Friday 31 March 2017

Audlem Friday 31 March 2017

Last night we wandered into town looking for somewhere to eat and finally settled on Simply Thai which you may have guessed is a Thai Restaurant. We had the cheapest meal for 2 and just managed to finish it, so good sized portions.

Today we didn't set off until after lunch when we cruised as far as Audlem.

We were lucking in meeting a boat at both of the Hack Green Locks. I don't think the hand made sign is really required here as its fairly obvious its an obstruction.


Brian was hard at work as a Shropshire Union Canal Society Volunteer treating the picnic benches to a fresh coat of wood preservative. The SUCS maintain lots of moorings along this and the Llangollen canal. clip_image004You can find a full list of their moorings HERE

The community garden is still flourishing at Audlem Bottom Lock, it seams that CRT have relented and are letting it continue, its on the piece of land on the off side of the lock. clip_image006

We went up through the second lock before mooring for the night just behind the floating sweet shop, luckily they were not open so we were not tempted.


The Shroppie Fly pub kitchens are closed again for refurbishment yet again and reading Trip adviser it seams its under new management yet again.

Today's Journey clip_image010

5.6 miles, 4 locks in 2 1/2 Hours

Thursday 30 March 2017

Nantwich Thursday 30 March 2017

Well I am still writing these Blogs straight to Blogger as Open Live Writer still wont upload posts with pictures in them.
A bit of rain this morning before we left, we didn't expect to meet any boats with the stoppage on but we met 6 before Aqueduct marina.
At the first winding hole you come to after leaving Middlewich there is this manorial on the towpath, but no indication who its for. Anyone have any ideas?
A boat pulled away ahead of us just before bridge 13, we were hoping he would pull into Aqueduct Marina but no such luck, however our progress didn't go unnoticed. 
As normal Diana hopped off the boat at Nannies Bridge to walk to Minshull Lock but on the way she had to avoid this stuff sticking out into the towpath. It looks as if CRT have put tape on the end but they should really be getting the land owner to remove it.
Bit of a delay at Minshull Lock, after waiting for the boat ahead to lock up, turn the lock and then go in, I managed to pick up a fender and line round the prop as I went in, so had to sit in the lock and unravel it. Please don't go through locks with your fenders down.
By the time we reached Cholmonderston Lock the boat ahead had gone and another was on its way down. A couple of guys were working on the telemetry sender down behind the bottom gate so a Lock Keeper was working that side which was just as well as there were still 4 boats queuing above waiting to come down. The good news for them was that work at Stanthorne lock was finished and the lock open again.
Above the lock the volunteered have made good progress with the hedge laying.
We were going to stop at Barbridge Inn for the night but there were no mooring spaces outside and it was still quite early so we decided to push on to Nantwich Aqueduct. We had just passed Hurleston  Junction and it started to rain which carried on until we reached Nantwich. Just prior to Nantwich there is a boat moored, it was here last time we passed and I don't think I have ever seen a boat with more rubbished piled on the deck.
 We pulled in at Nantwich to fill with water, there was a boat already there but as they were only stopping to use the showers they pulled to the far end of the mooring so that we could reach the tap. Not the fastest tap on the system but better than some. Once full it was off to the aqueduct but it was a bit more congested than last time we stopped here so we had to go a little further south on the embankment before we could find a space.

Today's Journey
12.4 miles, 2 locks, 1 junction and 2 canals in 5.25 hours.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Stanthorne Lock Wednesday 29 March 2017

We had a good run from home to the boat, just over 4 hours arriving at five past one, by twenty to two we were loaded and on our way, out of the marina and hard right. We met a couple of boats between the marina and Middlewich, the first at a bridge and the second at the aqueduct.
The swans are setting up home in the pond beside the tow path just before Middlewich again.
Big Lock in Middlewich was almost empty but while it drained I watched this chap pressure washing a roof, not sure why anyone would worry if their roof is a bit grubby but it keeps people in work. Also while waiting I did a quick check of the weed hatch.

 As we left Big Lock a hire boat approached so not only could we leave the gate open we had high hopes for the 3 Middlewich Locks, The first 2 were sort of with us, the first almost empty and the second half empty but the top one was full. We carried on past the junction to Wardle Lock to fill with diesel at Kings Lock Chandlery  at 71p lt. It was then a case of dropping back and swinging under the bridge into the Wardle Canal.
Last time I came this way I contacted CRT about the overflowing dog poo bins, they said it was the council's responsibility and they would contact them, today there is an extra bag hung on the outside of the bin to take the overflow.
 We pushed on as we needed to get above Stanthorne lock tonight as they are closing it at 8am tomorrow for the day to try to sort out the by-wash. You can see below the water coming over the tail wall of the lock.

Somehow we got our timing right again as we had just moored up at the visitor moorings just through bridge 26 at about 5 30 pm when it started raining.
Today's Journey
 6.7 miles, 5 locks, 1 Junction, 3 Canals in 3.75 hours.

Thursday 23 March 2017

Home mooring Thursday 23 March 2017

Last night was the last night for our friends onboard so we had diner at The Old Broken Cross, a very popular pub who serve typical pub grub. The mooring was a bit noisy overnight with the nearby road and bridge but we still got a good nights sleep.
This morning we woke and the sun was shining, typical on the last day, we set off at 9-15 and only had a mile to go to our marina which took just on half an hour.

It was nice to be hailed by nb Lazy Bee who follows this blog.

Needless to say as I went into the marina and tried to turn to reverse down the pontoon the wind picked up and I just went sideways, so a change of plan and motor down to the loading bay and unloaded the boat to both cars and waved our friends goodbye.
The reverse back up the marina and then down our pontoon went like a dream even with someone watching.
Today's Journey  
1 mile in 30 minutes.

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Broken Cross Wednesday 22 March 2017

Last night we walked up to the Stanley Arms to eat. Not the slickest of operations but good food and good sized portions, the beer was well presented as well, better than some we have had this week. Just as we were leaving it started to rain and continued until lunch time today.
We set off at 9-30 stopping at Anderton Service point to fill up with water and dump the rubbish and then on to The Lion Salt Museum, still in the rain. We had a 10% discount to enter the museum as we went to Weaver Hall, the Salt museum in Northwich and the are under the same management, West Cheshire Museums.  As soon as we went into the museum it stopped raining, but boy was it cold in there, if you go wrap up warm.
As we were returning to the boat for lunch we noticed that The Salt Barge  pub was doing main course lunch for £5 so we went in there to be greeted but a roaring open fire. The food was good as well with 4 choices, Curry, Fish & Chips with mushy peas, Gammon, egg and chips or a vegetarian meal.
Back on the boat we headed on for a bit to moor outside The Old Broken Cross for the night, tonight's venue for dinner and it has started to rain again.
Today's Journey
4 Miles in 2 hrs 10 min

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Anderton Tuesday 21March 2017

Well after all the rain, it was still raining when we went to bed , this morning was blue sky and sunshine but a tad cool. The Swans opposite were hard at work nest building, the husband collecting the material and the wife putting it in place.
We timed our departure to arrive at Preston Brook Tunnel at half past ten, didn't quite get it right and we were there about four minutes early so thought it best to wait. Diana and Chris decided to walk all three tunnels today so I dropped them off and headed through waiting for them again the other side. Dutton lock was with us but we still needed to open both bottom gates to get in, on leaving a hire boat was coming towards us so we were able to leave the single top gate open for them. 
We stopped for lunch a short way before Saltersford Tunnel again timing our departure to arrive at the tunnel mouth at one thirty. The fields between the canal and the Weaver are holding a lot of water at the moment.
Saltersford Tunnel is quite twisty and often you cant see light at the far end.
It wasn't long before Diana and Chris caught up with us at the other end, I hadn't even pulled into the side before they came walking down.
We had been told there was a good Co-op in Barnton so we moored just by road bridge 202 so the ladies could get a few bits and pieces, it would have only been half the walk if we had gone on to the footbridge. From here it was only a short hop to our overnight mooring outside the Anderton Lift visitor centre.
Today's Journey  
8.7 miles, 1 lock, 1 junction,3 tunnels in 3 hours 40 minutes.

Monday 20 March 2017

Runcorn Arm Monday 20 March 2017

To say it was raining this morning would be an understatement, We were away at 9-30 so we arrived at the tunnel mouth dead on 10. It was good to see that the dry dock is back working but I have no idea who operates it.

At Preston Brook we turned down the Runcorn Arm passing this pile of stones which we think is in the Priory grounds.
Again I had the opportunity to photograph a Kingfisher, he was sitting still but I wasn't.
We winded at the end of the arm and moored up, after lunch we went for a walk down the old Runcorn Locks to the Manchester Ship Canal. We then went down to get a photograph of the Silver Jubilee bridge. Police divers were at work looking for someone who fell from the bridge Saturday morning.

From here you can see the new toll bridge that is still under construction, lets hope it gets more use than the M6 Toll road.
Once back onboard we retraced our steps, but this time in bright sun shine, passed a section of bank covered in primroses.
We moored a short way before the railway crossing still in sunshine, but by 6pm it was raining and as I write this its chucking it down again.

Today's Journey  
 11 miles, 1 Lock, 1 Junction in 4 hours

Sunday 19 March 2017

Dutton Sunday 19 March 2017

Well it wasn't actually raining wen we got up this morning. We decided in view of the weather and the problem with accessing the locks we would leave the river and return to the canals. We pushed of at quarter to ten and went down stream as far as Saltersford lock where we winded to return to the lift, on our way upstream I was fortunate enough to have another Kingfisher pose for me
The old Soda works has virtually gone now, there are still a few 
reminders like the bases of the main pillars and the small heaps of rubble and ash.

I walked up to the office at the lift and the earliest booking they could offer was at 12.50pm. We were the only private boat to go up but they were only running one caisson, so it gave us time for a bit of lunch before moving to the holding area. By the time we were do at the lift it was raining again, I did manage one photo of our guests on the lift.
Once at the top we spent a bit of time in the visitor centre, I think CRT and BW before them made a good job of laying this out. Once we had enough of that it was on along the T&M, we arrived at Saltersford Tunnel with about hald a hour to wait so time for a cupper. when it was 4 pm I went out to untie and found another boat had pulled in behind us. After the tunnel things turned really wet and windy but we carried on to the site of the Dutton Breach to moor for the night.

Today's Journey 
7.5 miles, one river, one canal, one boat lift in 3.5 hours

Saturday 18 March 2017

Barton Saturday 18 March 2017

Last night as we were going to bed I looked out of the rear doors and this was the view, the rain had just stopped for a short time and there wasn’t a breath of wind.

Well we haven’t boated far today, we spent the mooring wandering round Northwich returning to the boat a little before lunch just as it started raining again. We cruised up to just below Hunts Lock and had lunch.
After lunch we spent the afternoon at the Salt Museum in Weaver House, the old Work House, this was our third visit and still saw things we hadn’t seen before. We returned to the boat via Hunts Lock, again in the rain.
At 5pm we pushed off to moor by the Anderton Lift passing under the railway viaduct.
Just through the viaduct is one of the few remaining distance markers showing how far it is from the lock, they are moulded in concrete so most of them are damaged.
Between the rain showers it was quite pleasant with no wind, this gave so nice reflections as we passed Yarwood's basin with the Narrowboats all moored bows out to the river.
We passed the town centre again and I took another shot of the Odeon Cinema, you can see how murky the weather was.  
We moored on the 1 day visitor mooring pontoons just before the Lift but felt the noise from the soda works opposite might be a bit intrusive so we carried on for about a mile and a half to the 48 hr visitor moorings at Barton, this is inline with Barton Tunnel on the Trent and Mersey canal.

Today's Journey 
4 miles in one and a half hours

Friday 17 March 2017

Northwich Friday 17 March 2017

Last night dinner was taken in The Big Lock pub, they do a first class meat pie.
This morning after a visit from the local ducks feeding on the weed growing round the water line. It was before 9am when we pulled away just as another boat was also approaching the lock so were able to share. The swans have started nesting on the pond a short way below the lock, so its all started happening, but today didn’t feel very spring like with continuous drizzle until half two and then real rain. We made a brief stop at the services at Anderton to fill with water where the boat we shared Big Lock with passed us, they were also heading to Anderton Lift but not going down until tomorrow.
Our booking for the lift was 1515hrs and you need to be there half an hour before. We moored just before the visitor centre and had lunch moving on to the lift holding area at half two. I nepped down and told the lady in the office we had arrived and not long later there was a knock on the boat with our safety talk and we were into the lock. We were actually at the bottom of the lock by 3-15 but it took another quarter of an hour to get the bottom gate open. It was quite windy as we entered the top of the lift but the wind died away before we descended. On leaving the lift we turned hard left and moored for the night in the still poring rain in Northwich. I am not sure how we will get on cruising the Weaver as it appears from the information that lock keepers don't work weekends until Easter.

Today's Journey
11 miles, 1 lock, 1 lift 1 canal and 1 river in 4hrs 20 min

Thursday 16 March 2017

Middlewich Thursday 16 March 2017

Well an early start by my standards this morning, we were on our way at 7-15 am heading for our moorings to meet Chris and Gwen. We actually woke to bright sunshine but by the time we set off it had clouded over.
While I was waiting for the lock to fill I noticed 3 geese sitting on the wall of the weir, one of them in the classic one leg pose.
When we passed under bridge 162 CRT were still preparing to rebuild the wall.

I mentioned yesterday all the new houses going up near Booth Lane Locks, well today I took a photograph of it, its a Taylor Wimpy development called Albion Locks, I suppose that sounds better than Booth Lane Lock for a housing development. 
Maybe CRT will rename the locks to suit?

Bridge 165 Tetton Bridge has been extended 3 times, as you approach from the south its an arched bridge, about 10 feet in the arch drops by about 5" until you are almost half way through,
then it goes into an oblong  profile. Lots of boat travelling north to south have hit the transition between oblong and arched.

We met a boat just before Rumps lock so from here all locks were with us. The brickwork in Rumps Lock is all over the place but the lock is quite wide so doesn't present any problems.

 Below Kings Lock we stopped to fill up with diesel before continuing down the Middlewich flight, the area around the dry dock was very wet so it looks as if someone managed to flood the pound. We carried on through Big Lock and the back to our moorings at Park Farm Marina, This part of today's journey took 5.5 hrs. I have written the above while we wait for Chris and Gwen  to arrive and then we will set off again.

We off again at 3-30pm heading back towards Middlewich for the night, by 5-30 we were up through,  Big Lock, winded and moored outside the pub, moments before it started raining. 
This trip we have been lucky enough to see two pairs of Kingfishers, the first pair were flying up and down the canal, so no chance of a photograph, but today we passed two sitting on a branch.

Today's Journey
16.4 Miles 10 locks in 7 hours.