Friday 29 September 2017

Park Farm Friday 29 September 2017

We woke to the sound of rain so weren't in to much of a hurry to get away this morning, also eating at the Badger Inn last night may have been a bit much on Diana's knee, so she had an extra lay in and breakfast in bed.

I pushed off about quarter past ten by which time there was only the slightest hint of drizzle in the air.

The boat ahead of us was not only running his engine, not sure when he started because he was a good way ahead but it was also in gear, this has an adverse effect on the banks as it will erode them even behind the piling.DSCF9504

I met a few boats before Diana had enjoyed a nice hot shower and appeared. One of the boats that caught our eye has lots of stainless steel on it, the owner also trades selling ice creams as well as metal work. Crowning it all was a bird that looks as if its made from silk.DSCF9507

We carried on to Wardle lock and locked down to the Trent and Mersey canal turning sharp left. As we passed Middlewich Narrowboats I called in and booked Harnser in for bottom blacking so we will be back in a couple of weeks time. A good run down the Middlewich locks meeting a boat at each one which saved work and water.

After a short stop for lunch it was down to Biglock where a boat was about to exit and yet another waiting below so more worked saved.

There was no one moored at Bramble Gardens, there never is when we don't want to stop. The broken Cross club have another working weekend organised for next month.DSCF9511

Since we left about 6 weeks ago a lot of work has taken place at the new Oakwood Marina in one of the flashes, DSCF9516I don't think I would want to be up to my neck lining up piles.DSCF9514

Before we knew where we were we had reached our marina, thankfully I didn't make a pigs ear of it as I was being closely watched. Once moored the solar panels were retrieved from the car and put out on the roof, we don't use them while cruising, just to maintain the batteries while the boat is left.

Today's Journey map 4210½ miles, 6 locks in 5 hours.

As we have been out for about 6 weeks I have included a map of all our travels.IMG_0231

Thursday 28 September 2017

Minshull Thursday 28 September 2017

Well it was raining when we moored up and it was raining when we went to bed, we had over 10mm during the evening and night.

As the sun rose this morning it was quite misty outside, but this was all gone and we had a clear blue sky at 10 when we set off. Diana's knee was much easier and provided she doesn't twist it she is getting around quite well. We only had 2 locks today and she was able to steer while I locked us through.

I wondered why there were boats moored at the T junction at Hurleston locks leading up to the Llangollen canal, it turned out that the flight was closed because CRT were surveying the bottom lock. The walls have been slowly creeping in for years and it seems to have accelerated over the past couple of years, so now CRT are trying to find an answer for it. It is not the only lock on the system where the walls are coming in.DSCF9490
CRT, well I assume its them, it could be the water company were also working at the other side of the reservoir where water returns to the canal. Here they have been digging out and installing piling and it looks as if some big pipes are going in.DSCF9493

When I turned into the Middlewich arm at Barbridge Junction there wasn't another boat in sight but we did meet a few as we passed all the long term moorings, at Cholmondeston Lock there were 2 volunteer lock keepers on duty and they had the gate open ready for us, but I had already hopped off at the bridge and walked forward, so we had bit of a natter.

Passing the 2 Day moorings between here and Minshull lock I see some netting has been laid in the grass, again making assumptionsDSCF9498
it to try and stop the area turning into a mud bath. At the far end of the moorings the volunteers have restored the old lengthman's hut, lets hope it doesn't get vandalised again after all the effort that has been put in.DSCF9499

As we approached Minshull Lock a boat was just coming out so another one ready for me, This time I hopped off as the boat entered the lock to close the top gate and lock us down.
Not far to go now as we are moored just before Minshull hill bridge and Diana will be testing the progress of her knee with a walk down to the Badger Inn tonight. Just before the moorings their is a crop of fungi growing on the towpath, I don't think I will pick them for breakfast.DSCF9500

I must add a thank you to all the people that have wished Diana well, both in person (blog readers afloat) and electronically.

Today's Journey map 416½ Miles an 2 locks in 2½ hours.

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Hurleston Junction Wednesday 27 September 2017

Last night after dark the work boat Effingham came by so I expected him to moor at the top of Audlem Locks and be away first thing so we didn't start to early even though for some reason we woke early.

At about 8 30am a boat came passed so we set of 15 minutes later as I could see others boats coming down the Adderley flight behind us. When we arrived at Audlem Locks our luck took a turn for the better. The boat who came passed earlier were waiting for their son to arrive, Effingham was still tied up, I love the load numbers onDSCF9475 the bow and there was a boat coming out of the top lock.DSCF9477

The first two locks were with us and we waited a few minutes for a hire boat at the third. Then a chap walking down drew paddles on the next few lock. He was walking his 16 year old dog, and doing a lock gave the dog a short rest. After that we started meeting boats all the way to the Shroppie fly, although we did have to wait about for a few, including one who turned the lock and then locked up at a couple of clicks at a time on the paddles, one paddle at a time.

We stopped outside the Shroppie Fly to fill the water tank before continuing down the flight, the last few locks being the slowest. Just above The Shroppie Fly a volunteer was walking up the flight spraying the dog poo orange, I think it would have been better if he had used a shove and just cleared it up, painting it orange wont get rid of it and it wont have any effect on the people who don't clear up after their dogs.
The garden on the off side at the bottom lock is coming on nicely, its a community venture so I am not sure who buy the stuff to set or has the produce.DSCF9480

A few years back there was a travelling theatre group who use to perform canal side and at the IWA National Festivals called Day Star Theatre. They were based at the Old Stables just by the winding hole. The people who ran it still live here and own the boat, The Angry Bull, moored out the front.DSCF9481
This is the land of geese and at one point I estimated there were will over 200 just in one group, other smaller groups were onDSCF9487 different fields and there was a constant stream flying in to join them.DSCF9484
CRT have also done a lot of offside bank protection work using a soft edging supported on wooden posts. I hope the posts are longer living than the ones available around us which seem to rot off in about 3 years. DSCF9482
We stopped for lunch near the Secret Bunker before continuing on our way in weak sun shine, it didn't really clear out all day. Our target was to moor by Hurleston Junction, so as expected there were loads of vacant mooring spots all the way through Nantwich, actually its a pity we didn't stop there.

For some years there has been a boat moored just the Hurleston side of Nantwich, There must be a story behind it as CRT have never taken action for overstaying, so there must be good reason why its still here. Today it was facing the opposite direction to what we have seen it in the past. I don't know if anyone actually lives under all that?DSCF9488

At Hurleston Junction we could see a space on the far end of the visitor moorings, just in front of a boat we use to moor with on the Middle Level, Ray and his little Staffy, Bones. so we tucked in close in front of him just as it started to rain. This canal is well known for what is called the Shroppie Shelf, the bottom of the concrete edging protrudes out about 2 foot under the surface by a few inches. One way to stop the boat rubbing on this is to float wheelbarrow wheels between the hull and the edge, we had just deployed these and Diana was adjusting the bow rope when she slipped off the foredeck into the canal between the bows and the edge probably helped by the rain that was now falling. Ray and I helped her out, it was quite deep but she stood on the Shroppie Ledge which helped, However she has given her knee a good twist or bang, its not swollen but hurts when she walks, so its light duties for a bit.

Today's Journey map 4010½miles & 15 locks in 6¼ hours

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Adderley Tuesday 26 September 2017

Last night while checking the engine I realised that the oil and filter change were over due, also topping up the batteries. I do these every 250 hours and now we were just short of 300, so a job for today.

As we were moored opposite The Wharf Tavern we went there to eat last night, to say they are not stingy with their portion size would be and under statement, starter and sweet were not required. They had 3 beers on the pumps, Doom Bar, Joules and one I didn't know but it was an IPA and tasted OK.

This morning we set of in sunshine at quarter to ten and had a good run down to Market Drayton where we stopped to sort the engine/batteries and Diana did a bit of shopping.

The house at the top of the Tyrley Locks looked very attractive inDSCF9464
the sun shine. A boater there who was taking water, the water point is right by the top lock, kindly opened the top gate for us so we could go straight in. The houses by the lock as well as having some interesting herbs right beside the lock also has the wagon on the front lawn.DSCF9465

We were soon down the flight with Diana setting ahead and me closing up, we were able to leave the bottom lock open as a boat approached just as we were getting ready to leave. As I said we stopped on the visitor moorings in Market Drayton, the moorings run all the way along the tow path opposite these herring bone long term moorings.DSCF9468One of the boats on the long term moorings has a notice on the bow asking people not to moor opposite. CRT took these moorings over a couple of years ago and have done a lot of work improving them with new surface on the pontoons, electricity points at each one and even dredging them out.

Just to the other side on Market Drayton is Victoria Wharf and the back ends of a couple of boats there caught my eye.DSCF9470 The first was fitted with an Axiom Propeller which are supposed to improve the handling and stopping power of the boat, the other was another steel boat that had no rear swim at all, just a square profile and an electric outboard mounted on the rudder. DSCF9471All a bit chalk and cheese I thought.

When we arrived at Adderley Locks there was a boat just about to enter the top lock so I stopped on the lock mooring to let Diana off and lend a hand with the lock. When it was our turn to enter the lock the bows of Harnser was hard aground on something. I took full power in reverse, me rocking the boat from side to side and Diana plus the couple off the boat behind pushing the bows to get us off. We followed the other boat down, I was able to back set the second lock but after that I couldn't see far enough ahead to turn locks. Once at the bottom we moored on the 2 Day moorings for the night.
The lock moorings below the locks flight are still fenced off, its not plastic mesh but wire on wooden posts,DSCF9472 I know it was like this the last two times we have been this way so I do wonder how long it has been like it and when its likely to get fixed.

Today's Journey map 39 7¼ miles, 10 locks in 3¾ hours

Monday 25 September 2017

Goldstone Monday 25 September 2017

Firstly an update about the boat yard near Stretton Aqueduct thatDSCF9439
we passed yesterday. I received this nice e mail from Christine which she kindly agreed I could add to today's blog.

Hi Brian.

The boatyard by Stretton Aqueduct was my late husband's. Keith Ball. Industry Narrowboats. Well known for historic boats.
My family (3 sons & their girls) & I are trying to keep it going. There's a restored GUCC boat nearly ready to be launched (Corolla), another oldie in the boat shed for a rebuild ( Canis Major) and others waiting. The small tug is a Dutch "Opduwer". We have another slightly bigger one in the shed & one in kit form. Pretty little day boats. The old wooden boat is a 1928 Camper & Nicholson. She was the tender to a famous yacht. Needs a new owner who can

restore her!



This morning we were away a bit earlier due to the weather forecast, to try to avoid the worst of the rain. In the end things were fine with just a very light drizzle at one point.
One of the residential moorings has a rather nice, I assume  store on the bank by their mooring.DSCF9443

Bridge 26 is a large example of a turn over bridge that were built when the towpath changed sides, so the horse could cross the canal without having to release the tow line.DSCF9444
I think this must be the best example of a water point I have seen on a canal anywhere. I don't know who is responsible for it as there is a second about 50 yards away and that has not had the same treatment, If you want to see it its in Gnosall. DSCF9448

A unique feature of this canal are the mile posts, they contain much more information than most. I am assuming they are copies of the originals and I don't really know why they were installed, as all the books tell you that most boatmen were unable to read and I am sure they knew how far they were from their destination in hours, much more use to them than miles.DSCF9449

Any Narrowboaters reading this will know exactly what is meant if someone says a Narrowboat has lost his water skier. Well here is one with his skier firmly attached, but I thought it should be at the back.DSCF9453

When we passed The Anchor pub at High Offley, somewhere I am yet to visit, I was surprised by the number of boats moored there, it common to see boats on the visitor moorings overnight in the DSCF9457summer but these were outside that area, I also noted that someone has done some work on the old boat that lays right outside the pub. Its officially a 48 hr mooring but the boat has been there as long as I can remember so must have special dispensation.DSCF9458

Further north you pass under a modern bridge,No.44. Attached to the bridge is a steel gate that can be swung and locked across both the tow path and the canal. I wondered if anyone can ever remember this being used, there is a padlock hanging on the post by the canal, I'm not sure why that can't use the lock that is holding it open?DSCF9459

We carried on a bit further to moor for the night opposite The Wharf pub at Goldstone. Again we are half way across the winding hole just like last night, but that is where the rings and the official 2 day moorings are.

Today's Journey map 3815 Miles in 5¾ hours.

Sunday 24 September 2017

Wheaton Aston Sunday 24 September 2017

At 8 30 this morning an ex working pair came past to go down the locks, they would be well clear before we set off but it did mean all the locks would be against us. Had we been first all locks would be in our favour.
We set off at 9-30 ish passing the mouth of Broad Street Basin where we filled with water yesterday. DSCF9418
On the park someone is living in a tent between the statues/art work. I am not sure what they are meant to be.DSCF9419
The old lock cottages above lock one are fully scaffolded out right up to the chimney pots. It funny but we have done this flight several times but I have never noticed this gate post against the bridge below lock 1 before, you can see the hinge near the bottom, you can also see the orange spot which was on lots of the bridges again.DSCF9421

Most of the locks worked well, I think there were a couple of paddles out of action and all the anti vandal locks worked. We met a lengths man coming up the flight , he was relocking the gates after the ex working pair had gone down, it was easy to see where he had met them as all the locks were off after that.
Diana walked ahead setting the locks and I worked the boat down closing up behind me and putting all the locks back on, I worked out that just doing that I walked 1¼ miles, 100+ yards at each of the 21 locks. With all the locks against us the flight took us 2 hours 50 minutes. Down at Aldersley Junction we turned right onto theDSCF9428
Staffordshire and Worcestershire for about half a mile until we came to Autherley Junction where we turned left onto the Shropshire Union canal, there is a stop lock at the junction to prevent water loss from one companies canal to the other and it has a fall of about 6". The photo was taken with the lock lowered.DSCF9430

Napton Narrowboats have a base at the junction and there was not one of their boats to be seen at the base, so whether they are all out or been moved to Napton I don't know.DSCF9431
We came all the way down the Wolverhampton 21 without meeting a boat and then within an hour we meet 10 and continued to meet them all day. Also at Autherley we passed a Red Eared Terrapin sitting on a branch out of the water, the live quite happily in our climate but I don't know if they bread, I hope not as they are another predator that doesn't belong here.DSCF9432

CRT now seam to be using yellow plastic mesh in place of orange or blue which they always used in the past, maybe they think it blends in better.DSCF9435
The aqueduct at Stretton is getting in need of some loving care, a bit of gardening and a coat of paint wouldn't go a miss, but I expect the paint would be outside the scope of volunteers being over a major road but a bit of vegetation control on both sides wouldn't.DSCF9438

There is a boat yard just over the aqueduct, I can never remember its name but they have proper boats there. Today there were two I especially liked, an old wooden canal cruiser, it may have been an inspection launch in its day and this little tug.DSCF9439
The wooden cruiser is just in front of the shed door.
We carried on through one more lock to stop for the night at Wheaton Aston, we are moored opposite the winding hole but its marked as a 48 hour mooring, the chap in front has just started his engine so if he leaves we will pull forward a bit.

Today's Journey map 3710½ miles, 23 locks in 6¼ hours.