. Although it was quite cool it improved as the morning went on and the sun started peeping through. We only met one boat and that was at Booth Lane Middle Lock, I am glad we met them rather than following them.

Work is coming on well with the new lock moorings below Booth Lane Bottom lock , it looks as if its just a case of clearing up now.DSCF0701

As we got to Rumps Lock it started to rain so we thought it would be a good idea to stop below the locks and have dinner. By the time we had finished eating the rain had stopped so it turned out to be good timing.

Setting off we had to pass through a flock of over 40 swans and twice as many ducks, obviously a lot more than this stretch of water could support naturally.DSCF0703

The levels of the Middlewich locks was mixed, some full and some empty. We soon left the locks behind but by now it was doubtful if we would get back to the marina before dark. On one of the fields I spotted 2 Herons or Harnsers, its unusual to see 2 as close as thisDSCF0708 out of the mating season, but then with the weather we have had of late I have seen ducks mating this week.

By the time we did get to the marina the light was really going, but we did manage to reverse down to our berth without incident, luckily the wind had died right away which helps, having said that its picked up now.

Today's Journeymap 09 11½ miles and 9locks in 5½ hours.

This trip we have done 53¾ miles 72 locks all in 26 hours.Capture

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Wheelock Tuesday 20 November 2018

Well the rain woke us during the night and it was still at it when we got up.

We passed another puzzle today beside Clear water Lock 63 Malkins Bank. It must be 6 meters tall but the tubular bit at the bottom is probably about a meter tall. It looks like a giant pump but I wouldn't fancy working the handle.DSCF0694

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Once it stopped raining, well it did for a few minutes we walked up the lane to look at the work going on at the New Country Park, they even have the road officially closed so they can access both ends of the site with their equipment.DSCF0686

DSCF0690DSCF0689As we walked back to the boat the crane driver was just heading back to his cab, I think I would have taken my flask and sarnies with me.DSCF0692

Once the rain eased again we set off, by now it was almost 12-30, we had mixed luck with the locks, some for and some against even though we did meet a boat just below Hassall Green bottom lock. The rain was on and off all afternoon and we stopped for a late lunch just by the entrance to the arm at Malkins Bank, there are a couple of handy rings there. Before setting off I took a photographDSCF0698of the ex working boats in the arm and also walked to the next lock for the photos I put up earlier.
Just as we were setting off a boat came down the lock behind us so I was able to set the next two locks ready for them. One thing I noticed was the amount of water coming round the locks down this end, I have never seen it flowing so fast, maybe someone got it wrong further up the flight, but Middlewich shouldn't be short of water tonight.

We carried on to Wheelock visitor moorings where we pulled in for the night, we did discuss going to the Indian restaurant but in view of the weather it will be the pub or the Italian.

Today's Journey map 0810 locks 2 miles in 2 hours

Monday, 19 November 2018

Hassall Green Monday 19 November 2018

It was a much calmer night last night so I spent 10 minutes outside before going to bed looking for shooting stars but due to being in a cutting with trees my view of the sky was very restricted.
This morning we rose to another lovely sunny morning, but it didn’t last, by the time we had done 2 locks and stopped at the services it started drizzling and it did that on an off all day. Also the temperature dropped quite a bit, but picked up again after lunch.

Most of the locks in the Cheshire Flight are twined pairs, side by side to carry the high traffic in its working days, just as well as two in Kidsgrove, 42 and 45 have been closed waiting repairs for some weeks now.

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We stopped at the Red Bull services to fill with water and I noted this notice in the Elsan disposal building, it make you think what some people think can just be flushed away.DSCF0676

The moorings just beyond the services are 48hr. the means you can moor there free of charge for 48hrs. At most of these mooring you can stay for 2 weeks in the winter months when the canals are quiet, we haven't seen a boat on the move today. But some still remain 48hrs. Recently CRT have been changing a lot to 48hr all year for some reason. I can't really see the point of it.DSCF0678

Once the water tank was full we were on our way again, we had mixed fortunes with the locks, some for and some against, probably 50/50. As we passed Church Lawton All Saints church we could see the poppy cascade down the tower from remembrance day, we hadn't noticed it while travelling in the opposite direction.DSCF0681

The Pierpoints locks are looking quite splendid following all the TMCS volunteers have carried out on them over the past coupe of months.DSCF0683

A short way to the south of the locks at Roddymoor Mill House there is major construction going on with a large tower crane, we expected it to be some large industrial development but it's actually a new 21 hector country estate. It wasn't far past here at the visitor moorings above Hassall Green locks that we moored for the night.

Today's Journeymap 07 15 locks, 4½ miles in 3¾ hours.

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.