Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Home moorings Wednesday 11 September 2019

Day : Wednesday
Date : 11 September 2019
Start : 0945
Finish : 1005hrs. The marina

Well its been an unusual 24 hrs. As I posted last night we went to Whatcroft Flash for the night, the first unusual thing was a train went by, I have probably only seen 4 of these on this line in 3 years, this evening there were not just the one but two, the second going in the opposite direction after dark.

Again we had rain over night and first thing this morning but it had stopped by the time we set off at quarter to ten. As we made ready to set off Diana spotted a small newt sitting on the top edge of the bank side open side door, I carefully removed it and set it down onDSCF2677 the very wet grass. That was the second unusual thing. Not unusual was the fact it was chucking it down by the time we moored up.

The third unusual thing was I looked at the internet before we set off for stoppages on the roads between the marina and home, I have never done that before only to find that the M6 was completely blocked and had been since midnight so we had to plan a new route home, no point going down the M6 and following diversions, thousands of other drivers were doing that, so we went well to the west rejoining the M6 below the incident. I think they rout home had 2 lanes open south bond at about 3 pm by which time we were on the A14 battling with the road works and small temporary road direction signs.

We have been out for 46 nights and covered 476 miles passing through 365 locks, this took us some 216 hours travelling time.IMG_0275

Today's Journeymap 48¾ Miles 0 Locks in 20 minutes

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Whatcroft Flash, Tuesday 10 September 2019

Day : Tuesday
Date : 10 September 2019

Start : 0950
Finish : 1700 Whatcroft Flash

The rain was still hanging about when we got up but soon left us. A boat went by a little after 9 am so we hung on until ten to ten before pushing off, Colin from The Wool Boat was outside to wave us off. The geese around here are feeding on the stubble and roosting on the lakes so make a good noise as they cross morning and evening, but nothing all night.DSCF2670

We expected the locks to be against us but we met 4 boats before the first lock, all single handed and all men. So waiting to leave paid off, at Booth Lane middle lock CRT had just about locked up, doing lock maintenance and clearing by-washes, at Booth Lane bottom lock another boat was coming up, plus one waiting below. The housing development by the locks has now been joined by a block of flats or apartments, I wonder if this is the a"affordable housing" that now accompanies most developments.DSCF2672

At Rumps lock we caught up with the single handing boater that passed before we set off and by Kings Lock we were third in the queue with a steady stream of boats coming up.

As we locked down a boat arrived from the Middlewich Locks so the top one was ready for us, a Volockie drew the middle one on his way for his lunch break and we turned the bottom. At Big Lock, which is a wide lock we were back with the single handing gent. We waited while a boat locked up and then dropped down together, we pulled away first and didn't see him again.

There is quite a bit of floating pennywort on the T&M up near the flashes, I hope the winter is hard enough to kill it off or seriously set it back in its spread.DSCF2674

We carried on back to the marina where we unloaded some of the stuff (6 weeks dirty washing) to the car and then did an oil and filter change, plus topping up the batteries. The new ones are using much less water, I only added a litre in total. Once that was all sorted we left the marina again and headed down to Whatcroft Flash for the night.

Today's Journeymap 47 11 Miles 9 Locks in 5½ hours

Monday, 9 September 2019

Sandbatch Monday 9 September 2019

Day : Monday
Date : 9 September 2019
Start : 0910
Finish : 1650 Rookery moorings

I have uploaded our proposed route to Canal Planer AC https://canalplan.eu/journey/12200_cp if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

As expected we woke to the sound of rain, just after 9 a boat went by so we quickly followed him, knowing if he went through the tunnel and there was someone waiting to come the other way we could wait for a hour and a half. When we arrived at the tunnel having met 3 other boats we were told it would be another 40 minutes as there was another boat coming through. Horn and lights were checked, number of people and pets on board recorded, licence details noted. Once the oncoming boat had cleared the tunnel we were on our way, number 3 in a line of 4. Not my fastest transit, a lot was spent on tick over but we made it safely. On the point of safety this is part of the communication system CRT DSCF2650 installed in the tunnel following a death a few years back. I am not sure how effective it is.

Yet again I failed miserably to get a photo of the skeleton in the tunnel, one day I will press the shutter at the right moment.DSCF2652

When we cleared the tunnel it was still raining and this continued until bout 3pm. We had quite good luck with the locks and meeting people, we turned a few and closed a few but I don't think we turned and closed a single one, such was the flow of boats up the flight. Most of the 26 locks are paired but today there were 6 out of action, all towpath side, numbers 66, 60, 50, 52, 44, 42 in addition to that there were at least two paddles out one on 41 and the other on 50, so if the other paddle on 50 fails its the flight closed.

Down at lock 52 CRT were just starting preparing to change the top DSCF2655gate, I thought the name of the flat they are using ironic considering its the Lawton flight. CRT have a yard not far below the flight and they were loading equipment including a new gate as we passed.DSCF2657

Over the passed few years every time we have passed through Hassall Green I have photographed the old Romping Donkey pubDSCF2660 I would like to think that the featured walls inside are original but I have my doubts.

At lock 62 the wooden fender board has now snapped right DSCF2661 through, I doubt it will get replaced, but this brought a smile to my face, that and it had stopped raining, its not just fishermen who watch the float it seems.DSCF2662

We were due to moor at Malkin's Bank but as we were having such a good run with the lock we continued down the flight finding the last two locks against us, but even then we could leave the exit gates open. Nearly all the Wheelock visitor moorings were taken and we didn't want to be up by the road bridge so we carried on to some good moorings just before Rookery Railway bridge at Sandbach where we are moored behind the Wool Boat

Today's JourneyMap 46 11½ Miles 26 Locks in 7¾ hours

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Westport Lake Sunday 8 September 2019

Day : Sunday
Date : 8 September 2019
Start : 0900
Finish : 1700 Westport Lake

I have uploaded our proposed route to Canal Planer AC https://canalplan.eu/journey/12200_cp if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

It was a tad cool in the early hours of this morning, not quite a frost but very close to it. We were away at 9am but a couple of boats moored behind us had already passed so it was no surprise to be behind a hire boat at Aston Lock, the good news they were stopping at M&S food hall below Stone lock. When we arrived at Stone locks he was just filling with water while the ladies went shopping so we were able to pass, this gave us a good run up the locks. Above the lock The Star Pub has a new slant on outdoor seating with this row of chairs along the towpath.DSCF2623

Joules Brewery who originate in Stone are building a new Tap House on Crown Wharf and also turning the old fire station into a heritage site.DSCF2625

Our run through Stone with the locks went well apart from a hiccup at Meaford Bottom Lock where the prop fouled just as I was about to enter the lock. I pulled the boat in on a rope and as Diana locked us up I delved into the weedhatch to remove a rope fender that was wrapped round the prop and shaft. As the next lockDSCF2632 was in our favour a boater coming down had opened the gates and walked down to see why I wasn't leaving the lock. I do wish people would not go through locks with fenders down. Sorry to those that had to wait for us.

We met up with some old friends at the top of the flight from Suffolk on their share boat.

Just after Trentham lock there are two trees growing in the middle of the towpath, I can't think of another example of this on the system at all.DSCF2636

I am not sure who this group of cyclists where but there were 15 of them making their way along the towpath at a sedate rate of knots thankfully, unlike some we meet.DSCF2637

In Stoke on Trent there is an online mooring site known as "Dolphin shooting fishing and boats" A lady there has a boat with a wicker cratch and sedum top to it, plus the boat is covered with flowers.DSCF2638

At Stoke bottom lock our luck changed with a boat going up the lock ahead so from now we had to turn each lock, in Stoke top lock there was a large dead Pike, I would estimate it to be between 600 and 750mm long, over half the length of a bottom gate, the head section doesn't show as it had sunk.DSCF2643

Festival Park has had a new addition since we were this way last. Waterworld with flume rides and lots of other activities DSCF2645

As we were making good time we decided to carry on to Westport Lake for the night, but when we arrived it was pretty full with all boats except one sharing a ring, as we passed he popped out and offered to shuffle up for us which was good of him. He explained that last night everyone was sharing a ring, but as boats have gone and others come some of different lengths he got left with a gap each side, so when he thought we were looking for a mooring he was more than happy to help. Unlike a boater yesterday we followed, he asked a boater to move forwards or backward and she refused saying she wanted a full 30 feet empty each end of her boat.

Today's Journeymap 4516 Miles 15 Locks in 8 hours

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Burston Saturday 7 September 2019

Day : Saturday
Date : 7 September 2019
Start : 0945hrs
Finish : 1700 hrs Burston

I have uploaded our proposed route to Canal Planer AC https://canalplan.eu/journey/12200_cp if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

Back to our normal sort of time today, 0945 hrs off in the sunshine. Last time we passed here this was just the beginning of a building site, today its established lived in homes right behind theDSCF2604 Ashtree cruising club moorings. When we use to moor at Kings Bromley marina I often looked at this shed and wondered how much more it could lean without falling over, its still going and still standing.DSCF2606

We had a brief stop at Tesco in Rugeley, as we pulled in the boat ahead left so we were able to moor right outside the store, I must say most of the boats that went by, it is quite narrow and a blind bridge were moving at a fair rate. OK we were not well tied but its quite a congested area. Once the boss returned with the essentials we were off heading for Colwich lock, we met several boats on the way, one right where there are a pair of breasted Narrowboats moored outside a house, they are as big an obstacle as a wide beam on a narrow canal. We caught up to the boat in front just before the lock and there  was no one ahead of him, with boats waiting to come down it was one up, one down. There were only 8 boats moored between here and Haywood lock which is unusual. After this it was a steady run up the locks until we moored for the night just before Burston lower bridge.
Looking across from the canal there is a rather splendid tree house with a balcony, I wonder if its a glamping let.DSCF2620

Today's Journeymap 4414½ Miles 5 Locks in 6½ hours

Friday, 6 September 2019

Armitage Friday 6 September 2019

Day : Friday
Date : 6 September 2019
Start : 0800 hrs
Finish : 1645 hrs Armitage Plumb Pudding

I have uploaded our proposed route to Canal Planer AC https://canalplan.eu/journey/12200_cp if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

I looks like we now have a new mooring, don't know whereabouts but we are in the book. We had a nice meal and a pint of Dome Bar in the Samuel Barlow last night. This morning we were awake in go time and as the forecast was for rain later we set off at 8 am. It wasn't early enough because the very heavy rain hit us at Brookhay, we had planned to stop at Fradley.

This canal side garden has always supported loft of ornaments but I think there are even moor today than the last time we passed.DSCF2584

If anyone is looking for a canal side property with a mooring the lock cottage by Glascote bottom lock is up for sale for £250K. Someone has had the paper notice by the lock engraved onto brass and its now attached on the offside.DSCF2586

All the times we have crossed the aqueduct at Tamworth over the River Tame, I have never noticed this Pill Box at the far end.DSCF2588

I thought I best top up with diesel, I have always found Fazeley Mill Marina to be competitive, today they were 76p for domestic, last time I filled up I paid 85p, it was a short detour but worth it.

Back to Fazeley Junction and up the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. We passed a moored boat with an unusual wind turbine, an axial one, I have no idea how efficient they are, but I would rather that than spinning blade tips above my head.DSCF2589

At Fradley Junction it was hard left, just as a boat had gone by in the same direction we were going. By now the sun was out and the sky was blue, time to take the raincoat off. There is a kind of raft moored on the private moorings by cafe, I am not sure what its purpose is, it looks as if its made to take an outboard engine and also a bit like a ferry. Some one will know.DSCF2595

The boat ahead of us was a single handing lady, but she was well on the ball with her boating skills, tucked into the bottom gate, up and crank the paddles, at which point Diana arrived after closing the swing bridge to lend a hand. As there was a boat coming down I had to wait for, Diana went up to Shadehouse lock to lend a hand but was back as I drew the top paddle to bring Harnser up the middle lock. As the weather was now so nice we decided to push on a bit, at Wood End lock I saw a proper compost toilet with flowers growing out of it.DSCF2597

We met several boats as we continued on our way, mooring for the night opposite the allotments just before The Plum Pudding at Armitage.

Today's Journeymap 43 22¾Miles 5 Locks in 8¾ hours

Thursday, 5 September 2019

Polesworth Thursday 5 September 2019

Day : Thursday
Date : 5 September 2019
Start : 1000
Finish : 1530 Alvecote

I have uploaded our proposed route to Canal Planer AC https://canalplan.eu/journey/12200_cp if anyone wants to see where we are likely to be. It gets updated with actual position each night.

Thanks for the two replies last night, Firstly there was a man tending his Bees, just after I did the blog and secondly the things on the overhead power cabled called Stockbridge dampers. There is always someone who knows the answer.

Yesterday evening the wind got up and it rained, I was quite pleased we sleep at the back. By this morning the sun was back and after hearing Rick on Auriga chug gently by we thought it best we got up. It was 10 when we set off and stopped at the top of the Atherstone flight to fill with water and dup rubbish. We met quite a few boats in the flight and a couple of boaters enquired if it was me that produced this log, sorry I didn't ask your names but I did note one boat was called Holly.

I think they may have bit of a problem getting this boat that is in Barry Hawkins yard through the flight.DSCF2572

It was the lock by his yard where I had to feed the swans, not something I normally do, but in this case they were all grouped by the top lock and would probably have gone in the lock as soon as we opened the gate, so I tempted them away with bread. As soon as we were in the lock and I stopped feeding them they were back by the gate.DSCF2574

A little further down the flight were these flowers in memory of a lady that died on the flight at lock 8 back in July. Really theDSCF2575 remains of these need removing as the flowers are all dead but I never feel I should touch them.

Once clear of the flight we carried on past Grendon Dock where we were greeted by a spotty dog, we first had one when I was a kid and then another when I first got married.DSCF2578

A rather interesting boat in Polesworth called Brenda May, notDSCF2580 only did he have 2 masts with imitation birds and other items , heDSCF2582 also had some snakes made from tyres and what looked like a gorilla sitting on the bows.DSCF2583

We carried on and moored opposite The Samuel Barlow at Alvecote, where we hope to have a mooring for the next 12 months, but they look pretty full so we will have to see what the man says when he gets back.

Today's Journeymap 42 8½ Miles 11 Locks in 5½ hours