Saturday 24 September 2016

In the Marina Saturday 24 September 2016

A leisurely start today with no where special to go, we pushed off just before 10-30am and we had not gone far when I spotted a tree of nice looking apples on the off side, lets hope they are as good as they look. Pushing on we stopped at the CRT services at Anderton to fill up with water and then crossed to Anderton Marina to enquire as to whether or not they did toilet pump-outs for passing boats or just their own, I was pleased they said they do it for anyone and cheaper than the CRT DIY ones. We carried on to Anderton Lift where we winded and made our way back to the marina.

Interesting as you pass through the TATA Chemical works in that the old pipe bridges are made of wood as it wouldn’t rot away with the leaking brine unlike some of the steel work has already.DSCF6085 I did manage to get a photograph of a Kingfisher, not a very good one, I also got a photograph of where the Kingfisher wasn’t, but I scrapped that one.DSCF6080 I also noticed what I think is unusual paddle gear on a sluice in the back of the towpath. At first I thought someone had built a bench with a vice on it until I was much closer.DSCF6090

Today’s Journey  map 60

7 miles, no locks in 3¾ hours.

Friday 23 September 2016

Marston Friday 23 September 2016

A short cruise today and a good drive.
We departed our mooring by the flash just before 9 am and headed back to the marina in readiness for Enterprise Car Hire to pick us up at 10 am. and I am pleased to say they were spot on time. Back to the Northwich base to do the paperwork and we were off back to Kings Bromley Marina to pick up our car. I am pleased to say it started straight a way after sitting there for 9 weeks slowly draining the battery. We handed in our fob that opens the marina gate to get our deposit back, thanked the staff and said goodbye.

Diana drove our car as I had to drive the hire car back to Northwich where we returned it to get out deposit back and then we headed back to the boat. The best thing about Enterprise in my opinion is that they will peck you up and drop you off at no charge. It would probably have cost me £10 for a taxi had I used any other car hire firm. The total cost including the £10 damage waver was £33.68 plus 10 lts of petrol.

We decided not to stay in the marina overnight so at 4-30 pm we were on our way out, I just stuck my nose out to turn left when I saw a wide beam boat approaching so held back in the entrance, when he finally arrived as he was travelling very slowly he didn’t pass but with no indication started to turn in the mouth of the marina where I was sitting, it was a good job we were going left or he would have completely blocked us, all without a word. I slipped out when he was half way round and looking back he was following us very slowly crabbing along the canal with a motor and butty following him.DSCF6076

By now the weather had warmed up again and it was quite pleasant cruising along. We decided to stop outside the Lion Salt Museum at Marston and go to The Salt Barge for dinner.


Today’s Journey  map 59 3½ miles in 1½ hours by boat and 120 Miles in about 3½ hours by car.

Thursday 22 September 2016

T&M Flash Thursday 22 September 2016

Plan B.

We set off in good time at 9 30 but I could see two boats ahead of us, we would stay like this all the way to Middlewich. This of course meant we would have to turn both locks. There use to be an old stable block on the side of the canal that was falling into disrepair, it has now been tastefully (in my opinion) converted into a dwelling. It would never have been needed or used as a stable again.DSCF6057

I don’t know how much of the front of the adjoining cottage is as it would have been but it looked quite inviting in the sun shine. Are the shutters twee or would they have been on there 100 years ago?DSCF6059 The farmers are well on and the winter wheat is doing well in this warm autumn weather, its sometimes hard to realise we are three quarters of the way through September.DSCF6060 For those of you that are thinking of buying a plastic owl to keep the pigeons off your boat, don’t bother, they don’t work. This tree stump has been carved so one bough has been carved into an owl and the taller one a large bird of prey, sitting on the top of it all is a Wood Pigeon without a care in the world.DSCF6063

This is the first time I have been this way since Maureen’s interpretation board was erected at Wardle Lock. I liked Maureen and she did us, complete strangers some kindnesses over the years. I hope that some day they will rename the lock to what many of us knew it as “Maureen’s lock” they have done it at other locks.DSCF6066

Down at the junction we turned left, north along the Trent and Mersey canal, just as I was locking down a boat went passed the junction, so that is another one we are behind, Not only where we behind it at the three Middlewich lock but when we got to Big Lock the only one to take two boats around here, there was a boat ahead of him, so we had to wait yet again, still the sun was shining. In Middlewich I spotted The pride of Middlewich, I am not sure if its a seat or a kiddies play thing? but I think it is actually a very low seat.DSCF6067 There was no one moored at Bramble Cuttings, we have always wanted to stop there but its always been full, today there is no one there but we are on a mission, plan B, remember.DSCF6070

It looks as if CRT have erected some new signs on the flashes, maybe boats have been getting stuck on the submerged bank a few inches below the water surface.DSCF6069

We pushed on northwards, seeing more and more what I believe is Floating Pennywort a highly invasive floating plant, The further north on the T&M we got the more there was.DSCF6072

Finally we were at Wincham Wharf where we paid for 12 months mooring for Harnser starting tomorrow, plan B, we also contacted Enterprise Car Hire to deliver a car to us in the morning so that we can go to King’s Bromley marina and collect our car, I hope it starts after sitting there for 8 weeks. Money spent we went a little further north and winded, here the winding hole had a very good growth of Pennywort in it.

We passed our new marina and sitting on the parapet of the bridge was this Harnser, I hope its a good omen for the future.DSCF6075 We went just a little further south and winded in the first flash we came to and moored opposite that for the night, tomorrow it ¼ hour back north again to the marina to find out berth, hopefully the hire car will arrive at 10 am and by tea time we will have our car back here as well as the boat.

Just looking at the internet maybe I sould have said we are moored oposite Oakwood Marina tonight,

Today’s Journey  map 58

15½ miles, 6 locks, 1 junction, 3 canal in 7¼ hours

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Church Minshull Wednesday 21 September 2016

The day didn’t go to plan. We were away in good time abut quarter past nine, boats had been going by since 7 am. The two Audlem bottom locks were against us. The gardening is still ongoing by the bottom lock on the offside. As Diana walked to the lock she disturbed this chap but he only crossed the canal.DSCF6033 Just past Overwater Marina for some reason the Canada Geese where coming in wholesale. I don’t know what it is but they love this stretch of canal. There was flight after flight of them.DSCF6037

All along the Shroppie the Shropshire Union Canal Society have installed 48 hr moorings, often in the middle of nowhere giving nice quiet rural stopping points, at some places like here they have even installed benches and stands for portable BBQ’s. DSCF6039 

We passed a pair of boats that we use to see regularly when we first moored at Napton as they were based in Braunston, last time we saw them they were selling diesel up the Llangollen Canal but I understand that they lo longer trade.DSCF6040

Right by here is the hack Green Secret Bunker which is not secret any more.

We stopped to pick a few more Soles for the gin, or course these are on the off side so I position the boat while Diana stands on the front deck to pick them. Luckily it was a quiet spell with no boats coming, we had just met 6 at the last 2 locks.DSCF6043 The fencing posts along the off side are not as you would expect wood, but stone so there is no chance they will rot off, mind you I wouldn’t want to hammer a staple into them.DSCF6046

The moorings in Nantwich were quite busy, I don’t know when the grass was cut but for some reason this boater didn’t want the grass cutting near their boat, its only a 2 day mooring.DSCF6047

The notice on the seats, one at each end asks them not to cut the grass.DSCF6047

Again we met a boater who reads the blog, unfortunately I didn’t get the boat name but I think it was an ex Ownerships. As we went through Hurleston Junction a boat was just dropping downDSCF6050 the locks from the Llangollen Canal. We stopped just passed the junction for lunch, but were soon on our way when we had finished due to the base plate scraping the bottom.

From here it was not far to Barbridge Junction where we turned right. For almost half a mile there are long term moorings on both banks so it is quite slow going, we met a boat at the end of the moorings who told us with a smile that there were 8 boats queuing to go down the lock ahead of us. When we arrived there was only one. We stopped just below the lock at Venetian Marina. This was “the plan”. We were hoping to moor Harnser here for the next 12 months, when we called in the spring the chap said loads of spaces, cant see us being full, contact us when you are ready to come. Wrong! They are full, so now its plan B. We carried on down the Branch and were third in line at the next lock finally mooring at Church Minshull and going to The Badger Inn for dinner. We are getting short of food as we thought we would have the car tomorrow. So now we will continue to Middlewich and join the good old Trent and Mersey canal again, turn left towards Anderton and see if we can get a berth in one of those marinas. Watch this space.

Today’s Journey map 57 14¼ miles, 6 locks, 2 Junctions, 2 canals in 6½ hours

Tuesday 20 September 2016

Audlem Tuesday 20 September 2016

We set off at 10 stopping in town to top up with water, while we were there I noticed there was still some credit on the pump-out machine, so not to look a gift horse in the mouth we managed to reduce the tank level a before it timed out. There is another old wharf and building here with a canopy over the canal here.DSCF6024 I can’t remember what it use to be but the building behind it is also quite interesting and for sale.DSCF6025

Some of the long term moorings in the basin at Market Drayton have had bit of a make over with a capping of light weight GRP grating over the old pontoons while some of the others have been barriered off.DSCF6026

We met several boats and when we arrived at the top of the Adderley Flight a boat had just come out leaving the gate open for us. There is a small stall by one of the locks that sells pies, sausages, home cured bacon, so we bought a pack of bacon for lunch. We had a bit of a problem at lock 3 which was empty due to the bottom gates leaking like a sieve, it looked like a paddle was part up, but both were hard down.

We stopped for lunch at the bottom of the flight before tackling the Audlem flight of 15 locks. The bacon I am pleased to say was not full of water like so much you buy these days.
While we were there a boat came down the locks and passed us, so we set off with slightly heavy hearts thinking all the flight would be against us. however the boat that passed us had moored up just a couple of bridges ahead.

Audlem top lock was full, I had expected it to have leaked off a bit as we hadn’t met a boat for about an hour. The cottage by the top lock has a small market stall and one of the things they DSCF6028sell is locally made ice cream, so there are now two tubs in the ice box of the fridge ready for dinner tonight.
All the locks were with us although some had leaked a bit, we met a couple of boats in the first half so were able to leave some bottom gates open but as we got further down things got busier with boats coming up at every lock, a couple slowed us down a bit but on the whole they were in the right place.
A gent on a boat called “Farne” told Diana they read our blog and was expecting to see us. I do hope you are not on a schedule as I expect you had a slow run up the flight and did rather a lot of work.

Some of the by-washers down this flight can be quite fierce but with boats going up filling locks things weren't to bad.DSCF6029As you approach Audlem CRT have erected this fence and gate to stop people walking down what looks like a path but is obviously private, probably a culvert or something, I just thought that the door in the picket fence was a bit over the top and that a picket gate would have looked a lot better.DSCF6030

We carried on passed the Shroppie Fly and dropped down one lock to moor for the night just below the water point.

Today’s Journey  map 56

6½miles, 18 locks in 5 hours

Monday 19 September 2016

Market Drayton Monday 19 September 2016

Anther quiet mooring and as a bonus Diana found a Damson tree, so we now have Damson Gin on the go, as well as Damsons for dinner.
After the lovely sun yesterday we had a bit of rain overnight but dry all day today but cooler than of late, a fleece was required.

This morning we set off about 9-30 but our first port of call was not far away, Norbury Wharf to fill with diesel, we took on 100 ltDSCF5993 at 59p so are now full again. It took us a bit of time as their day boat was moored by one of the diesel pumps and they were just instructing the hires, they did offer to run the diesel hose over their trip boat, but I said I was happy to wait. From what I could see the hires got some good instruction, probably about half an hour in all.
Once full I had to turn to carry on to the north, I found this slightly stressful as I was being watched by Mr Hollingsworth who has probably forgotten more about boating than I will ever know. While I was doing this Diana collected a few more Damsons to top the bottle up.

Anyone travelling this canal has to include a photograph of the telegraph post in the bridge hole at High Bridge. DSCF5997 It must be the most photographed telegraph post in the country. I wonder when it last carried any wires?

Not far from here on the off side, deep in the woods there is this old car under a shelter, I have no idea if it is roadworthy or not.DSCF5999

Moored by the Anchor Pub, apart from the wreck that was moored there last time we passed, over a year ago on the 48 hour moorings is the Mikron Theatre boat, Tyseley. We haven’t managed to see them for a couple of years now.DSCF6002

A little further up the canal  is a place called Knighton, Cadburys use to have a wharf here as they did in many other places to process the local milk and chocolate chip and then tranship it to Bourneville to make chocolate. DSCF6006 modified  

Just before bridge 51 we spotted a big bush of Sloes on the offside, the first we have seen, so if Nb Chance are reading this blog, that is what I was trying to do when you came passed. at bridge 51 the farm was kindly giving away their excess apples so we got a couple of them as well.DSCF6012

The towpath through Woodseavese cutting  is closed again, this time due to a tree falling down the embankment, across the tow path and into the canal, its quite big and we bounced on it when we passed.DSCF6016

At Tyrely Locks there was a Volocky on duty, as we approached a boat was just coming up in the lock which was handy. A bike came along the towpath and the Volocky asked the rider if there were any more boats coming up and the reply was loads, it turned out the cyclist didn’t know one end of a boat from the other and only one was coming up, the rest going down. The next boat coming up spotted we were coming down the top lock and didn’t turn the second, so this made the next two ready for us. The Volocky set the fourth and Diana the last one so not a bad run. It was good to get a gentle reminder of what the by-washers are like on the Shroppie canals.

At the bottom of the flight this cheery chap and his friend where waiting to greet us, I had forgotten about them as well.DSCF6019 We carried on to the 48 hour visitor moorings just before Market Drayton where we have moored for the night. As I type this Diana is pricking the sloes and adding them to the Gin. We try to keep it for 2 years before drinking it if we can.

Today’s Journey  map 55 10¾ miles, 5 locks in 4¾ hours

Sunday 18 September 2016

Norbury Junction Sunday 18 September 2016

Last nights moorings were great, not a noise all night, that’s the sort of moorings I like. Yesterday when we moored up there was a racing pigeon sitting on the roof of the boat in front, this morning he was still there.DSCF5964As you can see from Avenue Bridge the weather was again, just grand. This bridge on the top has a very wide splay with the balustrade making two outward crescents.DSCN1491 

On the long term moorings at Countrywide Cruisers is this pretty little Narrowboat, I would say its about 4 foot beam and the steerer’s shelter is standard size to give an idea of scale.DSCF5969

Stretton Aqueduct was next on the list, loads of cars going right to left but nothing left to right, a big wave brought lots of hoots.DSCN1496 Just passed the aqueduct on the left is a boatyard, I can’t remember who owns it but it has lots of old boats in various states of repair in the yard and their own crane with trestles toDSCF5970 stand boats on, so you can get under the base plate. Last time we were this way they were shot blasting, not many yards do that.

We stopped in Wheaton Aston to fill with water, I would have filled with diesel at 51.9 p/lt but Turners were close, as it had just turned 12-30 we decided to fill our tums as well, with 2 carverys  at £7-95 each at the Hartley Arms, just over the bridge.

The canal north of Wheaton Aston is in quite long straight sections as can be seen looking back from bridge 21.DSCF5977

Through a couple of bridges and we were into a fishing match, I tried to count them but its like counting sheep, one about every 70 feet, I made it 64 of them in all in three length from Bridge 23DSCF5979 to bridge 26. I must say they were a cheerful bunch on the whole, just a couple who had fish fall off their hooks as they lifted to let me pass.

Cowley Tunnel is only 80 yards long but hewn out of solid rock. The south face is quite shear and covered with creepers, 

DSCF5981 DSCF5988 DSCF5991

the north face has much less growth on it.

We passed through Gnosall, I am not sure but I think the G is silent as in gnome. Its very well served with both visitor moorings and pubs and looks a good stop over if you want to go out to eat, but not for us tonight, we carried on and near the end of the moorings a cruised pulled out behind us, I knew he would make much better speed down the cut than us so I pulled over and waved him past. We plodded on to join the end of the boats moored at Norbury Junction at about 4pm. In the morning I will pootel over and fill with diesel.

Today’s Journey  map 54 12½ miles, 1 lock in 5 hours