Tuesday 18 April 2017

Home Moorings Tuesday 18 April 2017

We woke to a cracking morning, how does the weather know when we are going home?

Quite a few boats about, including one just after I pulled the first pin out at 9-30 AM.

We had just set off when this Cormorant popped up with a fish in his beak, he then proceeded to catch 3 more.DSCF7641

The down side of this canal is that it right on the approach flight line for Manchester Airport so from about 6-30 AM until 11 PM there is a plane going over every few minutes, but at least they stop over night.DSCF7643

It was only just under a mile to our mooring and we were there by 10 AM. Its quite surprising the progress they have made at the marina over the last 3 weeks, a new car park has appeared and also electricity bollards down the length of another pontoon.

This trip we have done 152 locks and 170 Miles  in 21 daysmap trip


Today's Journeymap 21 0.9 Miles, No Locks in 35 minutes

Monday 17 April 2017

Broken Cross Monday 17 April 2017

Another great meal in The Big Lock, I think this is some of the best pub food I have come across.

This morning we pushed off just after 10am. Big Lock was with us, but when we were half way down another boat arrived behind us, had they been a few minutes earlier I would have turned the lock so the could share.

It drizzled most of the morning, we were travelling quite slowly as it wasn't far to our marina and I wanted time to top the batteries up before leaving the boat. As we passed under the old railway bridge 180A we commented how rotten it looked and that we had never seen a train on the line, we had only gone a couple of hundred yards when we heard a two tone horn and a goods train with 30 wagons appeared.DSCF7621The reason for the horn was not to say hello to me, but the chap in the photograph was walking along the rails, after the rain had gone he continued using the track as a footpath.

Even travelling at a slow pace we reached our marina in two hours so continued on towards Wincham Wharf. Passing through the Tata Chemical works the cauldrons where steaming steadily.DSCF7626

It looks as if they are going to remove a lot of the cast iron pipes between the canal and the road as some have yellow sprayed along them and others have LIVE painted in red on them, it also looks as if they have replaced a lot of the cladding on the building adjacent to the road.

The winding hole is several hundred yards past the wharf and just before we got there we passed a both that wasn't displaying the best practice in mooring but running his mooring rope across the towpath.DSCF7629

On our return there was a mother duck and ducklings on the tow path, well most where but there were two in the canal and I had to wait for a boat coming the other way, but no squashed ducklings I am pleased to say.DSCF7632

We had considered mooring outside The Old Broken Cross pub but as we are eating onboard this evening we carried on for a short DSCF7635way so we are shielded from the road junction and bridge by the houses.

Today's Journeymap 20

8¼ Miles 1 lock in 3½ hours

Sunday 16 April 2017

Middlewich Sunday 16 April 2017

The dawn choirs went off again this morning, I thought they may have a lie in on a Sunday but, up and at it before 6am .

Just as we left it started gently spitting with rain, nothing much but it indicated what was to come, Our luck with the locks was not so good today and at the first lock, Stanthorne Lock we were third in the queue, By now be had raincoats on.

We passed these very young calves on the way.There were two lots of twins and two singles in the field. Unfortunately this one had forgotten who was mum, not this brown and white one and she soon made that clear to him.DSCF7613

This one was getting very close to the canal edge in the reed bed, hope he was OK.DSCF7614

We decided to stop in Middlewich before Wardle lock for some lunch, Just as we were tying up John and Gillian called out to us from their cottage and invited us round for Brunch, so armed with a bottle of wine we were off. Funny all the time we were with them it didn't rain, but as soon as we returned to the boat it started.

We were third in the queue at Wardle Lock and ended up following them down the Middlewich flight as well. Just below the locks this chap was keeping an eye on what was going on.DSCF7616

There is an old wharf down below the locks just before the main road crosses the canal, It has a boarded up house and a warehouse on site and has been up for sale since before I ever came this way, today we noticed that it has been a little bit more vandalised.DSCF7618
We moored for the night just above Big Lock so that is somewhere handy for dinner tonight.

Today's Journeymap 19 6 miles, 5 locks, 3 canals in 3½ hours.

Saturday 15 April 2017

Church Minshull Saturday 15 April 2017

Last night we ate in The Barbridge Inn, to say it was busy would be an understatement, I rang and booked a table for 8pm. the chap on the phone warned me then that it would be busy and full. We walk over arriving just before 8 and got drinks, the waitress had our table ready for 8pm. She warned us when we sat down there would be an hours wait for food and she was spot on. The food was very good, hot and freshly cooked. We ordered our deserts, but they were a long time coming, When they did arrive the waitress firstly apologised and then said we wouldn't be charged for them. In my opinion a place with that attitude to customer service deserves to succeed, we will go again.

This morning most of the boats had gone before 9, some to Venetian Marina and some to Bunbury. its obviously a recommended stop for the last night's hire. We pushed off at ten continuing north along the Shropshire Union stopping at the Calveley Cheese shop to buy some local cheese, I must say its a lot cheaper than the shops. DSCF7603

I was rather taken by their outside seating area for the cafe, all made from old pallets with clear plastic table tops.DSCF7604

This must be CRT's way of telling boaters that they have trimmed some of the offside vegetation, the sign is not needed, we can see where its been done and also where its needed.DSCF7602

Once we were stocked up with cheese, (something I shouldn't eat) we had to continue north for about 20 minutes to the winding hole so that we could turn and return to Barbridge Junction, on the way we passed this what I think is an old Lime Kiln on the offside.DSCF7606

We then stopped for water at Calveley service point, this is in the middle of some long term mooring so I suspect one or more of those moors who have created and maintain this little garden.DSCF7607

At Barbridge Junction we turned left onto the Middlewich arm fully expecting to join a queue at the locks but we were wrong, a steady stream coming up but no one going down.

At Nanney's bridge the wood sticking out through the hedge onto the towpath has now been replaced with corrugated iron, its made me wonder if these items have been delivered by boat and unloaded through the hedge.DSCF7610

The cowslips are now in full bloom and seem to be everywhere there is a bit of grass now, I don't remember seeing so many before.DSCF7609

We moored at 3 pm at Church Minshull and went for a walk into the village, as The Badger was open it seemed silly not to go in and check the beer was still up to scratch before continuing round the circuit to return to the towpath back at bridge 11.

Today's Journeymap 18 9.7 miles, 2 canals, 2 locks in 4¼ hours

Friday 14 April 2017

Barbridge Friday 14 April 2017

We didn’t wake to rain but it started very soon after so we were in no hurry to get out today, in the end we set off at 1030. The first leg of our journey was only about three quarters of an hour to Hack Green Secret Bunker. This is only a few minutes walk from Bridge 85. I must say the place is very well laid out and although the rooms all now have displays in them the doors are still labelled with their original use.

We only took one photo in there and that is really for my sister.IMG_0279

We wandered back to the boat for lunch, the Porkpie was bought from the farm shop at the top of the Audlem Flight.

We set off down the Hack Green locks with a steady flow of traffic in both directions, some more efficient than others. A boater coming up told us Nantwich moorings were full and she wasnt wrong, we did stop to fill with water and then headed on to Barbridge, on the way we passed this boat, I don’t think I have ever seen one so well loaded. DSCF7601

In Barbridge we did manage to find a space on the 48 hr moorings but we had to go to the end of the houses before there was one. We had just moored up and it started to rain again so rain before and after we have been boating, that's OK. Although it didn’t rain on us while we were boating I think anyone in the Chester area may have got a bit damp.DSCF7599

Since we have been here there has been a steady stream of boats passing.

Today’s Journeymap 17 7.5 miles 2 locks in 3.5 hours

Thursday 13 April 2017

Coole Pilate Thursday 13 April 2017

A little bit later in getting away as there was quite a bit of movement when we planned to go. You will be pleased to know that the Swan is still giving that poor Mallard duck hell, he even chases her towards his nest as well as away from it, just the one. The Drake sort of follows on behind in the middle of the canal while this is going on.

Work is preceding at the Market Drayton long term moorings with the dredging finished and now pontoons being rebuilt and ground work going on.DSCF7586

I have never seen a notice like this at visitor moorings before, I can only assume that it is to give easy access for the long term pontoons opposite during the day.DSCF7588

Even though we delayed our departure there was still a queue at Adderley Locks with one boat on the lock moorings, one in the lock, two in the next pound, we couldn’t see beyond that. By the time we were entering the top lock there was also another boat behind us. We did however meet a boat  one lock from the bottom.

The Bluebells are peeping out around here as well so Spring must be on the way even if I am wearing a thick jacket over my fleece.DSCF7590

As we didn’t want to continue down the Audlem like this so we pulled over for lunch. However that didn’t work.
After a couple of boats came up I started the engine ready to set off, as I went up on deck the boat ahead started his engine and pushed off, we did the next mile on tickover to let him get ahead, when we could see the Audlem flight he had just gone into the lock, but another boat pulled off the moorings and was ahead of us. At this point we decided to moor up for a couple of hours as there was nothing in sight coming up. Then the lady from the boat in front of us said the single hander was  mooring after the second lock so plans changed again and we followed down. About 6 locks down we met a boat, it didn't help us but it did give the boat ahead a good run which speeded things up for us as well.

I have never really noticed this building beside the flight and wondered what it was used for, its none towpath side so unlikely to be a blacksmith as the horses couldn't get there for shoeing.DSCF7591

I had hoped to moor in the pond below the Shroppie Fly but that was full so we continued on to between bridges 82 and 83, we were going on to the 48hr moorings but we could see a lot of boats there.

As we passed Overwater Marina a lady came out of her boat and called over to us, I could pick out a few words she said but not all I’m afraid, I feel sure she said she follow the Blog and also mentioned Cutweb.

Just past the marina in a muddy patch on the offside we spotted a pair of Oyster Catchers, I haven’t seen these since I left the Fens.DSCF7595

Today's Journey map 167.7 Miles 20 locks in 6 hours.

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Market Drayton Wednesday 12 April 2017

Our normal 10 am start in sunshine, we only went about 150 yard before stopping at the services to fill with water. Opposite the services is the Norbury Junction CRT yard and they have what looks like two legs of a set of share legs standing by the canal. Although in this photograph it looks like it, they are not resting against the building but are fixed into the ground and an angleDSCF7563

It wasn’t long before the coat was on as the weather turned cooler but summer is coming, I think these Bluebells are native ones and we saw our first Swallow,  as well as lots of ducklings.DSCF7564

When we were heading south on this canal I mentioned white canes along the towpath, these have now been joined by blue paint on the concrete and the piling at 60 foot intervals.DSCF7569DSCF7572

The reason for them I suspect is part of a National fishing competition that will take place in August on long stretches of the Shropshire Union canal.

On the long term moorings we passed a boat that advertises Sign Writing, he also has a sign on his canal side shed so I was wondering if this might be his truck parked nearby.DSCF7575

You often see boats that have been extended by welding a section into the hull, but it is unusual to see one extended at the stern like this one has been.DSCF7576

We had planned to stop above Tyrley locks but as we arrived a boat had just ascended the flight so all locks would be with us if we carried on, so the plan was changed. It got even better and we met 3 boats so where able to leave gates open and have some open for us. Talking of gates, this one leaks like a sieve.DSCF7581

At the top of the flight on the wall at Tyrley Wharf there is a rather nice cast information board giving a bit of history of the place.DSCF7580

Once clear of the locks we headed on to Market Drayton to moor for the night, the weather stayed fine but very threatening at time.

Once moored we walked into town for a bit of shopping and when we left Aldi it was raining and we didn’t have coats, so we got more than a bit damp in the 15 minute walk back to the boat.

Today’s Journey  map 15

11.3 miles 5 locks in 5 hours

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Norbury Junction Tuesday 11 April 2017

I woke early this morning and couldn’t find the volume control for the dawn chorus. It was a lovely sunny morning but the temperature had dropped to 3.6° over night. Things are definitely getting busier and there were 12 boats moored here overnight.

We set off at our normal 10 o’clock and hadn’t gone far when by the winding hole I spotted what I think is a vineyard with the posts where the hops will be tied up.


We stopped to do a bit of shopping in Brewood visiting the Co-op and the greengrocers, as we didn’t need meat we gave the butchers a miss this time.

Our next stop was Wheaton Aston at Turners to fill with diesel at 58.9p/lt for domestic use. Just passed there but the long term moorings there was quite a bit of oil on the water, but it didn’t last to long.DSCF7555

Cowley Tunnel as you come into Gnosall is hacked through a solid lump of rock, there are a few blocks in the roof at the South Portal but other that that its unlined rock.DSCF7558

In Gnosall its self a lad was sailing a radio controlled yacht, normally power gives way to sail but he held the tip of the mast while we passed. It was sailing well in the very light breeze.DSCF7561

We carried on to moor for the night at Norbury Junction in the afternoon sun.

Today’s Journey map 14

12.4 miles, 1 lock in 5hrs 20 minutes.

Monday 10 April 2017

Shropshire Union Monday 10 April 2017


Last night after I posted the log the weather changed somewhat, this is what it looked like at 7-30 pm. After a glorious weekend this is how it closed.DSCF7538

As it had been so hot we had let the stove out so decided on a Take a way, while Diana when to pick up the Indian I went and got a couple of pints from The Fountain Inn to go with it, I wish beer was this price round our way.

This morning it was even cooler and cloudy, we set off at 10am and it was to be a day of meeting people we know, first I stopped to clear the prop in the Narrows and a boat cam the other way, friends of ours. Then we met a boat in the 21, someone we know from Stone, finally a boat starts to catch us up,  which takes so mowing on a flight, again friends helping another boat down the flight so were mob handed.

Coseley Tunnel is a wide tunnel with a tow bath on each side such was the level of traffic on this canal.

DSCF7547It is all brick lined and as you look at it  in the dim light it all looks very uneven, not a smooth arch like you find in a bridge. This is one of the few places on the BCN where I have had stones thrown at me. The south portal is ideal for kids to hide and throw things down from. There is a nice wall above the portal for them to hide behind and they can escape up to the road if you are daft enough to try and chase them, but its only happened once in all the times I have been through it. DSCF7540

We arrived at the Wolverhampton 21 to find the first 2 locks against us, then we met 4 boats in quick succession followed by nothing. Half way down we pass a boat that had stopped for lunch. After about another 4 locks I was aware of a boat behind us and someone setting ahead

The lock setter soon caught us up, it was a friend of ours and they were helping the boat we passed midway down the rest of the flight, in the end Elaine ended up closing up for me on the towpath side as I left the lock. DSCF7550At lock number 2 we couldn’t get the bottom gate fully open so I had to have a pock round with the pole, while doing this the other boat caught up. Once clear of the flight we turned right at Aldersley Junction on the Staff and Worcs canal and just went as far as Autherley Junction where we turned left down the Shropshire Union Canal passing through the stop lock with its 3” fall.

We stopped at Napton Narrowboats to have the toilet tank emptied, also my wallet as it cost £20 and then stopped again a short time later to fill with water. All of Napton Narrow Boats hire boats are out this week, so I expect things will be getting busy.


We moored for the night at one of the Shropshire Union Canal Society moorings a short way north of the M54 motorway. A longer day than planned but by this afternoon the weather had improved a bit but still cool so, the stove is alight again.


Today’s Journey map 1311 miles 22 locks, 3 junctions.  3 canals in 7 hours.