Monday, 8 April 2019

Northwich Dry Dock Paint Shop

Day : Sunday
Date : 7 April 2019
Start : 1000 hrs
Finish : 1330 hrs Northwich Drydock paint shop


We were hoping for a better nights sleep last night, but the geese and aircraft had other ideas.
This morning I rang the Vale Royal lock keeper to tell him we were on our way, his reply come slowly as there are a load of rowing boats below my lock. It seems that the Northwich Rowing Club were holding races but hadn't informed the lock keepers.
By the time they had locked us down there wasn't a rowing boat in sight and as we passed under the railway viaduct a gent informed us that the next race would start at 11 am so we may meet some coming up the river, as it turned we just entered Hunts lock they were about to set of from the rowing club in the weir stream.
Once through the lock we moored on the new mooring in front of the cinema while we dismantled the bench from the front deck, then up to the water point to fill right up, this would keep the stern a bit higher fro Steve when he paints the tunnel bands. Just as we were finishing watering up a wide beam arrived to use the services and we moved up to the 48 hr moorings where we continued pack things away in the boat and covering things with dust sheets. Even when we finished and moved off the wide beam was still at the services. It was only a short way up the river to the wet dock, this time at the bottom of the weir stream.
Harnser will be here in the warm and dry for about 6 week and will be all shiny when it leaves.

This trip as well as spending a week in a dry dock we have done 112 miles and 11 locks, we have been to Lymm and Runcorn on the Bridgewater and from Saltersford to Winsford on the river Weaver.


Today's Journey

3¾ Miles, 2 Locks in 1¾ hours

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Vale Royal

Day : Saturday
Date : 6 April 2019
Start : 0920
Finish : 1530 Vale Royal moorings

Well this morning we escaped from the dry dock, Matt came along about 8 is and got things ready and we vacated the boat so the steps could be removed.
When Matt drew the paddle in the gate the water came in at quite a rate hitting the first bostock which takes the sting out of it, it was
  then a matter of waiting until Harnser was afloat and the lock full so that she could be draw to the side so we could re board.
Then at 9-20 AM. we set off backwards out of the lock turning in the weir stream, I was quite pleased that the sluices were closed down this morning so there was little flow. You can see how the mouth of the dry dock is just in front and one side of the sluice gates.
There were plenty of rowers about when we made our way out onto the river and headed upstream to Vale Royal lock. When we arrived the keepers were about to open the gate for us as the lock keeper at Hunts had given him a ring to say we were coming.
Once clear of the lock we went to the head of navigation at Winsford and filled with water, the first fill up since last Friday afternoon. We then dropped down to The Red Lion moorings and went in for lunch. After bit of a lengthy break we carried on down stream to the Vale Royal visitor moorings where we have stopped for the night.

Today's Journey
6¼ Miles 2 Locks in 3¼ hours

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Northwich Dry Dock

Day : Sunday
Date : 31 March 2019

Well today came hard, as you know we are not early risers, but today Matt was coming to paint the hull, not only that but the clocks also went forward so for us that was a double whammy.
We now have a nice black hull thanks to Matt and his airless spray, not the nicest of job but he has got a nice clean dry dock to work in so laying on your back under a boat is not too bad
.
This is actually the nicest Dry dock we have been in, there is a good stone stairway leading down into the dock for access and
drainage channels on both sides and down the centre to keep the
floor dry. We have a movable steel staircase for access to our front deck, unlike others where we have had a ladder down or a gang plank from the edge.
Today's Journey zero

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Northwich Dry Dock

Day : Saturday
Date : 30 March 2019
Start : 0930
Finish : 0955 Northwich Dry Dock

About 8 this morning we walked over to the dry dock to watch the Duke of Normandy being refloated and leave the dock. I also shot a bit video of the dock gate being lifted.
We had already watched the drydock being refilled via a sluice it the top gate.
Once The Duke was out, she could only go as far as the mouth of the dry dock as CRT have to open the footbridge across the weir stream and unlike us she is to tall to get under it, Matt and Mike


came and worked us up the lock, they have been trained by CRT to do this. Once clear of the lock its hard left and down the weir stream passed the rowing club, luckily they were all up the river today. If you look at the map at the bottom of this post you can see how we doubled back on ourselves. The entrance to the dry dock is just to the left of the sluices, thankfully the flow today was quite gentle.
Once in the dock Harnser was positioned with three ropes and the lock drained down into the river,
leaving her high and dry on the bostocks. Once the mud was flushed away Matt set to with the high
pressure water jet to clean the hull off. I was surprised just
how little black came off, once he had finished the sides he was on his cradle to do the base plate. Harnser's base plate was painted a
few years ago when we were on the Fens so it wasn't to bad.
For some reason the boat always feels much colder when out of the water, it must be the wind chill under the base plate.

Today's Journey

1/3 Mile 1 Lock in 25 minutes

Friday, 29 March 2019

Hunt Lock, Northwich

Day : Friday
Date : 29 March 2019
Start : 1015 Am
Finish : 1615 Hunts Lock


It was a splendid evening yesterday without a breath of wind, but

the temperature fell below freezing overnight and at 6 this morning the mist was so thick I couldn't see across the river. Things had improved dramatically by the time we set off at quarter past ten, It was only fifteen minutes down to Vale Royal lock and we arrived the same time as the lock keep even though we weren't booked until eleven. They saw us through and waved us goodbye, we boated down to Hunts Lock and they went in their truck, arriving a little before us.
Hunts lock looks as if it may have settled a bit over the years and the walls been topped up level, just look how the two layers of stone come together at the end.
By now the weather was really nice so we took a very slow chug down to Barnton Cut where we stopped for lunch spotting several Kingfishers on the way.
We had to be back at Hunts Lock for tonight ready for dry docking in the morning, so a slow chug back upstream stopping to top the water tank fully at Northwich services. On the way we passed this Cormorant warming its self in the sun and drying its feathers.

We then called in to have a word with Matt at Northwich Dry dock to find out the plan for the morning. They would float the tug out first, now with a splendid black hull and then come and take us up through the lock and into the dock.


Today's Journey
8½Miles 2 Locks in 4¼ hours

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Vale Royal moorings

Day : Thursday
Date : 28 March 2019
Start : 1000
Finish : 1630 Vale Royal moorings

Last night we were moored just by the railway viaduct, we could hear the goods trains rumbling over during the evening but they didn't disturb us overnight. You can hardly hear the passenger trains.

This morning we had Hunts Lock booked for 10 o'clock, at about 9 am the fuel boat Halsall went up, around quarter to ten we could see the lock keepers at work so moved forward to the lock moorings, look who came out.

I had a slight disagreement with a rower above the lock, he was right, I was in the wrong place but his attitude was not the best, still the rest were fine. It will be interesting in the morning when I reverse down past their club where they launch.
Up at New Bridge there is a Chalet park and over time we have watched it grow, it looks as if its now complete with a middle level of very smart chalets.
The river level looked well down so I left the weather station up, the anemometer cleared the under side by less that half an inch, for reference the swivel end of the bridge is half an inch lower, that's the side I passed under on our return trip and just clipped the cups.
There always use to be a building under the end of the conveyor at the Union Salt works, that has now gone and the salt just falls and blows in the breeze, hate to think what its like when its windy. For
some reason the salt they are producing now is a different colour not the normal off whitish pinkish colour.
Just as we approached the sewage outlet there were piles of foam blowing across the rive, maybe all the ladies of Winsford do their washing on a Thursday.
We carried on to Winsford, they now have a notice on the bridge welcoming you, I am not sure what the facilities are that they
mention other than moorings and a water tap. As we arrived the boat that came down the lift yesterday was just leaving, so we were able to moor in their place. After lunch we walked up to Morrison's where not only did we get 6 bottles of wine for £30 but also a voucher for 5p/lt of diesel for the car. By now it was a really pleasant warm afternoon so we untied and took a very slow cruise back to the Vale Royal visitor moorings.
Today's Journey
8 Miles 2 Locks in 3¼ hours

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Northwich

Day : Wednesday
Date : 27 March 2019
Start : 1045 am
Finish : 1450 Hunts Lock, Northwich.

Last night we had dinner at The Stanley Arms, not posh grub but good home made pub grub, I had a pie made with real pastry all round, not a piece of puff pastry floating on the top of a dish of something.
This morning I moved up to the lift waiting area at 9-30am as there was a boat waiting and I thought we may get to share, but no there were two going down so I had to pull back to the moorings. We had another go a little before 11 just as 2 boats came up and went in almost straight away.
There was bit of a delay before we started to move, it seems a piece of rope was trapped in the gate of the other chamber and it was leaking badly as we could see as it went past. I don’t know how that effected the level in the caisson as there was a boat in it. Once clear of the lift we turned down stream and at Barnton I spotted the first Bluebells I have seen this year. A little further on and the hill side was awash with gores all out in flower. We carried on down to Saltersford Lock which has been closed for repairs for some time. They have finally managed to pump the lock dry after having problems sealing the stop planks at the bottom end. We stopped on the lock moorings and walked down to see what we could see, but you can’t really get close enough with all the fencing around it.
We carried on up to Northwich, CRT have completed installing the new pontoons outside the cinema, they are even accessed by a locked gat, so remember to take your BW key with you. This moorings are for only 24 hours with no return for 7 days. We moored just below Hunts Lock for the night as we are booked to go through at 10am in the morning. Looking over to the dry dock we can see that there is a tug in there having some work done, I hope they are finished before Saturday when we should be going in.
Recently CRT issued an advice notice about Habitat Rafts being launched at Northwich and I wondered what they were talking about, today I found out. We had already spotted one moored to the bank in town, lets hope they don't float away and the tethers are long enough for when the river is low in the summer months.
Today's Journey 6¼ Miles 0Locks in 2½ hours


























Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Anderton Boat Lift

Day : Tuesday
Date : 26 march 2019
Start :0930
Finish : 1315 Anderton Lift

First thanks to Alf who left a comment on the blog pointing out my water tower is an accelerator and was known as Nuclear Structure Facility.

Last night we ended up with 7 boats moored here and when we set off at 9 30 to catch the 1030 tunnel opening there were only 2 left.
It looks as if the piling work at Little Leigh is almost complete with the towpath to reinstate.
We arrived at Saltersford Tunnel just as the last boat was about to enter, there were 4 of them so Diana followed them in, the engine didn't exceed 600 RPM all the way, that is about 2¼ MPH. The tunnel is quite wriggly but quite wide and as Diana was steering I was able to take a photo from the bows to show the bends.
Barton Tunnel was even better, I was steering this time and we did it at tick over, thankfully no one was waiting to come the other way. Once clear of the tunnel things didn't improve much. I am not sure it this pair of comedians were giggling about us or not.

We stopped at Anderton Boats for a pumpout and then went to the services to fill with water, as the tank was almost empty it took a bit of time. With that out of the way we winded and headed back to the lift to moor for the night, ready to drop down to the river in the morning. 

Today's Journey
5¾  Miles, 0 Locks in 3½ hours

Monday, 25 March 2019

Dutton Breach

Day : Monday
Date : 25 March 2019
Start : 1115
Finish : 1645 Dutton Breach T&M

It was 11-15 am when we set off today, Diana went for a walk to Walton Hall for a look round and I tried to book a passage through Hunts and Vale Royal locks for when we are down on the Weaver which I eventually achieved, but spoke to some very helpful people at CRT and even those who didn't know pointed me in the right direction.

I have often wondered what the large tower is at the Science Park and have come to the conclusion its nothing more than a water tower unless someone can tell me otherwise.At Waters Meeting, Preston Brook it was hard right for a run down to Runcorn, it was surprisingly cooler than on the main line for some reason. On our way to the terminus we passed this work platform, complete with outboard engine.

There is now a nice welcoming notice on the wall by the theatre encouraging boaters to stop and visit the town, we have never stop here but have stopped at the very end with no problem.

Now Runcorn has its new toll bridge spanning the Ship Canal and the Mersey, I don't think it was open last time we came down here.

There is great talk of reopening the locks from the end of the Runcorn Arm to the Ship Canal. Most of the chambers are still there and the line can be easily followed, but they were abandoned when the road was built to feed the Silver Jubilee Bridge as it crosses the top lock. It is hoped that with the new bridge this feeder will be redundant, but I cant see this happening soon as they are refurbishing the bridge at the moment.

I don't recall noticing this stone plaque on the face of Doctors Bridge when I have been down in the past depicting sailing ships in Runcorn.

Making our way back up the arm we again passed the work platform, but it had changed slightly and now has a tea room, changing room and toilet onboard, O and it wasnt tied up.

We made our way back to Waters Meeting and again turned right arrived at Preston Brook tunnel at 1525, just right for a passage on the half hour. There was already another boat waiting so it gave Diana a chance to pick a second hand book. I didn't tie up and the bows floated across the canal, boy is it shallow if you get off the line. We followed the Canaltime boat through the tunnel, about half way through I caught something on the rudder so couldn't steer, I chugged on slowly, do I struggle on or hit reverse, this may clear the rudder but it might end up in the prop. In the end I risked it and after a bit of clattering it was all free, probably a lump of sunken branch.

There was a boat waiting to enter the tunnel when we emerged and another waiting to come through Dutton lock, when we finally cleared the lock a third boat arrived heading for the tunnel just in time.

We decided to moor for the night at Dutton Breach, good job there are plenty of rings as there were 4 boats there already, but still room for one more.

Today's Journey 16½ Miles 1Lock in 5¼ hours