Sunday 19 February 2017

Home Moorings Sat 18 February 2017

Last night we had a pleasant evening at the Trent and Mersey Canal Society meeting in the Big Lock pub where a friend of ours John gave an illustrated talk on the Lowland waterways of the Netherlands.

It wasn't until we were on the boat abed that it started raining, we have had such a lucky week weather wise.

This morning we got away in reasonable time for us as it was only just under 2 hours to our moorings and then the drive home.

I have this question before but never had a convincing reply so I will try again. What do you think these were originally made for, I cant believe the were mooring bollards with the square section on the top.


Some one has left a very nice note on the picnic table at Bramble Cuttings thanking the people who have worked so hard to maintain it and make it such a pleasant mooring.DSCF7085

We met quite a few boats on that short journey including three hire boats from the Bridgewater Canal.

We were back at the moorings at 11-30 and by mid day where pretty much ready to come home, it was then that I noticed an oil and filter change was due, so while Diana knocked up a sandwich for lunch I changed the oil and filter on the engine as well as topping up the batteries, I do them every time I change the engine oil I top the batteries up and they normally take about a lt between the 4 of them. By 1 pm we were on our way home.

Today’s Jurneymap 16

4.6 miles, 1 Lock in 1hr 45 min

This trip we have done 140 Miles, 26 locks in 52 hours.

Friday 17 February 2017

Middlewich, Big Lock, Friday 17 Feb 2017

We woke to a sunny morning and set off at 10am, heading south, we had to go about 3 miles before we could turn round to come back to Middlewich. On of the things I like about boating this time of the year, apart from a lot less boats about is that you can see through the woods, these flashes by the river Weaver are almost invisible in the summer months


The farmers along here take a bit of pride in the way they cut their hedges, unlike in some parts where they just try to flail them out of existence.clip_image004

Although the weather was even warmer today were getting several showers of very light drizzle up until lunchtime. It felt very spring like and the daffodils are about to burst into bloom.clip_image006 We also didn't see any boats on the move until we retuned to Wardle lock and then they were everywhere. We had just set the lock to go down when one came through the bridge behind us.

Yesterday I mentioned how short the Wardle Canal is, well here is a photograph of the full length of it and the first boat we were to meet is just coming in at the junction.clip_image008

On the face of the bridge, facingthe junction there is a plaque that claims this to be the shortest canal in the UK.clip_image010Once we were clear of the junction we were going down to Big Lock and at the first bridge we met a boat coming up so had to run back out of his way, There are boats moored both sides beside Middlewich Narrowboats and I met another boat here, I held back for her but she stopped at Middlewich Boatyard to take on diesel. Once passed her there was yet another coming out of Middlewich Top Lock so I pulled over to give him passage before we could set off down the three locks. Below the locks is Anderton Boats, they have boats double moored on the off side and one they are working on tow path side, needless to say we met yet another boat here.

Today's Journey map 157.9 miles, 5 locks, 3 canals in 4 hours.

Thursday 16 February 2017

Middlewich Thursday 16 February 2017

Last night we walked down to the canal side Italian restaurant, Barchetta for a meal, I quite like it in there so we normally go if we are passing and the pricing is reasonable.

There was very slight drizzle when we got up this morning but it stopped before we set off at 10 am. The day felt much milder than of late with a bit of sun and blue skys. The boat was still moored on the waterpoint, they were onboard when we left the restaurant last night as I could see lights behind the curtains and smoke coming from the chimney so they hadn't been rushed away somewhere.

There is a new hire base beside the canal, Black Pearl Luxury Narrowboat Holidays they only look to have one boat but they had this in the shed.clip_image002

You have to watch out for bridge 165, its Ok travelling this way but from the other direction it goes from a flat wide deck to an arch which is several inches lowerclip_image004

I mentioned the new Thai Restaurant in the old Kinderton Arms pub on our way up, I checked their name out today and it is Kin Arai Thai clip_image006

Between Rumps Lock and Kings Lock there were 44 swans in the canal, I think this is the only canal where I have had swans fly off as we approached, they normally just swim round the boat. I have no idea why there should be so many here in this one spot, I guess it must be because they get fed.clip_image008Just below Kings Lock John Jackson was unloading a boat full of bags of coal at King's Lock Chandlery, its good to see they get supplies by water.

In Middlewich we made the right angle turn into the Wardle Canal, this is reputed to be the Countries shortest canal at 154 feet long running from the Trent and Mersey Canal to the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. At the end of this short canal is Wardle Lock often referred to as Maureen's Lock as she lived in the lock cottage until she died and would often be seen helping boaters through "her" lock.

A short way above the lock we passed the ex Thomas Clayton tar boat Spey, Spey is an all wooden boat with tanks built into her hold, she was built in 1937 and is powered by a Bolinder engine.clip_image010

We carried on up through Stanthorne Lock to moor for the night on the 48 hour visitor moorings, we had just tied up and guess what, it started to rain, so yet another days boating without getting wet.

Today's Journey clip_image0127 miles 7 locks 2 canals in 3hr 15mi

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Wheelock Wednesday 15 February 2017

A little bit of admin work this morning with the bank online. We have our accounts set up to give Text alerts .if the bank balance goes outside a set parameter, This allows us to transfer funds before getting hit with overdraft fees. These texts come in at around 8 am from the Lloyds Group so you have all day to sort it.

We set off at about 11 am. in very light drizzle which didn't last long, as the morning went on things warmed up a bit as well. The first lock was not far ahead, you can see the stairs and grab rail to the off side of the lock for the boatman to have stepped off and gone to close the gate once his boat had gone in.clip_image002

A little further on we passed an old wooden ice breaker, Shackleton they didn't cut through the ice but the bow was shaped so that they rose up onto the ice and then the weight of the boat broke down through it.clip_image004

Over the years this area like lots of Cheshire has been effected by subsidence and this has meant that British Waterways Board as they where then, have had to keep building the banks up as the land level has dropped. clip_image006 This can be seen by the layers of concrete added one on top of the other. In some places the level is still dropping and will need attention from CRT some time in the future, there is a section below Middlewich much worse than this.clip_image008

I have not seen cycle traps like this anywhere else on the system, this one isn't doing much good because the gate beside it is wide open, but there is no way you would just cycle straight through one.clip_image010

Something I have never seen before and there is me a country lad through and through, it was a flock of Waxwings sitting in a bush. Not the best of photos as it was up against the light. This is only part of the flock.clip_image012

We stopped in Wheelock to fill with water, luckily there are two water points as this boat had carefully moored right in front of one of them, he has even put white on his mooring ropes so people see them and don't trip over them. clip_image014The best of it is that there were only two other boats on the whole length of the visitor moorings, all with rings to tie to. I am sure someone will come back and say I don't know the whole story and there was a good reason for leaving the boat there.

Once full we headed off up through lock 66 to wind as there is a winding hole between locks 65 and 66.clip_image016 These locks are all paired to speed up boat movements, lucky for us one was full but the left hand one empty which made it easier for us going up. After winding I came straight down again and moored on the visitor moorings. I moored back here at the end as I wanted to run the engine a bit longer to charge the batteries so didnt want to be next to other boats, I will move down shortly so we are further from the road bridge.clip_image018

Today's Journey clip_image0203.55 miles, 2 locks one of them twice in 2hr 10min.

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Stud Green Bridge Tuesday 14 February 2016

Well in case you are wondering why yesterday was such a short day we went to Cirencester for my Grandsons 10 birthday party and this is what they got up to. They are supposed to be playing Bubble football, but basically they are having a good time.DSCF6987

This morning started well but clouded over about mid day. We left the marina about 10am. turned right towards Middlewich. As well as meeting a few Narrowboats we met a chap in his canoe. We were hoping that having met so many boats the Middlewich locks would be with us, but no. We passed quite a few dead branches in the canal which if you didn't spot them could prove troublesome. In Middlewich we stayed on the Trent and Mersey going straight ahead at the junction and up Kings Lock. The next lock up, Rump's Lock has quite a bulge in the offside wall.DSCF7027 Across the road from Rump's Loch there use to be a pub called The Kinderton Arms, they have been restoring it for several years and we always wondered if one day it would open as a pub again, it seems not, as the notice board outside said it is now a Thai restaurant.DSCF7028 All the way from Middlewich the canal runs right alongside the road making it a bit noisy for mooring so we continued on to just below Booth Lane Top Lock. mooring by Stud Green Bridge just after where the canal and road part company.

Today’s Journeymap 128 Miles 8 locks in 4 hours

Monday 13 February 2017

The Marina Monday 13 February 2017

What a change in the weather, we got up to bright sunshine for a change. This bit of the canal seems to be on the flight path to one of the holiday airport, I suspect it Manchester but we didn't hear any flights after 11 at night.

We set off at 11 this morning, short way south to the widest part of the flash before winding, today the wind was not really our friend as it was coming across the flash at us where as I had hoped it had been more of an angle to push the bows round. The water appears to be deeper away from the tow path, I am always a bit careful as I don't know how deep the flash is out in the middle, but its defiantly getting very shallow near the tow path.

Once round the Buzzards were playing over our head as we made our way north to the marina a trip of just under a mile.DSCF6979Just look at the coulor of that sky.

I forgot to post it yesterday but I saw this sweet wood job on someone's boat.DSCF6974

Today's Journey map 110.9 mile in 25 minutes.

Don’t worry its not the end, we are off again tomorrow.

Sunday 12 February 2017

Davenham Flash Sunday 12 February 2017

I woke early this morning, I was convinced someone knocked on the boat, had a look out of the side hatches but couldn't see anyone.

Very little to report today other than it feels a lot colder than it is. We set off around 10-30 am and stopped at the Anderton services to both top up with water and get rid of a weeks worth of rubbish, we didn't see any rubbish disposal facilities at all on the Bridgewater canal. I suppose the boaters on there take their rubbish back to their moorings with them if they move.
There were quite a few boats about today and we recognised several that moor in the same marina as us. Our plan for today was to cruise long enough to charge the batteries and two and a half hours is almost long enough, 4 hours would be better but that would have put us where we don't want to be, so we moored up at lunch time on the side of one of the Flashes a little after 1pm. and called it a day. Since we have been here it has been drizzling on and off and not nice at all outside.

Today's Journey map 105.7 miles in two and a half hours.

Saturday 11 February 2017

Anderton Saturday 11 February 2015

Well what a surprisingly quiet spot we were in last night, didn't hear a single car or train, not even joggers going by.

We have seen a lot more cyclists about and it would seem that the Bridgewater company have dropped their ban on cycling on their tow paths and changed their signage to indicate they are now for mixed use.DSCF6950It was drizzling with rain when we set of at half ten this morning, the reason for the late start was Preston Brook Tunnel which is timed entry and in our direction that is between half past and twenty to the hour, so starting at that time got us there with 10 minutes to spare.

I think they have made a good job converting this old building at Brindley Wharf into housing, but I wouldn't want to live behind bars.DSCF6945

We were to meet 2 boats today, both as we approached the timed tunnels. The Preston Brook tunnel has a couple of plaques on the entrance one unveiled by Harry Arnold and commemorating the start of the Trent and Mersey CanalDSCF6948 and the other the reopening of the tunnel by Sir Frank Price. DSCF6949

Facing in the opposite direction so that it is visible as you exit the tunnel is a new notice erected by the Bridgwater Canal reminding boater that if they sat more than 7 days they require a Bridgewater licence. DSCF6946

We set off at our allotted time and it took just on 13 minutes for us to reach the other end travelling a a steady speed. Just after the tunnel is Dutton Stop Lock, it only has a fall of about 4" but that is enough to stop CRT water being lost the the Bridgewater canal. When we attended the IWA National Rally at Preston Brook the British Waterways operatives managed to open the gates at each end of the lock so that boaters didn't need to lock through individually. While I was waiting to lock up a Kingfisher kindly sat in a bush while I took his photo, it was just rather a long way away.DSCF6961

The next tunnel we came to is also time controlled but is shorter so you can enter between half past and ten minutes to the hour. It was here that we met the steam boat Emily Anne, again we had about ten minutes to wait.DSCF6967 Although shorter than Preston Brook tunnel because of the wiggles you cant see through to the south end hence the time entry. The last tunnel Barton, you can see end to end so if its clear you can go through.

The weather had been drizzly on and off all day and we planned to call it a day at the lift, on the way we could see that they have demolished even more of the old Soda works beside the river Weaver.DSCF6972

I hadn't noticed this polythene up in the tree before so I have no idea how long its been there or how long it will stay there.DSCF6966

As I passed under the bridge by the lift it looked as if the visitor moorings ahead were pretty full so we reversed back and moored to the west of the lift.

Today's Journey map 098.70 miles, 1 Lock, 2 waterways in 3hours 40 minutes

Friday 10 February 2017

Norton Friday 10 February 2017

The day started quite bright and felt quite pleasant in the sun, however it felt much different when a cloud went over. We carried on south to Preston Brook Waters Meeting where we turned very sharp right towards Runcorn, As we approached the new express way bridge this chap came peddling towards us on his 3 wheeler recumbent. DSCF6931

Last time we were this way the new expressway bridge had no deck on it, now that's all in place and from below it just looks like any other bridge. DSCF6934

The expressway carries on at high level to cross the Manchester Ship Canal and the Mersey , the towers are now in place and the decks are creeping out. DSCF6937

The bridges are going to be toll bridges so I wonder if it will see more use than the M6 toll road.

We moored at the end of the arm in Runcorn to do a bit of shopping, surprisingly looking around the area which looks a bit rundown it actually has some good shopping including Iceland and the Co-op as well as several independent retailers. The Co-op has been in Runcorn for a very long time.DSCF6940DSCF6941

We stayed until we had had a bit of lunch and then set off in light snow again, but like yesterday.


We stopped at Green Bridge and wandered up to Norton Abbey which is about a quarter of a mile away. The gardens are closed this time of the year but they marked or receipt so that we can visit later. The museum and story of the Abbey is very interesting IMG_0265with lots of the ruins uncovered as well as the Undercroft and its Victorian entrance hall. One of their prized exhibits is a twice life size statue of St Christopher which is the centre of a sound and visual display which while telling the story also paints the statue. IMG_0272

A little after 4pm and we wandered back to the boat to travel a short way back towards the junction. Since we first visited this canal there has been a massive increase in housing, including a large bungalow estate on the West of the canal, one of the buildings that backs onto the canal has had a large mural painted on the wall.DSCF6942

Today's Journeymap 089.4 miles in 3 hours