Friday 19 July 2024

Little Onn

Last night we ate at the Wharf Tavern at Cholmondeston, it's about 25 years since we have been here when they kindly let us leave our car for a few days in their carpark. Today it says “No overnight parking”. They also have a large caravan park that is getting bigger by the day. As expected on a sunny July evening a canal side pub was bursting, in the dining room most of the tables were used twice and the girls were kept busy. Even so the meals were served in good time and the service friendly and unhurried.DSCF9478

CRT or rather Rothen Group have fitted new stop locks along here in case of an Embankment failure. The last one fell completely to pieces and would have done nothing to hold back water if the embankment developed a leak. Click Here to see what it was like. DSCF9481

We stopped for a while to chat with friends Muriel and Jerry, both still very active and both well into their 80s, I just hope we fair as well.
Everyone has to photograph this bridge with its old telegraph pole complete with insulators.DSCF9482

There is a boat on the Norbury Wharf long term moorings that has an Owl living, last time I photographed it there was a long eared owl, today its a Barn Owl.DSCF9483

CRT must be quite concerned about these embankments, not only have they replaced the stop gates, on the off side below Norbury Junction  they have cleared the trees.DSCF9485

This canal is quite well know for its Kingfishers and today we weren't disappointed. This one splashed into and out of the canal before landing on theDSCF9488

mooring lines of this boat. As well as ones flying ahead we passed at least one who just sat and watched us go, I wonder how many more did that, of course we were passed before I could think of picking up the camera. Likewise Herons Buzzards and Red Tailed Kites.
This weekend is the Gnosall festival and as you can imagine the canal is full of boats trading for theDSCF9491weekend. We have friends Anne and Oli there so we pulled alongside their boat and had a quick chat before pressing on. Lots of traders are now using small push tugs to trade from, this gives them an overall length of 70 feet so can go through a lock as a unit but gives them somewhere outside their living accommodation to trade from.DSCF9492

A new one for me today, a field of poppies, I had never considered where poppy seeds for cooking come from, I always assumed abroad, but maybe this is where that start life.DSCF9496

Things have been going well as far as prop fouls go but today I was just coming out of a bridge hole with a day boat coming the other way, shouldn’t have been a problem but they hit revers and slewed right across the cut, I engaged revers and after an initial slowing down nothing, I had this carpet round the prop.DSCF9497
We moored at little Onn just beyond Reyhill Bridge 22. We hadn’t been here long when I heard an old working boat coming towards us  and it was towing what I can only describe as a mud hopper behind with a chap sitting on a folding chair steering it.IMG_20240719_163119

Today’s Journey image

14 miles, no locks  in 5¾ hours

Thursday 18 July 2024

Goldstone Bridge

Another sunny start to the day and we were on the move at 10am with nothing else on the move. A good run to Tyrley locks where a boat was just going up in the first lock. We followed them all the way up waiting in each pound behind them to the top, where a boat was coming down. It good to see this chap is still keeping an eye on things below the flight.DSCF9470

At the top of the flight the lock side cottages have a rather good display of flowers.DSCF9473

CRT don’t look to have too much of a problem with the offside now being roped off, they are even moored to his fence post.DSCF9472

We only met one boat in Woods Eves Cutting and I held back in a wider part for them but they were still well aground trying to pass. There have been several more small land slips, one of them bringingDSCF9476

down some large rocks, The gabion reinforcing work carried out a few years back looks to be holding well, the slips are in other parts both sides of the canal. High bridge is always worth a shot as youDSCF9475pass by. At the very end of the cutting a second boat held back until we were clear.

Only a short trip today as we want to eat in the Wharf tonight. its over 25 years since we have been there when  they let us leave our car for a few days. There were plenty of moorings opposite when we arrived but its filled up since.


Today’s Journey image

5 lock, 3½ miles in 2¼ hours

Wednesday 17 July 2024

Market Drayton

Last night we ate in the Shroppie Fly, I can’t ever remember eating in there before, last time we visited to eat we walked in and saw what was on offer and left. Its a different ball game now.IMG_20240716_201039 We both had pies as the main course and nice deserts to follow.
This morning we woke to bright sun and when a boat came down the locks at about 9am we set off, the first boat passed had been about 5-30 to 6am.
If anyone requires fenders Mell Edwards now moors in the long pound above the Shroppie Fly.DSCF9466

We had a reasonable run up the flight, there were boats going up some way ahead, but with a nice straight flight we could see boats coming down so waited rather than turn locks, I don’t think we turned any locks in the flight.
Cakes and Porkpies were bough at the top lock cottage before carrying on the Adderley flight where we followed a single hander up the flight and no one coming down, we assisted him as much as possible. The farmers butchers shop at the top lock has now gone. If I remember correctly it was part funded by an online giving scheme.DSCF9468

We carried on along a very quiet canal to Market Drayton, the long term mooring on the offside are almost empty, I can’t believe that they are all out cruising.IMG_20240717_171607

The towpath moorings opposite these long term moorings are limited to overnight only except on market day.(Wednesday & Saturday)

IMG_20240717_171833 IMG_20240717_171842

CRT have now defined what over night is and posted clear signage to reflect it, 4pm-10am next morning. We managed to find a spot to moor just before bridge 63, followed by a trip to Lidl.

Today’s Journey image

6¼miles, 18 locks in 5 hours

Tuesday 16 July 2024


To say it rained yesterday evening and throughout the night would be an understatement, it was raining when we got up but as soon as it cleared we decided to set off, this of course coincided with a boat coming passed, it could have been worse, when we reached the first lock there were two more behind is. It was still fine drizzle when we pushed off but that had cleared by the first lock and the weather continued to improve. On the way to the first lock we met Richard who had just come down, DSCF9460

so at least the lock ahead would be ready for them.
We have been playing leapfrog with this boat for a few days but its the first time we have met at a lock and had a chat. From here we followed them (at a distance) all the way to Audlem lock where they moored ready to wind in the morning. We carried on up two locks to moor for the night. There were plenty of spaces, I think these notices may have put a few off. Not everyone reads the small print.DSCF9465

The garden at Audlem bottom lock is still being maintained on the off side. I don’t know who tends it, I think its probably on CRT land.DSCF9464

This poor old old goose may have problems as he wont be able to fly to avoid predators, its commonly known as Angel Wing.DSCF9461



Today’s Journey image

4¾ miles, 4 locks in 2½ hours.

Monday 15 July 2024


We woke to a lovely sunny morning and set off earlier than usual to try to avoid the queues at Cholmondeston Lock, we had already had a couple of boats go by but the first was quite early. Not far from where we moored there are some visitor mooring with picnic tables and BBQ frames, there is also a designated disable mooring.DSCF9454

Our plan worked as there were no other boats at the lock and the two Volockies saw us coming and got the lock ready for us. I did consider stopping to fill with diesel now the services have been taken over by the Chamberlin’s but they were still closed,DSCF9455so it was straight into the lock. Its not surprising there are queues here as one top paddle is out of action. Some time later we were on our way again, I must admit we did stand chatting with the Volockies for a bit.
At Barbridge, where the Middlewich Branch meets the Shropshire Union canal there is a notice on the bridge, I can’t recall seeing a similar notice anywhere else, anyone know of one?DSCF9456

Two honks of the horn and I slowly went forward until Diana indicated a boat was coming, but as he wanted to come under the bridge he held back and let me out. We turned hard left towards Nantwich, I had a bit of a squeeze on the wide at Henhull Moorings as this lady wanted to hang to my side and only just left room to get between her and the moored boats, I think with the flowers she couldn’t see to the right hand side of her boat.DSCF9458

  Nantwich was packed, but it looks to me as if CRT have made more moorings available for visitors south of the aqueduct on the embankment. We decided to moor for the night north of the railway bridge before Hack Green locks.

Today’s Journeyimage

7¼ miles, 1 lock in 3 hours

Sunday 14 July 2024

Cholmondeston Winding Hole

It was drizzling first thing and quite a few boats moving about so we waited until 11 am to set off hoping to avoid queues at locks and it worked quite well. One of the canal side properties in Middlewich has a good collection of Narrowboat. Can you have too many boat?DSCF9451

We had a male swan escort us the length of Park Farm moorings past his wife and kids, they didn’t even come begging for food.DSCF9452

We arrived at Stanthorne lock and I nosed in against the gates only to find there was a boat coming down, I couldn’t see any disturbance in the canal from the water coming out of the gate paddles. There was another boat at the top waiting, a family of Norwegians heading for the Bridgewater canal. When we got to Minshull lock there was another boat waiting to go up as well as boats coming down. Its easy to see how queues build up. Hear we heard tails of the queues at Cholmondeston Lock, but we weren't going that far today.
There has been lots of talk on the internet about CRT’s towpath mowing this year, well it looks as if they have grabbed the bull by the horns of the Middlewich branch, even avoiding patches of wild flowers, maybe that will keep both camps happy, those who want the towpaths left for nature and those that want them cut.DSCF9453


Today’s Journey image

2 lock  7¼ miles in 3 hours

Saturday 13 July 2024

Middlewich Branch bridge 30

Last night we were undecided whether to have an Indian or Italian for dinner, in the end the weather maid our minds up, it was raining and Barchetta the Italian restaurant was closest. Mind you the meal was first class.
We pushed off at 10 and stopped off at the services to fill with water and dump rubbish.That all sorted we set off with a good run before the first lock, on the way this flew over, I am sure someone knows what it is.DSCF9446

There was a boat just coming out of Booth Lane Top Lock as we arrived, but she reversed back into the lock to pick up her husband who had walked round to drop the offside paddle. At this point it started raining quite heavily but it only lasted as long as it took us to work the lock. The mill below the lock is looking very smart now.DSCF9447The next two locks should have been with us but the bottom one had leaked well off and I finished draining it for an up coming boat.
The hosing estate by Booth Lane bottom lock looks very established now and the estate above Rumps Lock is growing rapidly. There is a rather large pile of soil on the offside, I am not sure where its from.DSCF9448

Kings lock was with us and after dropping through we turned hard left into the Wardle Canal, I had to hover outside as there was a boat waiting for go up and one in the lock coming down. After working up Wardle Lock, lots of help with boats waiting to come down we headed for this bridge with its abundanceDSCF9449of wild plants. (note I have pained and polished my exhaust)  There were a couple of boats moored in the next pound so no room for us so under bridge 30 to moor for the night.

Today’s Journeyimage

6¼miles, 6 locks in 4 hours.

Friday 12 July 2024


The first boat went past at 7-30 this morning so we knew the locks would be against us, then one went about every half hour, we left at quarter to ten, we should have left it a bit later as the boat ahead was just leaving the first lock as we arrived. We did meet a few boats in the flight but nothing to help us and with two single handers a couple of boats ahead it was a slow run waiting at every lock until the very last one where the boat ahead set the offside lock for us. The weather looked threatening all day and we had a few short showers of very fine drizzle. I didn’t really see anything worth photographing except this chap on a lock approach.DSCF9442

We now have a big decision to make, Indian or Italian tonight’s dinner here in Wheelock?


Today’s Journey image

3¾ miles, 14 locks in 4 hours.

Thursday 11 July 2024

Rode Heath

An early start for us, the tunnel keep was outside about twenty to eight seeing if we were ready to set off, checked the light and horn, safety briefing and leaflet, as far as he was concerned we were ready to go. I had to get my hat and coat on, it was raining, put the tiller on, drop the exhaust, start the engine and cast off. We entered the tunnel a the sole boat a few minutes to 8. A 1000Mt. into the tunnel and there was a boat a boat behind us. I was surprised we got a second fog bank so far into the tunnel when the fans restarted. There has been a lot of talk on Facebook on how fast you should go in tunnels, I went through at a steady 3MPH. When we reached the far end the rain had stopped and there was just one boat waiting for a North South transit. A steady chug to Plants Lock where the nearside lock is out of action, that was the only poorly one today.DSCF9434

We met a couple of boats at Red Bull but then rapidly started to catch up with the one ahead. The volunteer towpath team were working down the flight in the now steady rain cutting the grass and trimming round the mooring rings, one of them kindly gave us and the boat ahead a bit of help down the locks. We decided to moor above Church lock rather than sit on the tail of the boat ahead. One of the things I noticed was the number of Swifts swooping around on the far side of the canal. I have only seen those sorts of numbers overseas in recent years. I did try a photo but they look like speck.DSCF9435

After about half an hour we decided to push off, another boat had come, but lo and behold another boat came down behind us, so we waited another three quarters of an our and set off at the third lock, Halls we caught up with the boat that passed us all that time ago. Dropping down Church Bottom I looked back at the stairs, it looks as if they have all been taken off and replaced the other way up with the wear hollows filled with cement.DSCF9436

We met a coupe of boats in the flight but it didn’t speed out journey at all as we had to wait for them to enter and work locks, so a bit of sitting about.
Passing the CRT yard below Lawton locks I spotted these lock beams sitting in a boat ready to go, we have seen lots of locks where the beams are just held together with angle iron, but I would imagine this ones ate earmarked for this flight somewhere.DSCF9439

We continued on to Rode Heath hoping to find a mooring but had to go down past the winding hole to find a spot, this was at half one in the afternoon.


5 miles, 12 locks 3½ hoursimage