Saturday, 13 July 2019

home mooring Saturday 13 July 2019

Day : Saturday
Date : 13 July 2019
Start : 0900
Finish : 0950 Marina

A very short day today, I like to moor a short way from the marina to put back a bit of power into the batteries, we don't use much as the fridge is off to defrost and wipe out before we leave. I don't think we saw a boat on the move in that short trip. As we turned into the marina there was a chap fishing for carp, we have some big ones in there, but he left after I came in and winded to reverse back to our spot right where he had been fishing.

This trip we have done 120 miles, 76 Lock in 63 hoursIMG_0265 (2)

Today's Journeymap 14

2.33 Miles 0 Locks in 51 minutes

Friday, 12 July 2019

Bostock Green Friday 12 July 2019

Day : Friday
Date : 12 July 2019
Start : 1115
Finish : 1530

We had a grand evening last night round John and Gillian's at their garden Concert. The weather could have been a lot kinder but we had some lovely music from Pilgrims Way. This morning when it stopped raining we went over to see if there was anything we could do to help and also wave goodbye to NB. Jannock, NB Why Worry had already left.

We finally set off down the locks at quarter past eleven with two boats ahead of us and a couple coming up the locks. There were three Volockies on the Middlewich locks, one on each lock so that speeded our passage a bit. We stopped for water between the bottom lock and Big Lock, there are a couple of green binbags attached to a post there, today is the first time I have seen this notice.DSCF1749

Down at Big Lock Diana had just turned the lock when a boat came round the bend below, then another left the water point, to compound things we had just started to drop in the lock when a single handed boater arrived at the top, we did look back before closing the gates but couldn't see anyone, still at least the lock would be ready for her to go in with two boats coming up.

If anyone is looking for a pub to run then the lease on Big Lock is up for sale again, the new owners lasting less than 2 years. Its a pub with a good reputation, local as well as passing trade.

We stopped for lunch on the long term moorings just prior to the aqueduct, before setting off again to moor for the night on a nice stretch of piling in the middle of nowhere. The piling was done about 3 years ago but the field behind the tow path is still waterlogged.

Today's Journeymap 13

3¾ Miles 5 Locks in 2½ hours

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Middlewich Thursday 11 July 2019

Day : Thursday
Date : 11 July 2019
Start : 1100
Finish : 1500

A late start today as we didn't have far to go. I waited for some time after a boat had passed before setting off but as soon as I untied another came along, so we followed them to Cholmondeston Lock. It turned out we had timed it such that the Volockies had gone to the cafe for their morning tea break.

CRT are still hard at it piling above Minshull lock with just enough room to get by.DSCF1746

Below the lock the ground is completely water logged probably due to problems with the underground bywash, I expect it will collapse or block before anything is done.DSCF1748

The warm humid morning turned to a heavy shower with the wind freshening dramatically but this had cleared up by the time we reached Stanthorne Lock. We carried on to moor between bridges 29 and 30 just short of Wardle lock and walked round to meet up with friends for the evening.

Today's Journeymap 12

8¾ Miles 3 Locks in 4 hours

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Cholmondeston Wednesday 10 July 2019

Day : Wednesday
Date : 10 July 2019
Start : 0930
Finish : 1630

Last night as planed we ate in The Horse and Jockey choosing from their Tapas menu, you can have 3 dishes + bread and dip for £13.50 so we had 6 dishes with 2 bread an Sweet Potato chips, O and beer of course. They change the menu every month and July was American themed, we skipped the American beer.

This morning most of the other boats had departed when we set off at 9-30, we had some good luck with the locks again, we turned the first but then met boats when we were leaving so made life relatively easy. Things didn't change until we got to Baddiley No.2 where we caught up with the boat ahead.

When we arrived at Hurleston the Volockie had the top gate open for me, we had to hand around for a bit as there was a boat in the second from the top waiting to exit, but a boat coming up in the third from top, so I had to wait until he was in the pound between the top and second before I could move. Diana went down and helped them up the third from top. There were two Volockies working and the second helped us down the second and third locks where we waited again for a boat to enter the flight from the Shropshire Union main Line. At the bottom lock there were two CRT Lock Keepers working boats up and down slowly and watching the clearances each side of the boat as they did so.

Yesterday we met 20 hire boats and passed two having lunch, today we met just 4.

Once down the Hurleston flight we turned left to Barbridge and at Barbridge Junction turned right onto the Middlewich Branch, still the SU, so we have in fact been on the SU since day two, but the main line and two branches. We carried on down the Middlewich Branch and moored on the visitor moorings just above Cholmondeston Lock, lets hope the trains are not too noisy.

Today's Journeymap 11

14 Miles 13 Locks in 7 hours

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Grindley Brook Tuesday 9 July 2019

Day : Tuesday
Date : 9 July 2019
Start : 0900
Finish : 1525

This morning we didn't hear any boats go passed while we were in bed, so we showered, dressed and set off at 9 AM. first boat out of the arm and no one in front of us. Just as we exited the arm we met our first hire boat of the day, by 10 o'clock we had met 10 or them, which made us wonder where they were all moored last night, there are no pubs on honey spots within 5 hours of Ellesmere. The other strange thing was over the next 5 hours we only met another 10. I must say they were all behaving excellently, non speeding and all seemed well capable of steering the boats, which is more than can be said of the boat we met who passed a moored boat quite wide and put me in the mud.

The weather has been changeable, a spit or two of rain and a bit of sunshine, as I write this its peeing down.

I mentioned the disabled moorings yesterday, well this is what they look like with no boat moored there.DSCF1728

There is a small boat hire company on the Llangollen Canal, I really should call it the Shropshire Union Canal that just hires out a couple of boats, I am not sure if this is a day boat or just for short breaks.DSCF1726

We continued on to Grindley Brook where we stopped for water, two boats went down the Staircase locks while we were filling up, but due to a complete lull in passing traffic we were able to follow the second down, but it did mean the other 3 locks were against us. We moored just beyond the former railway bridge on the 48 hr visitor moorings, the bridge is quite a fine structure. DSCF1732

As you can see from the hours and mileage below, going down stream makes quite a difference to the journey time

Today's Journeymap 10

14 Miles 6 Locks in 6½ hours

Monday, 8 July 2019

Ellesmere Monday 8 July 2019

Day : Monday
Date : 8 July 2019
Start : 1000
Finish : 1800

Not quite so warm today but good enough to have breakfast on the front deck listening to Fountains mowing the grass. We were away at 1000 hrs and helped a day boat through the first lift bridge but it wasn't long before they pulled over and moored up. We met loads of boats coming towards us again and caught up with the boat head at Tilstock Park lift bridge, they had just gone through and were in the process of lowering until the steerer saw us and they wound it up again, Diana hopped off at the bridge to lower it but waited until a boat coming the other way had passed through. We caught the boat ahead up again before Roundthorn Bridge and this time I was set to overtake them when they pulled in to clear the prop. CRT are busy repiling a section between Roundthorn Bridge and Morris's Lift Bridge on the offside. The canal is well above ground level all the way along here.DSCF1711

There use to be a large scrap yard just before Whixall Moss junction, last tie we came here it had closed down but still had hundreds of tyres, today its just a couple of acres of concrete.DSCF1712

Its very sad to see that after BW of CRT went to the expense of making a 70 foot mooring with bollards and hard surface for disable use someone, probably a boater, sees fit to remove the disable signs.

DSCF1717   DSCF1716

We stopped at Hampton Bank for a couple of hours to visit old boating friends and then took her and her grandson on a cruise to Ellesmere. As we passed under one of the bridges a gongoozler watched us pass from one of the bridges.DSCF1720

We went to the end of the Ellesmere Arm expecting it to be full but passed a couple of spots, so winded at the end and headed back to one of them for the night.

Today's Journeymap 09

13 Miles 0 Locks in 6 hours

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Whitchurch Sunday 7 July 2019

Day : Sunday
Date : 7 July 2019
Start : 1030
Finish : 1815

Its been a strange sort of day to say the least. I decided to wash the left hand side of the boat this morning before it got to hot, a couple of boats had been by so we knew the next lock was against us, just as we finished washing and went in for breakfast a hire boat came by with 3 ladies onboard. About half an hour later, we had finished breakfast a boat came the other way, so we set off hoping that as no one else had been by at least the first lock would be with us, but no, the ladies were only just about to go in. After that we met about three boats, but who was at the next lock, the ladies. We carried on meeting more boat until we got to Baddiley No.3 and again the ladies. Looking up the canal as they left the lock I could see someone at lock No.2 so we decided to wait for them to arrive and lock up after they had gone down, they turned out to be even slower than the ladies were. Our next bit of amusement came at Church Lift bridge, Wrenbury. I dropped Diana off at the bridge on the off side and se is about to start lifting when young lad with a windlass and small dog arrived from the other direction and wanted to cross, turned out he was from a boat coming the other way. As Diana wound the bridge up the dog decided it would rather be back on the boat and shot up the bridge launching its self onto the tow path. I should add there were also a couple of canoes milling around, not real ones, blow up and sit on. I cleared the bridge but the lady coming the other way got in a right muddle, sorted her out , got her straight and she was heading for the bridge where her son hopped on and it all went sideways again. She was being followed by a lady on another boat, Flower boxes all over the roof and one plant at least 2 foot tall on the top. As she passed me I suggested that she stopped, "Why should I" was her reply so I pointed out the boat 50 foot ahead that she couldn't see had stopped. At that point it was hand on the horn, arm waving and shouting, "Get going, get out of the way" The only down side to this entertainment was that Diana was still stuck operating the bridge, but the sun was shining and we are in no hurry to get anywhere.

This house always reminds my of my dad, he had a reputation for building spiralling chimneys, Not sure he would approve of this one as it would be to pronounced for him, he would probably had half that amount of twists in that height.DSCF1698

We have seen several Giant Hogweed plants about, these are right on the edge of the towpath at Wrenbury so a real risk of someone touching them. DSCF1700

We passed the site of the recent breach, the towpath is still closed, breach siteunfortunately they put the closed barrier up between the lock and the lock landings at Marbury Lock. It was OK when they put them up as the canal was also closed, but now the lock crew has to squeeze round the barrier to get up to the lock.

We had just cleared the bridge at Grindley Brook when we met a boat so the first lock was with us, we then met boats at every lock so had a good run up. A boat waiting at the top of the four had just gone up the staircase and we were able to follow him up, Diana working one side and the lock keeper the other, so we did the flight in very good time. We are now moored for the night just before the Whitchurch Arm.

Today's Journeymap 08

12 Miles 15 Locks in 7¾ hours

Saturday, 6 July 2019

Swanley Sunday 6 July 2019

Day : Saturday
Date : 6 July 2019
Start : 1120 hrs
Finish : 1800 hrs

What a strange 24 hours, we went to bed and it was so hot we had the side doors and the slide open, then this morning we woke when the rain started so shut everywhere up, it rained all morning then after lunch was cool and now at 6 o'clock its warm and sunny again.

Last night we ate at The Shady Oak, the new management are boaters and very friendly, service is good as is the decor and the food is good pub grub but they finish serving food at 2030hrs. They even have 48 hr moorings in front of the pub.DSCF1690

We didn't set off until almost lunch time hoping the rain would have stopped but it continued until lunch time. We had a good run with the locks meeting a total of 8 boats so didn't turn any.

We were warned water levels were low above Tilstock Lock but it wasn't too bad. The concrete piling has collapsed above the lock for quite some distance and the river is not far away so lets hope its repaired before it becomes serious.DSCF1694

I heard bit of a strange sound in the sky and looking back just spotted this gyrocopter crossing in the distance.DSCF1697

We stopped for lunch just below Calveley Service and while we were there we washed one side of the boat. a quick stop at the services to dump stuff and then we headed for Hurleston Junction to have a couple of days on the Llangollen Canal. I knew Hurleston Locks were on restricted opening hours, but I didn't know what they were so I was very pleased to find them still open when we arrived. We were the last boat up and a boat we crossed with coming down was the last one to leave the Llangollen tonight. it was dead on 5 pm when we both left the last lock. We carried on up the Llangollen for an hour stopping to top up with water on the way and in that time we met 4 boats who were too late for the locks.

Today's Journeymap 07

8¾ Miles 10 Locks in 5 hours

Friday, 5 July 2019

Tarporley Friday 5 July 2019

Day : Friday
Date : 5 July 2019
Start : 1215 hrs
Finish : 1700 hrs

Last night we ate at the Turkish Restaurant Meze we have eaten here before a couple of times and the place has been busy, last night it was dead, with only 4 of us in there. Afterwards we went for a short wander around and saw very few people, most restaurants were almost empty but a lot of people sleeping in shop doorways.

This morning we did a bit of shopping, books and jigsaws from charity shops, and there are plenty to chose from before setting off just after mid day. We had seen a boat go up earlier so as expected the first lock was against us, but then things looked up with a boat coming towards us, so the gate was left open. The next lock had a hire boat in it so we went in when they came down, by now there were two moor waiting to come down and they helped work the lock. Passing The Bridge Inn the revellers from the Wake have all gone, there are still flower tributes in the pub and this one to "Speedy" floating in the canal, its constructed on empty water bottles.DSCF1675 At Broughton we had a good view of the cricket ground, looks as if it was a school sports day or something, definitely not cricket.DSCF1677

We caught up with the boat ahead at Greenfield lock and he offered to wait at the next lock, our last lock of the day so we shared that.

As the day has gone on the weather has got hotter, it started cool but this afternoon the sun was beating down. We passed this shed that seems to have lost its rigidity a bit. DSCF1681

Diana steered past the Golden Nock Moorings and timed it, 40 minutes end to end. We carried on to moor almost opposite the Shady Oak pub, we managed to find a space on the 48hr mooring, why do boaters not use the very end ring on a mooring, never mind the gaps.

Today's Journey map 06

10 Miles 5 Locks in 4¾ hours

Thursday, 4 July 2019

Chester Thursday 4 July 2019

Day : Thursday
Date : 4 July 2019
Start : 1040hrs
Finish : 1620hrs

We had just set off this morning when the first group of DoE. kidsDSCF1646 came back from yesterday, and then another, we counted 50 and after about a mile we passed this DoE checkpoint so I enquired,DSCF1647 they had camped overnight and were now on their way back and there were over 70 of them.

Today it 's so warm I am wearing shorts but its been bit of a slow journey, Just past Tattenhall marina is Golden Nook far moorings with about a mile of moored boats, so this took around half an hour and we met 3 boats coming the other way.

As we made our way along the canal I heard a plane and looking round saw an Airbus Beluga going over behind us, these take Airbus parts from the UK to France.DSCF1652

We stopped for lunch a short way before the Cheshire Cat and then pushed on filling with water just before Christleton Lock. While we were having lunch a boat went by so we expected all locks to be against us, but as we approached Christleton Lock a boat approached from below and as they came up filled the lock ready for us. We had similar luck at the rest, we turned Greenfield Lock but as we were leaving 2 people with windlasses arrived so we could leave the gates open, they even phoned the 2 boats leaving the next lock that we were coming so they left 2 crew to close the top gates for us.

In one of the offside gardens I spotted this SUC marker post.DSCF1657

Passing the Bridge Inn on the outskirts of Chester there was a wake going on and they were certainly giving him a good send off with some very merry friends and relations on the towpath. DSCF1669

I have seen quite a few young birds about today, I suspect these are second broods, both duck and moorhen.

DSCF1668  DSCF1658 

As we dropped into Chester we could see that work is progressing well at the old shot tower with the new housing development. DSCF1670

When we arrived in the town centre where we wanted to moor we were pleased to see only 3 boats there so plenty of room for us for the night.

Today's Journeymap 05

8¾ Miles 5 Locks in 4¾ hours

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Tarporley Wednesday 3 July 2019

Day : Wednesday
Date : 3 July 2019
Start : 1030
Finish : 1500

We had a very nice meal in The Old Barbridge Inn last night, not cheep selecting from their specials board, but I am sorry to say the service has not improved and we had to go and find out what had happened to out deserts a little before 10 pm. Maybe next time we will just have a main and no pud.

This morning was much warmer, unlike last night when an extra blanket was needed on the bed. Well it did drop to 8 Deg. C. We set off at 1030 am back the way we had come to Barbridge junction but then carried straight on towards Chester. As we passed the junction I managed this photo of the old pub sign, I wonder why its being kept.DSCF1635

As we approached the A51 bridge we met a couple of boats, luckily the second one told me there was a third following so I could hold back and not meet in the bridge on the bend. Just beyond the bridge there is a major development going on and it looks as if they are laying a sewer about a Mt in diameter, there is already one new large industrial unit on site so I guess its the start the Cheshire Green Industrial Park.DSCF1637

The services at Calveley were packed, two boats filling with water and two waiting for them to move off. As we just had some rubbish to dump I poked the bows in between two boat on the long term mooring so Diana could hop off with it.
As we approached Banbury staircase locks I could see a boat had just entered the lock, there were two Volockies on duty and keptDSCF1641 the top gates open for us to join them, we then shared all the locks as far as Beeston Iron Lock that they wanted to do alone, so we moored up for lunch.
After lunch we shared Beeston Iron lock and the next lock with. There was a steady flow of boats coming towards us so locks were ready and gates could be left open.
At Wharton's Lock there were dozens of youngsters doing their Duck of Edinburgh award, walking from the direction of Beeston DSCF1643Castle and checking in with someone at the lock side before continuing west along the towpath, there has been a steady stream passing us ever since we moored up.DSCF1644
Its good to see that The Shady Oak is open again and offering moorings to patrons, maybe we will check it out on our way back. We carried on for another mile of so before mooring for the afternoon in the now very pleasant sun shine.

Today's Journeymap 04

7 Miles 6 Locks in 4 hours

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Barbridge Inn Tuesday 2 July 2019

Day : Tuesday
Date : 2 July 2019
Start : 1100
Finish : 1535

It was even cooler this morning. We delayed our departure so that we would still be cruising when the bread was baking in the bread machine.

There was quite a bit of traffic about and we soon caught up with a slow boat, luckily he turned at the next winding hole, when we arrived at Minshull lock to a very small queue, only 3 of us. Above the lock CRT have been repiling the towpath edge by the lock moorings. As we left the lock they took one of their work boats down.DSCF1630

There were quite a few boats moored between Minshull and Cholmondeston Lock with boats winding and generally milling about. There were two Volockies working the lock and again a very small queue, this time I had to wait for a boat to come down as well.

Above the lock we stopped for water, this waterpoint is not easily spotted and someone has painted on the grass saying "Mooring For Water Point Only " in large letters. The tap was quite slow and we had time to have lunch before the tank was full. As we approached Barbridge Junction we could see a large crane in the distance, thisDSCF1632

turned out to be the new housing estate on the site of the old Jolly Tar pub, the pub sign is still there.DSCF1633

At the junction we turned left and passed The Barbridge Inn, continuing for a few hundred yards through the bridge to where the canal is wide enough to wind, we turned there and mad our way back to the pub, mooing by their garden as we plan to go for a meal there tonight. We went in and booked a table but as is our luck here, at 1930 hr they have a party of 16, so our table is booked for 2015hrs.

Today's Journeymap 03

8 Miles 2 Locks in 4 hours

Monday, 1 July 2019

Middlewich Branch SU Monday 1 July 2019

Day : Monday
Date : 1 July 2019
Start : 1050
Finish : 1630

Yesterday afternoon a fourth boat arrived and moored outside the far end boat, it turned out the owner was taking a friend out for a Birthday surprise and they stopped to cut the cake which was in the shape of a Narrowboat, although they had a boat full they still had too much cake so we were all invited to help them eat it before they set off to Middlewich to drop the friend back home.

Although we have moored here before I have never noticed that the benches are made by HM Prison service using wood reclaimed from lock gates.DSCF1620

Overnight the temperature dropped dramatically and we were woken by the rain but it didn't last long, but this morning it was only 15 deg C. a big change. We were away just before 11 AM and as we approached Middlewich a boat caught up with us, the plan was to fill with water below Big Lock but there was a boat already there, however there was a single boat in Big Lock so we joined them. Whilst in the lock I noticed two things, One CRT have done nothing about improving access to the offside of the lock, the bridge closed back in February and two, the lease on The Big Lock pub is up for sale.

We arrived at the second waterpoint seconds behind a boat coming the other way who also wanted water, we waited ¾ hour while he filled his tank. As we left a boat came down the lock and there were two volockies working the flight so we had a good run up. At Middlewich Junction we turned right into the 164 foot Wardle Canal, the shortest canal in the country.DSCF1621

While we were having lunch a single handed boat went by and surprise, surprise when we reached Stanthorne Lock the top gate was wide open, not only that but a family of swans had decided to move in. It took quite a bit of shoo'ing and coaxing to persuade them to leave before we could turn the lock.DSCF1624

We continued on to the 48 hr moorings overlooking the Weaver flashes where we moored for the night, since we have been here, we were the second boat to moor it has filled up. I am pleased to say that the weather picked up this afternoon and after mooring we spent a bit of time putting the seat together again on the front deck, we gave it an overhaul while the boat was being painted. DSCF1627

Today's Journeymap 02

5½ Miles 6 Locks in 4 hours