Saturday 30 June 2018

Sutton Swing Bridge Saturday 30 June 2018

Boy it was warm yesterday evening, we had the doors open all evening and no lights until late to try and keep cool without the bugs getting us. Overnight we had the rear slide open in the bedroom and the louvers in the engine room side hatch so had a comfortable night and no problem with the mozzies.

This morning at 10am we walked down to the CRT office below the Anderton Lift visitor centre to see if we could get down the lift today, a good result, she took the details, asked where we were and said be on the holding quay at 1015 for a 1045 decent. It was actually just gone 11 when we went down as they were running late.

The locks on the River Weaver are running on a restricted time schedule to save water, but the level below the lift was spot on the mark and from the discharge from the chemical works opposite it looked like it had a reasonable flow going.DSCF1502

We headed downstream towards the ship canal. CRT have been dredging around the bottom of the lift as they now get a visit from the Daniel Adamson so need a bit more depth. All the dredging equipment was moored just before Winnington Swing Bridge.DSCF1504

As we went passed the Barnton Cut moorings we were overtaken by a wide beam boat and within a few minutes we both caught up with another wide beam. I rang Saltersford Lock to let them know we were on our way and he told me we would be going down on the 1230 locking which timed out just about right. It was then that a Lancaster Bomber flew over us, but as it crossed the canal I was too slow getting the camera out. We arrived at the lock and there was already a Narrowboat waiting and the lock gates still shut. For some reason the notice that CRT sent out on locking times said they are locking on the hour, every other hour, but in actual fact they are locking on the half hour every other hour.

The four of us tucked easily into the lock once the gates opened and spot on half past the top gates closed and we were going down. The Narrowboat beside us was a bit unusual in design with a high flared bow and a raised rear cabin area.DSCF1511

One of the wide beams stopped at Acton Bridge and the Narrowboat just before Dutton Lock. The gates were open on Dutton lock and it was dead on half past one. Good timing we thought, but no. We wouldn't be locking down until half two. So we all satin the lock for an hour before we were on our way again.
We could see clouds of dust on the offside bank a short way passed Devil's garden moorings, when we got closer we could see it was a convoy of quads out for the afternoon, Diana counted 15 of them.DSCF1547

We moored a short way before Sutton swing bridge on the last of the visitor moorings. We hadn't been here long when we heard the two tone sounder to indicate the bridge was about to open, after lots of grumbling and groaning from the bridge as it swung back there were two toots on a steam horn as the Daniel Adamson came up the river.DSCF1550

Today's Journey 10 miles, 2 locks in 7¾ hoursmap 02

Friday 29 June 2018

Anderton Friday 29 June 2018

As you have probably guessed already we are back on the boat. We didn't have to bad a trip from home but had to go round Papworth as the A14 was closed, luckily the report came on the radio just before we got to the junction so were able to avoid it.

I am trying something new in the Blog for this trip and the bottom map will be for all the ground we have covered this trip. I will crop it so that it shows the days travel as closely as possible but clicking it will take you to the full map. I would appreciate feedback later in the week as to what you think of it.

Anyway we set off in the heat at about 3 30 this after noon heading towards Anderton, The weather station on the roof was indicating 30°C which I found a bit hot so we pulled over for a couple of hours and moored in the shade just before bridge 192. By 6pm things were feeling much better so we set off again, one thing we noticed was that a lot of the boats that were permanently moored just before the salt Museum have gone, I had always wondered if they were long term moorings or just squatters on visitor moorings. We made our way to Anderton to moor just before the lift. I understand it went wrong again, but we may try to get down on the river tomorrow as I would like to see the damage at Marsh Lock for myself.

Today's Journey 5 miles in 2 hours.Map 01

Monday 11 June 2018

Back Home Monday June 11 2018

We woke up this morning with our feet higher than our heads, the pound had gone down overnight so we were aground. So on with boots and shorts for a trip outside to loosen the ropes and push us out, at least now the show water would drain.
We decided to move off as soon as we were showered and dressed then have breakfast below the lock, it was a good decision as the water was going down again, this time due to two boats coming up in Big Lock, one was Periwinkle who sells that lovely sheep's cheese I have been going on about, I sent Gill an email and ordered some more, so it was convenient meeting there.

We dropped down the lock and stopped for breakfast on the visitor moorings by the winding hole, As I came in Diana spotted a wheelbarrow in the canal where the bows were coming in, so that was retrieved and returned to the building site near by.

As we made our way back to the marina we met Mountbatten towing Jericho, they had been at The Lion salt works for the weekend.DSCF1488

If the number of flowers are anything to go by we should have a good crop of Blackberries by the canal this year.DSCF1491

Back at the marina we had to do a bit of boat shuffling as our mooring space had shrunk while we were away, it only involved moving a cruiser along about 6 feet. The marina is starting to fill up now and is over half full. Once moored it was a case of packing up, loading the car and heading home. It was then that we heard on the radio there was a hold up on the M6 with a broken down vehicle between 16 and 17, the traffic was backed up way past 18 where we should join and all the way round the roundabout trying to get on so we carried on to the A50, A500 and joined a few junctions lower.This trip we have been out for 57 night,covered 444 miles and been through 242 locks.

Today's Journey map 544½ Miles, 1 Lock in 2½ hours

Sunday 10 June 2018

Middlewich Sunday 10 June 2018

First task today was to dorbing grey paint over the red oxide, I did give it a light sanding first. As I was working away I heard this rumble on the bridge ahead and looked up to see probably a steam roller towing a living wagon.DSCN2905 Even at 10 am the steel was really to warm for painting and by the time I had finished at 1030 the first bit was quite touch dry.

Once finished we set off up Wheelock bottom lock as that is the nearest place to wind only to come straight back down again, we didn't even need to close the top gate. The canal has been quite busy today which is good as it meant that most of the locks were with us.
The old bicycle left by the wall was gone this morning but there were another pile just through the bridge, we saw 3 chaps with magnets arrive yesterday as we left Barchetta so they caught a few bits and pieces.DSCF1473

By the new housing estate at Sandbach a water course has appeared draining into the canal, the yellow material is an attempt to catch any floating pollutants. I wonder how long its been hidden for?DSCF1477

As we approached Middlewich our lock luck changed as we caught up with a boat who left Wheelock just before us, on the offside of the canal the Honeysuckle is in full bloom.DSCF1480

As we approached Kings Lock Diana went ahead to set it so I could go straight into the lock after negotiating the sunken boat,DSCF1483 below Kings lock the levels were well down with some of the moored boats well aground. As you can see there is nothing on the junction to indicate that Wardle Lock and the Middlewich Branch are closed.DSCF1485

Levels today were lower then yesterday and I slithered under the bridge 169 and say in the lock mouth at the top of the Middlewich flight not wishing to ground out near the side. The level in the pounds of the Middlewich flight were much better than yesterday and we got through without letting water down. There were loads of empty moorings above Big Lock due to the mooring restrictions for the festival, the small print says its effective from the 11th. tomorrow.DSCF1486Once we were moored up a put a second coat of grey paint over this mornings efforts but there are rather a lot of bits floating around in the air here as we are almost under trees.

Today's Journey map 537 miles, 9 locks in 4¾ hours.

Saturday 9 June 2018

Wheelock Saturday 9 June 2018

First job this morning was to get a coat of red oxide paint onto the area I treated yesterday before setting off to Middlewich.

Some time ago I commented that the concrete bank was so low at Croxton that water lapped over it. To overcome this problem CRT have bolted a wooden batten to the top of the wall to raise it a couple of inches.DSCF1464

Approaching Big Lock there are boats moored each side in readiness for the festival next weekend. I could see a single boat in the lock so a couple of blasts on the horn were required to stop the bottom gates fully closing and allowing us in to share, they very kindly invited us to leave first. The Middlewich locks were against us and the pounds all low. They were so low that Diana had to let water down from the top for me to get out of the middle one.

Middlewich Narrowboats is still all shut up with no sign of new tenants.
Even the pound up to Kings lock was down a bit and I grounded passing under Middlewich Junction bridge. I did consider turning towards Wardle Lock to moor up for a couple of hours, I expected a notice on the bridge saying its closed, but nothing, just a locked up lock. I wonder how many boats have turned into there?  We carried on up Kings Lock and round the burnt out sunken boat, I understand they are planning to pull this out Monday. You can just see the orange mesh beyond the lock.DSCF1465

We moored above Kings Lock and walked back to Wardle Lock and up the Middlewich Branch to a garden party to raise funds for the Middlewich Arm breach repair.DSCN2903

We returned to the boat and continued our journey up the canal, our destination being Wheelock where we have a table booked at Barchetta.

Just above Rumps Lock CRT are renewing the edging at the lock moorings where it has crumbled away.DSCF1466We met a few boats as we made our way up the three Booth Lane Locks which resulted in one being completely in our favour, one totally against us and one half and half so not bad really. Just above Booth Lane Top Lock there is another sunken boat on the offside, but this one is well out of the way and is turned turtle.DSCF1469

Then of course we met a boat at a bridge hole but I saw them in plenty of time, it turned out to be Kay on the Oat Cake boat making her way to the Middlewich Festival.DSCF1470

When we arrived at Wheelock

When we arrived at Wheelock we could see that the magnet fisher people have been here with the remains of this old bike being left against the wall.DSCF1471It looked as if all the visitor moorings in the village were taken and that we would have to go up a lock, wind, come back down and moor on pins below the village, but there was just one space at the top end which is a bit close to a noisy road bridge. In the row of boats moored here we found Flavours Afloat a boat that sells coffee who are also on their way to Middlewich.

Today's Journey map 528¼ Miles, 8 locks in 4½ hours

Friday 8 June 2018

Bostock Green Friday 8 June 2018

All set for our normal 10am start when Diana reminded me of the tunnel time at Saltersford, we missed it by 5 minutes, but used the delay to scrape some of the rusting paint from the roof. More of that later. Only one boat came through the tunnel in the opposite direction while we waited, but nb. Squirrel caught up behind. We have seen him several times, sharing locks on the L&L and mooring behind him at Lymm. On the way to the tunnel we met Bruce and Sheila on Sanity Again who we have not seen for some time. Half past eleven and we were on our way into the darkness. Barnton tunnel which is the same length but much straighter is a free for all, first come first served, only in this case there was a boat just about to pop out as we arrived. What makes it a bit awkward is there is a sharp bend right at the mouth and you can't see into the tunnel until you take the bend.

From here we had a clear run past the Anderton Boat Lift and on to the Lion Salt Works, this weekend they have a transport event on so all the moorings outside the museum are reserved for historic craft.DSCF1451

A little further on we met Richard on the fuel boat Mountbatten as he headed to join the others. As we passed he warned me that the fire brigade were drawing water from the canal but we could pass with care.DSCF1452

It turned out that there had been a fire at the Tata Chemical works and the fire brigade had set a pump up on the bridge to feed their pumps, we did get by on the second attempt, we went hard aground on the first.DSCF1455

When we reached Park Farm marina we pulled in to unload some of the stuff to the car, like the old engine oil etc and then set off again towards Middlewich as a friend is holding a coffee morning there tomorrow in support of the Middlewich Branch breach.
The new Oakwood Marina is coming along nicely and there are now 4 boats moored there with all the jetties completed.DSCF1459

We didn't want to go right into Middlewich this evening so moored opposite Bramble Cuttings for the night, I then set to sanding down some of the rusty roof, only some. Needles to say I was half way through treating the areas with a rust converter when it started to rain, so that was finished after tea when the weather improved again.

Today's Journey map 5113 miles in 5¼ hours.

Thursday 7 June 2018

Dutton Breach Thursday 7 June 2018

10-30 before we were away this morning and a gentle run for about an hour when we moored at Thelwall Underbridge. On our way we passed this un-powered Narrowboat that has recently been raised,DSCF1438she has been sunk all the time we have used the Bridgewater

From Thelwall Underbridge we walked down to the ferry at Thelwall, this takes you across the Manchester Ship canal for 11p but only runs limited hours morning, mid day and tea time. DSCN2899The Ferry Mans hut is still there and has a wing mirror mounted in it so he can see across the canal from his seat.DSCN2898The ferry is now an aluminium craft which is propelled by a single scull over the stern.All in all a very peaceful spot in the late morning sun.

Thelwall claims it was a City formed in 923 by King Edward the Elder and that is written on the end of the pub, so must be true. Kying Edwarde made a City at Thelewall.

Back to the boat and we were away again and about a mile from Stockton Heath we started to catch up with a hire boat with 6 Norwegians onboard, as I was stopping at Thorne Marine for diesel I eased back, mistake, they stopped at Thorne Marine to fill with water, so we moored under the bridge behind them for half an hour. While we were there Buckden came by towing the fly boat Saturn. They were returning from Ellesmere Port by coming up the Manchester Ship Canal to Manchester then locking up to the Bridgewater Canal at Pomona Locks, due to the Breach on the Middlewich Branch and the out of action lock to the River Weaver. After out half hour wait we filled with diesel and ice cream before setting off again. As we approached the Science Park two horses were having a whale of a time in a potato field, the last I saw of them was them galloping through the Barley. I hope no harm comes to them. DSCF1445

At Waters Meeting it was hard right down the Runcorn Arm to fill with water, then reverse a couple of hundred yards to wind in the marina entrance before retracing our steps to the junction and stopping at Midland Chandlers for a new rubber washer for the diesel filler cap, they swell with the diesel and if they don't sit right you can get water in the fuel tank.

The window for travelling through Preston Brook Tunnel in the direction we were going is between half past and twenty to the hour. we arrived at about quarter to, so had three quarters of an hour wait until 5-30 pm. Once through the tunnel we carried on and moored at the site of Dutton Breach where I did an oil and filter change plus top up the batteries.

Today's Journeymap 50 13¼ miles, 1 lock in 7 hours.

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Lymm Wednesday 6 June 2018

As we walked over the foot bridge from the Trafford centre last night we could see the work going on to lay the Metro Line from the Trafford Centre to Manchester. No photos because we don't take a camera when we go out for dinner.

This morning we were a bit late getting away and there was a steady stream of Narrowboats coming towards us.

There is a lot of work going on at Parkway Bridge. This will be a new bridge for the Metro, I wonder if there will be a long stoppage to fit the deck on it.DSCF1427

Just before Waters Meeting there is the old Kellogg's arm, with a gate across it running into the factory yard.DSCF1428

At waters Meeting we turned right and still kept meeting boats.

One boat we passed was this very smart little craft from down on the River Weaver called Jacqueline, she looks in superb condition and a credit to her owner.DSCF1431

Work is still ongoing at the old Linotype Works but its impossible to see what they plan to do with the old gable ends, maybe the plans are on line somewhere.DSCF1432

This is one of the few canal where I could break the speed limit as like the narrower canals its only 4 MPH but the water is deep and wide enough for us to manage more than that.DSCF1435

We planned to moor in Lymm for the night but seeing the number of boats about wondered if we would get in. Thankfully there was a gap between the first and second boat just the right size for us, so no wasted spaces.
I thought as this blog was quite short I would include a short video that I recorded at the Trencherfield Mill steam engine.

Today's Journey map 4912½ miles in 4 hours

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Trafford Centre Tuesday 5 June 2018

Today was another stop start day, I thought I would start with a photo of the Bollards we were moored to last night.DSCF1412

Anyway off at 10 but only as far as Leigh where we stopped just before we went onto the Bridgewater to stock up at Aldi. There were quite a few boats there so we squeezed in between the last moored boat, sharing his ring and the bridge where I had to put a pin in.
I have often told boaters that they run their ropes wrong when mooring on pins, A lot do it like the first photo, which is wrong, it should be like the second.

DSCF1418  DSCF1419
This is the reason, I was just driving the pin in and the ring fell off, this is not uncommon as the steel in the ring changes composition when its welded and the action of hammering the pin can make them just fall of, the ring was not hit with a hammer at any time.DSCF1414

Shopping and lunch done and we were off again only to meet this coming towards a bridge hole, I held back but he waived me through first. There was a crew of two onboard and the dredger operator had to lower the boom down to the water to get under the bridge.DSCN2876

I have a feeling he may have collected a few stones from the boys sitting on the bridge. The other side of the bridge the trees hang quite low so it wouldn't have been pleasant for the steerer stood up there.DSCF1416

Our next stop was Astley Green where we visited the Mining Museum, unfortunately we were just to late to see the winding DSCN2878engine running, they run it on compressed air, not steam. The winding wheel we were told weighs in at 105 tons and is tapered to that the diameter gets smaller so drawing the cable slower for the same engine speed, lifting the cage at up to 30 mph.

In one of the buildings they have a very realistic but totally fake cottage.

DSCN2885   DSCN2884

The also have several battery powered trains, most of which are covered up.DSCN2879There is a wealth of stuff here but it needs a serious injection of cash and workers to get it all together.DSCN2892

Our visit complete, there was no charge, just donations, we were away again, this time heading for our overnight mooring at The Trafford Centre, I have never been for dinner in a shopping centre and being asked if we want to sit inside or outside, when its all inside a shopping complex. Of course to get there we had to cross DSCN2895the famous Barton Swing Aqueduct, thankfully there were no kids throwing stones and sweets at us this time.

Today's Journey map 4812¾ miles in 4½ hours.