Thursday, 19 April 2018

Dunham Massey Thursday 19 April 2018

Bit of an early call this morning, Thursday is Market Day in Lymm, its quite an affair, today there were 3 stalls, but the amount of noise they managed to generate erecting them is something else.DSCF0754 It looks as if summer has just kicked spring out of the door and today it was hotter outside the boat than in.

Before we set off they was a quick wander round the charity shops and a visit to the market, we didn't want pet food or fresh fish, he didn't have a stall, just sold from the back of his van. We did get some fruit and veg at one stall and a couple of very good pork pies at another, I think that was all of it.

The road crosses the Bridgewater canal in lots of places but historically most of these were what they call "underbridges"DSCN2199 where the road burrows under the canal, often with a sloping road approach on each side, now in lots of cases there is a bridge bypassing them but they still exist and there is one in Lymm, DSCN2203I was hoping to get a photo of a car coming through, but after I hurried out in front of 2 cars there weren't any. Mostly they are not wide enough for 2 cars and definitely no pavement.DSCN2202

We are well ahead of schedule so we were late setting off, just as I undid the second rope a boat came by, we were to see him again later, as we needed water and when we arrived at the water point at "Ye Old No. 3" there he was taking water, this is not the fasted tap in the world so we were some little time before he was full and ready to leave before we could even begin to fill up. We even had time for our lunch and a bottle of beer.

Once that was sorted we pushed on past Dunham Massey House, needless to say its closed on a Thursday and Friday, maybe we will come back for Saturday, we will see how it pans out. Just passed the house the canal crosses the River Bollin on an aqueduct, this is the site of a serious breach in 1971. When the canal was finally rebuilt it was in a channel about 16 feet wide which leaves the offside abutment of the aqueduct some way from the edge of the canal.DSCF0755 We only went about half a mile past this and moored for the night just by Dunham Woodhouse Underbridge.

Before we stop for the night I like to check the stat of charge of the batteries but when I went into the engine room I found that the Sterling Battery Monitor was blank with an unpleasant smell coming out of it, having just looked at the price of a new one I think I will replace it with something else.

Today’s Journeymap 05 3¾ miles in 2½ hours

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Lymm Wednesday 18 April 2018

Last night was eat out night, well you have to in Lymm there are so many places to chose from, this time it was Elmas the Mediterranean restaurant where yet again I had too much to eat and I only had 2 courses. As we walked back to the boat the sky was a bright pink.

Overnight we had rain but it had cleared up by this morning, bit of a lazy start as it was only 5 miles back to Thorn Marine where we were having a Boat Safety inspection this afternoon and to pick up a new starter battery. DSCF0741

There is an unofficial winding hole a short way passed the yard but I doubt its 70 foot long and covered with notices saying its private and please turn with care.DSCF0373small

We arrived about lunch time and I collected the battery from the shop, wile we were there Sonny, the Bridgewater Enforcement Officer came by and introduced himself, I have heard many tales about him, but found him most polite and friendly. The plan was to fit the battery straight way, but then Steve turned up and persuaded me it would be better to go for lunch at London Bridge eating it outside overlooking the canal than working away under a shady old road bridge, he seemed very persuasive somehow. When we got to the pub and they only had 6 beers on tap so we thought it best to just do halves. Once all systems were replenished we wished him goodbye and I set to swapping the battery out. I had only just finished when our BSS inspector turned up. he only failed us on one small item, the gauze had fallen out of the diesel tank breather but its such a common thing he carries a supply of new ones with him, so that was soon sorted and we were on our way again, poorer but legal for the next 4 years with an engine that will now start without jump leads.

As the day progressed the weather got even better. Not everyone is keen on having people on their property, this is the grounds of Massey Hall, not only are they canal DSCF0737side but every 50 yards all round the boundary. If the dogs are not bad enough they even have what I guess is plastic, gorilla beside the pond just to make sure and a statue of a lion in the middle of the lawn.DSCF0739

Its also been bit of a bird day with a buzzard sitting on top of a post just keeping an eye on things.DSCF0742

Our first swallows of the season, not just one but several, then even more ducklings, DSCF0747

11 in this brood and finally what was possibly a Dunlin weaving along ahead of us.

The other thing which I have always admired is this seat, I think it is carved from one lump of wood, a length of tree trunk and depicts the prow of a Viking Long Boat.DSCF0749

We arrived back in Lymm some 7½ later moored opposite to where we were last night. Again we have seen several hire boat from Middlewich so they must be coming this way rather than the Cheshire Locks.

Today's Journey map 0410 miles in 3¾ hours.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Lymm Tuesday 17 April 2018

It was quite quiet where we moored last night, we were the only boat there, I don't think I have known that before, I suspect it due to no boats coming via the Middlewich Branch.

Spring was nice yesterday but it looks as if we have fast forwarded to autumn with a dank, drizzly day and real rain at times.

The old jump leads started the engine first shot so we were away a bit earlier than planned, this resulted in a half hour wait at Preston Brook tunnel until 11 o'clock, there is only a 10 minute window on the hour on this tunnel as it takes between 15 and 20 minuets to transit it. By the time we were due to go through we had a hire boat from Middlewich behind us.

Exiting the tunnel on the Bridgewater it was time to put the big raincoat and hat on. We met a couple of boats before the science park and then I spotted the wash from this coming towards me round the bend. Moving over to let him through it was surprising how shallow the off side was, no wonder he was making a wash.DSCF0735

I don't know what was happening on the railway today but there were people on every bridge standing and watching as if they where waiting for something, but we didn't see it.

We carried on past Thorn Marine where we will be going tomorrow for our Boat Safety Inspection and hopefully certificate for the next 4 years and also a new starter battery so I can put the jump leads away. A little further on we saw our first ducklings of the season, we normally see some earlier than this, but there ones were quite a good size.DSCF0736

Our destination for tonight was Lymm and luckily there is just enough length for us to wind on the bend, you would probably just get a 60foot boat round if you place the bow correctly. We then reversed a few yards to slot into a vacant mooring spot for the night.

Today's Journeymap 03 12¾Miles, 1 Lock in 3½hours.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Dutton Monday 16 April 2018

We woke to the John Lennon dawn chorus, that's not John singing but the continuous stream of aircraft going into Liverpool airport, mind you it was intersperse with bird song. I didn't take any chances with the engine and put the jump leads on before I tried to start her and she spun well, so that's a new battery needed.

The day started sunny which was nice for a change but still not that warm.

So far this trip we have met 4 hire boats and two shared ownership boats all with all male crews, two of the Swiss.

We stopped at the Anderton services for water and by now the sky was quite black, just as we were setting off the service boat Halsall DSCF0727came through the bridge and moored up to deliver coal, we pulled in along side her to get the black tank pumped out. By the time we set off again the sky had cleared and we made our way to Barnton Tunnel and with no one coming it was straight through, but we arrived at Saltersford Tunnel 5 minutes to late for a passage so had to wait until the 12 o'clock slot. By the time we set off another boat had arrived behind us and followed us until we moored at the site of the old Dutton breach.

As we approached bridge 204 I could see a notice warning that CRT were working there. It looks as if they are stabilising the edging stones where the towpath goes under the bridge.DSCF0728 A few weeks ago we met Halsall stuck here, probably on one of the large stones that had fallen out, I don't expect CRT will retrieve them when they have finished the stabilisation work before leaving the site.

After we had moored up I investigated the battery a bit further, the SG's of 5 of the cells were fine but the other one hardly lifted the float. no point in recording the SG's, its dead, so I rang Thorne Marine and asked them to get me one for Wednesday when we are there. If only I had checked SG's last week before going home and I could have brought one back with us and saved a few quid. The old one has just turned 5 years old.

Today's Journey map 026½ miles in 3½ hours

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Marston Sunday 15 April 2018

A rather dismal drive to the boat, but dry. The traffic was thankfully very light both on at A14 and the M6, we didn't even bother to take the toll road. The southbound traffic was not so lucky with an accident at junction 15.

Due to the road works between Middlewich and the marina we turn of at junction 17, its a couple of miles longer but the up side is we save sitting in the roadwork's between 17 and 18 who today were at a standstill for some reason.

We finished unloading the car and it started to rain, not much just a few spits. With fingers crossed I turned the engine start key to be met with a very slow grunt, no where near enough to start, it didn't surprise me as I had the impression the battery had seen better days last trip. What did surprise me was after I released the key the engine continued to slowly crank and I had to use the main isolator to stop it. I eventually got her away with the aid of the jump leads. I do wonder if the starter solenoid is also a bit tired so not snapping in if the battery is a bit down.

The end result was we set off at quarter to five in the pouring rain, out of the marina and turned left towards Liverpool.

As we made our way along the T&M the weather started to improve, we hoped to have moored just past bridge 185 where we moored on the last night of out last trip but there was already a boat on ther so we pushed hoping to moor at Wincham Bend but the same two boats were still there that were moored there last time we passed, soon to the Salt Museum, all the mooring by the museum were full but there was a space on the rings through the bridge that was big enough for us to get in, its a bit curved against a concrete edge, but due to the silt we don't need fenders as there is no chance we will get close enough to touch the concrete. Needless to say as soon as we moored up the sun actually came out and a very short time later it also stopped raining. The sky was to light to photograph the rainbow, but never mind, I am sure we will see another before long.

Today's Journey image3¼ miles in 1¼ hours.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Park farm Wednesday 4 April 2018

A bit of an earlier start this morning around 9.30 for our half hour trip to the marina and then off home.

Not much to say about the trip really, the rain held off which was good. We passed a couple of notices posted on the towpath which referred to dog fouling and DNA testing.
Once back at the marina things were packed away and we made out way to Braunston, to visit The Boat Shop at the bottom lock as they are the only people we know of that stocks boat art transfers to replace the ones weathered off our back doors. While we were in Braunston we had lunch in The Mill House where they were doing curry and a drink for 2 for £15 and it included poppadom and naan brad.

Today's Journeymap 14 1½ miles in ¾ hour

The map of the full journey is below.full trip

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Broken Cross Tuesday 3 April 2018

Yesterday evening I stood out on the front deck and could hear the water roaring through the sluice gates down on the Weaver at DSCF0684Dutton Lock. We had a total of 16mm of rain yesterday so I wasn't surprised to find the River Weaver closed today due to high water levels. It was a good decision coming up the lift yesterday afternoon. We were a bit late setting off this morning as I wanted to check the bank accounts after the long weekend, Lloyds and Halifax use to offer a Text service where they told you the balance once a week but they seemed to have dropped that now.

We carried on north for half an hour to the winding hole just before Dutton Lock where we turned and headed back to Anderton.

We arrived at Saltersford Tunnel at about 25 to 12 and as the entry DSCF0685time is from half past until ten to we sailed straight in, when I say straight the tunnel is far from straight and twists and turns all over the place.DSCF0687

Following Saltersford Tunnel is Barnton Tunnel, this one is not timed, you just have to be sure its clear, the entrance is on a bend so it helps to have someone on the bow to look into the tunnel, again its a bit wiggly so you don't see cleanly through, today Diana gave the all clear and I started to enter when the horn of a boat who had just entered the other end blew. Due to the kinks he was invisible to us but he was able to see me, so I pulled out and waited for him and a second boat to clear the tunnel before proceeding with a good blast on my horn.

We stopped at Anderton Services to top up with water and dump rubbish before continuing on in the sunshine. We planned to stop on the new mooring rings at Wincham Bend but there were already two boats there so we pushed on through the salt works and moored just before bridge 185. This will leave us with about mile and a half to do in the morning to take us back to our marina.

Today's Journey map 1311 miles in 4½ hours.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Dutton T&M Monday 2 April 2018

Last night we were moored at Dutton Mile visitor moorings, these are quite new moorings about quarter of a mile below Acton Bridge so a lot les traffic noise. The down side of the mooring is that its all wiggly, not more than 40 foot of straight anywhere, so mooring a Narrowboat requires some improvisation.DSCF0676

Just behind the mooring is a CRT dredging disposal site where wet mud is allowed to drain, the water returning to the river.DSCF0678

It started raining just after we went to bed and was still raining this morning, we had just over 10mm over night so we decided rather than continuing down stream we would head up to Anderton and leave the river, already there was a marked increase in flow and we have no desire to get trapped down here. We arrived at the lift about 11am and I went and booked the next available slot going up, ten past twelve, we could stay on the holding mooring as we were next to go up and the lift crew would see us about twenty to twelve. Well that was the plan, by now the rain and virtually stopped. Back onboard I shut the engine down and went inside when there was a knock on the window. It was the lift crew, the trip boat would be coming down shortly so we could go up at the same time, the gate is being opened ready and if we like we can make our way round and go in. As we were facing upstream I just reversed back and then swung the bows towards the lift, waited for the thumbs up and went in. While waiting had a good chat with the operator who lives on a Nb in Venetian Marina, he was hoping to come on the river for the summer but the Middlewich breach has scupper that.

As you leave the lift you have to turn right and as we wanted to go left that meant coming out then a few yards to the winding hole before going back across the lift lift exit

When we arrived at Barnton tunnel there was already two boats waiting for the 1pm passage North so we just floated around for 20 minutes as there was nowhere to tie. After the first boat went through the other one, a Canaltime boat suggested we followed and they would come last, no long after leaving the tunnel they moored up where as we continued on to the site of the Dutton breach to moor for the night. Since we have been here it has started raining once more, its now 13mm in the past 24 hours.

Today's Journey map 129½ miles, 1 lock in 4¾ hours

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Dutton Mile Sunday 1 April 2018

We over did it slightly last night with the food order, The Red Lion does 5 Tapas dishes for £15 so we had 10 different dishes between us and it was a bit much, Diana nipped down to the boat for a couple of containers to take the left overs back to the boat. Good job we were moored on their jetty. The down side of being moored there was the noise, It was still very noisy from the pub at half midnight when I went to bed and we woke several times in the early hours to loud heavy beat music, probably in parked cars. They must be hardy souls as the temperature dropped to freezing over night, before picking up again this morning.

We set off at half ten this morning, again it was quite bright but clouds gathered by lunch time and the forecast said rain, but we have only seen 6 spots.

I took another shot of the animal shelter we passed yesterday to show just how far it is away from the water.DSCF0659

We were soon down to Vale Royal locks but not before passing under Newbridge swing bridge, good job I didn't put the anemometer back on as the river had come back up over night.
You can see how little wind there was as we approached the lock,DSCF0660as we locked down the keeper said we may be held up for the Northwich regatta as they race from Vale Royal down to Hunts lock, but when he checked that said we were fine to go and we would meet the boats coming up, which we did. DSCF0662Most of them were well ordered and stayed to the right of the river, some got told to move over to the right side by a lady with a megaphone and a couple needed a blast on the horn. We just reached Hunts weir stream as the last two boats came out so we held back so they could cross our bow, by which time Bob and his assistant had the lock ready for us.

We stopped at Anderton Lift and had lunch before visiting the visitors Centre, it wasn't a planed visit but we could see cars parked down below. It turned out they were all Jaguars or Daimlers but there was only one old one among them. We thought about a coffee until we saw the length of the queue at the Cafe. The CRT trip boat was doing a roaring trade taking people up or down the lift at £8.25 a head, that should help the coffers. There were a couple of boats trading on the canal at the top, the Pirate boat and one selling tiller pins and rag rugs.

We carried on down stream passing the ex tar boat Tay, last time we saw her she was waiting to go down the Anderton Lift and visit the dry dock in Northwich.DSCF0667

I could hear motorbike as we continued on and looking back spotted these two doing a bit of hill climbing, on the first run they both made it successfully to the top but on the second run one of them didn't have quite enough momentum and grip to make it, ending in a couple of tumbles and returning to the bottom to try again.DSCF0672

I just had to include this shot of a cruiser moored at Barnton Cut, it just struck me so much of a smilie face with the bicycle wheels making the eyes.DSCF0674

One last thing, don’t be an April Fool, test your smoke and CO alarm on the first of every month.

Today's Journeymap 11 11½ miles, 3 locks in 4 hours.