Monday 31 December 2018

Church Minshull Monday 31 December 2018

Just as we were about to leave a boat came down the flight past us backwards. So we followed him down. Passing Overwater Marina there is still a fine collections of submersible pumps and equipment.DSCF0939

A little further along the offside bank has been trampled down by cattle, its not long ago that CRT spent money reinforcing the bank with soft edging, as you can see there is now a fence along to keep the cattle back.DSCF0940

We arrived at Hack Green locks to join a queue of 4. The bottom lock had dropped a paddle so was taking for ever and a day to fill. I didn't expect that on the last day of the year.DSCF0946

As you approach Nantwich the towpath has been resurfaced, the path is open but there are still hundreds of yard of plastic mesh.DSCF0948

Nantwich was not as full as I expected it to be and we had a steady but slow run through. Once through Nantwich we passed this boat piled high with all sorts, the boat has been moored here for several years now.DSCF0949

At Barbridge Junction it was hard right down the Middlewich Branch, we didn't meet anything turning in, in fact we didn't meet anything until we were leaving Cholmondeston lock which was in our favour with the top gate ajar, We were to meet even more boats at Minshull lock, one before the lock, one in the lock and a third approached as we were leaving. We continued on to moor at the visitor moorings at Church Minshull.

As this is the last day of 2018 I thought I would post some statistics for us this year. We have spent 166 nights on board,, done some 745 locks and covered 1360 miles.

Today's Journeymap 15 13½ Miles, 5 locks in 5½ hours.

Sunday 30 December 2018

Audlem Sunday 30 December 2018

I had a Little job to do this morning before we left. The solar Panel control unit had a red light showing yesterday as well as the green to indicate the sun was almost shining, overnight in the dark, no lights, this morning in the day light just the panels green and the other red. Turned out that I had dislodged the fuse in the charging line when I changed the batteries last week. Only problem is my back is now complaining after lifting the tool box awkwardly, so it was 10 30 again before we were away.

Just as passed under the bridge before the locks a boat came up which was good new as the flight of 5 Adderley locks would all be with us, however the bad news was they had met a boat going down just before they entered the bottom lock, so it didn't sound to good for the 15 down into Audlem. CRT have a work boat moored part way down the Adderley Locks as they are cutting recesses to refit the safety ladders in the lock walls, now there will be room to get your toes through the ladder when standing on the rungs, there was about a 30mm gap before.DSCF0932

This area really is a high capacity dairy cattle keeping part of the world with lots of the cows living in large open sided sheds, these ones were outside and probably going in for milking.DSCF0928

We arrived at the top of the Audlem flight and the first two locks were full. The cottage by the top lock has been greatly extended lately which has lead to a lot of discussion on the internet as not being in keeping with what was there.DSCF0935

There is bit of a gap between the top two locks and the third, but as we arrived we were very pleased to see a boat emerging, the Lock Gods were looking down on us. All the locks down to lock 11 would be in our favour, we even met another boat so were able to leave gates open for them. I was going to tuck in for water in front of the Shroppie Fly but a boat was already pulling in backwards so we dropper through lock 13 and used that tap. The Shroppie Fly is closed again for another change of management, they don't seem to last long here. Once filled wit water we did one more lock before mooring for the night.

Todays Journeymap 14 4½ Miles, 19 Locks in 4¼ Hours.

Saturday 29 December 2018

Market Drayton Saturday 29 December 2018

Well we went for a pint in the Anchor, not been in a pub like that since I was at school and saw in the Live and Let Live in Fleggburgh, a nice coal fire and just one other couple in there when we arrived, unfortunately it was empty when the four of us left.

We were a bit late getting away this morning, 10 30am. I blame it on our late night after watching Quartet on BBC2 last night.

I had to post this photo of yet another Kingfisher we passed today, the total has now exceeded 20 this trip but we were right beside this one before it took off.DSCF0913

This is not my favourite canal, there are lots of long featureless stretches interspersed with lots of long term offside moorings. On of the features that does stand out on this length of canal is Woodseaves cutting which was cut through solid rock in places,DSCF0917in other parts the banks are battered back, but in these areas there is often land slips on both the towpath side and the offside. As youDSCF0920 can see it runs dead straight.

We stopped for a bit to eat above Tyrley Locks which turned out to be a good move, as when we set off we met a boat coming up after the first lock. At the bottom of the flight a couple of tree roots have lost the fight to hang on in to the side of the bank above the tow path.DSCF0922

We pushed on to Market Drayton where we moored and made a trip to Lidl for a few odds and ends that we had run out of. By the time we returned it was getting on for half four and getting dark but we still decided to move on mooring up a little before 5 PM. just short of bridge 66.

Today's Journeymap 13 10¾ miles, 5 locks in 4½ hours.

Friday 28 December 2018

High Offley Friday 28 December 2018

The owls where we moored last night were quite vocal and we could hear them over the TV.

Not the best of starts this morning, at 6AM I heard a boat go passed, what time and where he set off from I don't know, I think he was travelling south then at 7 AM there was a Text, my sister is in hospital so thought it may be that, but it was Santander telling me I had nearly gone overdrawn and there want enough in the account to pay the credit card bill. They should have tried again this afternoon to give me a chance to top the funds up, fingers crossed.

So after sorting out the bank, hopefully we set off at twenty past ten. I was rather taken by the sign requesting you don't speed passed moored boats at High Onn, well it made me smile.DSCF0848

Coming through the cutting it looks as if the trees are all making a guard of honour as they grow out from the banks seeking the light from the sky. DSCF0889We stopped in Gnosall for a little look round, a few shops, post box and a couple of pubs, so quite a handy place. By now the weather had brightened but it didn't last and we even had just a couple of spots of rain. In Gnosall I saw my first bulbs in flower of the season, I expect they have probably been under cover for a bit, they were just outside the pub.DSCF0894

We passed what I think is the site of a Kingfishers nest in the offside bank.DSCF0896

At Norbury there is a large study being carried out by Birmingham University to try to measure the effects of high levels of CO2 on our woodland, The trees and masts are quite visible from the canal.DSCF0901

In my Blog I posed a picture of an Owl on a boat, I thought I would include one of his owl box .DSCF0905

We had to negotiate another tree down across the canal today, it was already down when we passed in the other direction but its deep enough to go overtop of it, I expect they have been reported to CRT but I will drop them an email in case.DSCF0907

Another ¾ of a mile and we moored for the night just passed the Anchor pub at High Offley.

Today's Journeymap 12 8¾ Miles in 3½ hours.

Thursday 27 December 2018

Wheaton Aston Thursday 27 December 2018

Overnight a notice appeared just before the service block, it had gone when we returned at about 2 PMDSCF0849We set off at 10 am up the only singe lock between us and the stop lock at Autherley Junction. It was good to see the old goose at the top of the lock who lives with a flock of ducks.DSCF0852

It was very dank all day and the sun never got through, there was no breeze and the weather just sort of sat there all day. It wasn't long before we reached Industry Narrowboats by Stretton Aqueduct, it was over a year ago when we last came this way, see my Blog here and it looks as if they are doing well at the yard. The boats moored there gave some very nice reflections.DSCF0858

As we approached Brewood there are some long term moorings on the off side and a couple of the boats moored there must be well on the way to becoming SSSI's with the amount of flora and fauna growing on them, someone somewhere must own them and they have been hear for years.


After passing through Brewood an oncoming boater warned us of a tree down between bridges 9 and 10, there was just enough room to squeeze between the end and the towpath. We only went past bridge 9 before deciding to wind and head back north on the Shropshire Union, this is about 3¾ miles before Autherley where we had planned to turn. On our way back as we approached the fallen tree a boater we know was approaching from the opposite direction, I think he was taking photos.DSCF0869

To the north of Brewood on the off side of the canal is a dead straight cutting with this structure at the end, they look as if they may have been sluice gates at one time, but was it a drain or a feed? There is also a derelict building beside it, may be a pump house at one time?DSCF0877

Its not even New Year yet and the catkins have started to come out along the canal bank, the birds are pairing up ready for spring.DSCF0875

We continued North dropping back down through Wheaton Aston lock, pausing to fill with water at the services and then carrying on for a mile to moor just north of bridge 21.
Today has been another day for Kingfisher and Dabchick spotting, none of the Kingfishers today were flying, they just sat there as we passed.

DSCF0881 DSCF0873 

Today's Journeymap 11 9¾ Miles, 2 Locks in 4½ Hours

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Wheaton Aston Wednesday 26 December 2018

We set off at 11 am past the miles of moored boats with a steadily improving sun creeping from behind the clouds.

Bridge 44 has a stop gate under it in case the canal to the north breaches, but there is also a steel barrier to swing across the canal and towpath closing it off, the only thing is that the barrier would be on the breach side of the stop lock, so you would never get to the barrier by boat.DSCF0828

At the Norbury Junction moorings we passed a boat with what looked like an owl box on the slide like you often see in trees, imagine our surprise looking back and seeing a rather large owl sitting in it looking back at us.DSCF0832

I don't know if they have a problem with boats speeding her, but this one had a water skier on his bows.DSCF0834

For as long as I can remember this boat has been moored on the offside to the south of Norbury Junction, it wont be long before its declared an SSSI in its own right.DSCF0836

Today we have seen 3 pairs of Dabchicks or Little Grebes, I must read up on these as you only seem to see them in the winter time, they are experts at diving and swimming underwater so I was pleased to get this snap of one of the pairs.DSCF0840

There were loads of vacant visitor moorings in Gnosall but even so, two boat felt it necessary to moor their bow to the last mooring and use a piling hook for the stern right against the bridge hole, well I suppose it does get you 60 foot closer to the pub door. As we approached Gnosall Tunnel it looked as if the cutting on the far side was full of smoke, but it was actually mist, only for aboutDSCF0841100 Mts As you can see the north face is cut into a solid piece of rock, there is also a towpath all the way through it on one side, I must admit I didn't bother putting the tunnel light on for it.DSCF0846

This morning we decided that we would go as far as Autherley Junction to wind and would still be back in Middlewich for New Years Day, averaging the days out tonight's mooring should have been a short way above Wheaton Aston lock, as we approached Wheaton Aston a hire boat was winging ready to return up the lock, so we followed them to the lock and Diana walked up to help and set the lock for us. Before the other boat left the lock she came back saying there were several boats already moored where we had planned to more and the towpath was very muddy. With this wonderful news I reversed back past the winding hole and we popped onto the end of the visitor moorings for the night, it will just mean an extra half hour tomorrow to get back on schedule.

Today's Journeymap 10 11½ in 4½ hours

Tuesday 25 December 2018

Shebdon Aqueduct Tuesday 25 December 2018

Last night we watched Alan Bennett, The Lady in the Van on the TV, so it was quite late when we turned in. I went out onto the foredeck to remove the TV aerial and in so doing set off all the local owls. I could count at least 4 different calls, thankfully the soon went back to sleep so we could do the same thing.

This morning there was not a breath of wind so at about 11am. I reversed back to the water point directly opposite the house that isDSCF0815for sale. To say this water point is slow is an under statement, its one of the slowest I have come across on the system, It wouldn't keep up with filling a kettle. After the tank was finally full we set off through Woods Eve Cutting, there is a 2 MPH speed limit through here to prevent erosion and land slips, however there is no de-restriction sign at the other end, or even a speed limit sign travelling north. DSCF0816

Our original thoughts were to stop at Goldstone Bridge opposite the pub but we discounted that as being too soon, as we arrived at Goldstone Bridge I had to hold back as a boat coming towards us was winding and then mooring. We had decided that Knighton aDSCF0820 short way before the Milk factory would be a better destination and we moored there for our Christmas Lunch, Smoked Salmon on home made bread. After lunch we felt a bit hemmed in so decided to move once more, this time to Shebdon Aqueduct, one of the spots we had earmarked for our return journey

Today's Journeymap 09 6¼ miles in 2 hours.

Merry Christmas one and all.

Monday 24 December 2018

Tyrley Locks Monday 24 December 2018

It turned quite cool overnight and when we woke this morning there was freezing fog but the temperature was climbing quite rapidly as the sun rose in the sky. For a time we were sailing straight into it which made seeing some of the lock entrances when they were under a bridge a bit tricky.

First we went up the 5 Adderley Locks and by the time we hadDSCF0801done the first one the fog had all gone. I am not sure how big the boats were that used these locks to require a bollard like this?DSCF0803

The cold, damp air left some nice outlines in the cobwebs on the weather station.DSCF0805

We were to meet one boat today on the move, just before we got to Market Drayton, we hoped he had come down the Tyrley Locks but no, they were all against us as well. Just below Tyrley Locks someone has put a face on a tree, this has been here many years now, but someone has spruced him up for Christmas.DSCF0808

If anyone is looking for a canal side property then one of the houses at Tyrley Wharf is up for sale for £380,000

Today's Journeymap 08 5¼ miles, 10 locks in 3 hours.