Tuesday 31 July 2018

Croxton Flash Tuesday 31 July 2018

Not a bad run to the boat, we stopped for lunch at the services on the M6 toll road and ate at a place called Leon's then on to the boat, The water levels were down about 6" so the stern had slipped under the pontoon removing some paint from the gunwale in a couple of places.

It was quarter to five before we pushed off and headed towards Middlewich, there are quite a few more boats in the new marina now.DSCF0004

Our plan was to stop at Bramble Cuttings but there were three boats there already, next choice the rings just to the east on the towpath side but two boat there so we are on pins at the side of Croxton Flash.

Today's Journey 3¾ miles 1½ hoursmap 01

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Home moorings Wednesday 11 July 2018

Last night we were very surprised with the amount of noise we could hear from the motorway, this morning when we woke all we could hear was the planes heading into Liverpool. Another hot day as we winded and headed back to the marina, as we entered under the bridge Dave came to meet us and asked us to moor on the other side of the pontoon. It didn't take long to get things packed away into the car and head home. The M6 was fine but we had to divert on the A14 due to the road being blocked following a accident.

Today's Journeymap 13 1 mile in ¾ hour

The total trip this time we has gone 18 locks and over 100 mils but never been more than 15 miles from our starting point. map 14

Tuesday 10 July 2018

Whatcroft Flash Tuesday 10 July 2018

On the recommendation of a friend we ate at a small Indian restaurant called Relish Tandoori and had 2 very reasonably priced tasty meals at just under £12 each including coffee and when we paid the bill not only did we get a chocolate but also a small liquor of Baileys floated on top Tia Maria.

This morning boats were on the move so we set off at 9-30 and headed down to Anderton Lift to get on the first available coming up. By 10am we were going along the Trent and Mersey canal. The day started cooled but soon warmed up. The pastures the the sheep are on are all straw coloured apart from the weeds which look as strong as ever, the sheep were looking for a bit of coolness in the hedge bottoms.DSCF1791

We carried on past the boats that have been moored in the same spots for at least 3 months and past our marina. There are a few more boats in Oakwood marina now and I expect that will continue to fill as they bring the facilities on line.DSCF1793

We have moored just before the start of the next flash against a nice section of concrete edging, it slopes a bit so the wheel barrow wheels are deployed to hold us out.

Today's Journey map 127¼ miles in 4 hours

Monday 9 July 2018

Northwich Monday 9 July 2018

A sort of back and forth day today, we used the last of the charcoal last night on the BBQ so must remember to bring some back next trip.

First thing the orange tug came by pushing one empty mud hopper upstream, then a short time later the blue tug "Northwich" came by pushing two empty hoppers up stream.DSCF1781

We had just let the ropes go when an open orange boat comes whizzing down the river and asked out intentions,DSCF1783 I said we were winding and going upstream so he asked if I would wait as they were towing a barge down and didn't really want to arrive with me across the river so I agreed to wait until they had gone. What came down was the orange tug, going backwards closely coupled to the barge with the dredger on it. The barge is fitted with two spud legs, both fully up and the furthest away one had white paint around it that looked like crack detection spray. We heard it had cracked a leg on Friday.DSCF1784

The other orange tug was following down behind, so that's the end of operations for a bit.

Once they were gone we turned and had a slow run up to Northwich mooring against the flood wall before walking into town to dispose of books and jigsaws at the Heart Foundation shop. Back on the boat we went up to just below Hunts lock and moored for lunch.

In the afternoon we went back down stream to the lift before returning to Northwich to moor for the night. The reason for the second run was a bit more battery charging time needed and I would rather cruise nowhere slowly than sit moored up with the engine running. It worked out well actually because while we were away some of the boats moved from the visitor mooring, so on our return we were able to get in and its easier getting on and off the boat here than at the flood wall .

Today's Journeymap 11 7 miles in 3 hours

Sunday 8 July 2018

Barnton Cut Sunday 8 July 2018

Off at quarter past ten this morning moments behind the boat moored ahead of us. A couple of groups of fishermen to pass who all seemed OK. Some were using poles and others ledgering so we were bound to go through some ones swim. I expected to see the boat ahead on the pub moorings at Winsford but there was no sign of them as we carried on to the tow quay to top up with water. After passing under the two bridges I could see they weren't in the basin, but we found them at the end of the river about to go into the basin, unfortunately they chose the wrong side and were soon aground, there is very little water on the island side but about 2 foot on the bank side, but they got off OK and we followed them in to use the water point.

As we left the quay I could see that they were sailing at the end of the flash so plenty of depth there if you can find your way up.DSCF1757

I wonder how long ago they levelled the town bridge up and how bad it was when they did it, if the did it in one shot it must have felt strange crossing it.DSCF1758

A little way down the river we came up behind these paddle boards and inflatable canoe, shall we say they didn't make things easy for me even though I finally got past them on tickover.DSCF1761

The water level at this end of the river is still the same as last week at about 200mm down on when we usually visit and there is no noticeable flow at all. We chugged slowly down to the lock holding pontoon and rang the lock keeper to tell him we were there, turned out he would be working the lock in half an hour with another boat going down. When the hire boat went by we slipped off behind it and went into the lock beside them, they only came on the river this morning and were going back up onto the canal this afternoon. The reason for the locking time soon became obvious, the lock was already full but a boat wanted to come up on the 1330 locking, so the lock had to be emptied for them and we went down with it. We then both carried on to Hunts which was also still full and dropped down so two more could go it.

We carried on towards Northwich town just stopping to dump the rubbish and watch some interesting dingy skills being performed.DSCF1771

We fancied a BBQ again tonight so were looking for somewhere out of the way to moor, the Pontoon at Anderton was almost empty but not the best place to set a BBQ up so we carried on to Barnton Cut visitor moorings which were full. The good thing about this river its wide enough to turn anywhere, you don't need a winding hole, so it was back upstream about quarter of a mile and moor there.

Today's Journey

map 1010 miles, 2 locks in 5 hours

Saturday 7 July 2018

Vale Royal Saturday7 July 2018

Lovely quiet mooring above Dutton Lock last night, there were a few rowers around this morning , but not noisy like the one from Runcorn. We set off at 10 as Saltersford lock was due to lock up at 11-30 so a nice steady run saw us there in good time, there was a cruiser waiting who thought it was earlier as he had a lift booking today, so when the lock was full we let him out first. No dredging operations today so the lock was working to time. On the subject of dredging I said the other day that they have just got another small tug from Ipswich so they don't have to keep swinging Winnington Bridge, well the new tug is fitted with a wheelhouse that is about 500mm taller than the original tug, so it still wont fit under the bridge, I also heard that the dredger has broken down so all work is stopped for now.

The Weaver down this end has a nice covering of green algae in places, above Hunts lock its duck weed.DSCF1732

As we passed the Anderton Lift the ex tar boat Spey was on her way up, I hope they didn't insist she shuts her Bolinder engine down. Spey has been in Northwich Dry dock for a week doing a bit of work on her hull.DSCF1733

Anderton Lift were having a Pirates day so we stopped for a look, as we entered the visitor centre Spey was just making her way along the Trent and Mersey canal.DSCF1737

Down by the river at the visitor centre there was a display of firing flintlock pistols, a blunderbuss and a couple of Canons, demonstrating how they were muzzle loaded with powder and wad, but no shot or balls.DSCF1747

While we were moored up for lunch below the lift the Leeds and Liverpool Short Boat, Severn came by, these were built to fit the wide, shorter locks of the Leeds and Liverpool canal between Leeds and Wigan.DSCF1748

After lunch we mowed upstream through Hunts lock. For some reason the lock are operating on the half hour at weekends but on the hour during the week, maybe its just to confuse people. As we entered the lock I noticed this little box just at towpath level.DSCF1749

Once clear of Hunts it was on up to Vale Royal where the gate was open ready for us. They have made good progress with the bridge with the swinging mechanism fitted and working but still have the decking and final painting to do. We only went about half a mile above the locks to moor for the night on the Vale Royal visitor moorings.

Today's Journeymap 09 9½ miles, 3 locks in 4 hours

Friday 6 July 2018

Dutton Lock Friday 6 July 2018

Last night after we had eaten our BBQ it was too cool to stay outside with the wind coming straight across the Mersey but the clouds did make so nice patterns with the sunset, I don't think digital cameras show the colours to truly, ether wishy or to bright.DSCF1699

This morning the wind had died down a lot and moved round a few degrees. We spent a bit of time wandering around the lock, DSCF1722I wonder if boats leaving the lock have to leave this dolphin to port, and what is the structure on top of it?DSCF1703

On the land the other side of the lock its a haven for Butterflies, we saw several varieties but only manage to photo 3 and some caterpillars.



DSCF1718 DSCF1712

At one time the locks were operated by large rotary switches that click in four positions they are similar to a tram controller to look at but I suspect they work differently.DSCF1704

It was very quiet moored in the lock, much quieter than on the floating mooring platform outside on the river.DSCF1723

We headed off upstream at 10am. Yesterday the Daniel Adamson had told me they were leaving at 11 so the waterpoint would be free, however when we arrived she was still there so we moored on the end of the visitor mooring and took a walk into Frodsham partaking lunch in the pub before returning to the boat in the heat, Daniel Adamson was still there.
Before departing we decided to put the Bimini up over the slide, I wish I had done it days ago. I only just found out you can buy them on line, we made ours. It was just three o'clock when we left and my letter said that Dutton lock last up was 4pm, As we approached Dutton viaduct there is a concrete distance marker, most of these have had the arm and numbers broken off, but this is one of the few intact and as you can see the Heron was making good use of it.DSCF1728 I thought we should just make the lock for 4 pm and we did, drawing onto the lock moorings at five to four. Only thing was the lock keeper was working up on the odd hour so had lifted boats at 3 pm but he would be doing the last locking at 5 pm which was fine. There is a water point below Dutton lock and it must be the slowest ever, the tank was filling for the whole hour and we were only half empty. Diana picked some black cherries from the far side of the lock while me and the lock keeper put the world right under the shade of the apple tree. Once through the lock we moored for the night just above it.

Today’s Journeymap 086½ Miles, 1 Lock in 3¼ Hours

Thursday 5 July 2018

Marsh Lock Thursday 5 July 2018

This morning the two tugs crossed right beside our boat, this gave me a slight stability problem as I was having a wee at the time. By twenty to ten the next full one was coming back down stream, soDSCF1671we set off behind it, knowing that they would work the lock for it. You can see they don't slow much for passing boats.DSCF1670

As we arrived at the lock it was waiting by the top gates and the empty hopper was being pushed upstream there were also two cruisers waiting to go down. One of the things I noticed which I hadn't spotted before was the small orange push tug comes from Ipswich, when we got down to Acton Bridge there was a second orange one, a sister ship which I think they had just launched as there was a crane parked beside the river. This would make sense as they have to swing Winnington Bridge every time for the CRT tug but the orange ones from Ipswich can get under it OK.DSCF1623

Just above Sutton Bridge there is a lot of activity at the weir, but I don't know what, there is now a large caravan, container and several tented structures there.DSCF1673

Us and the two cruisers made our way slowly towards Dutton Lock. CRT have not really thought out their lock timings with Dutton and Saltersford both on the same hour. This means if you drop through Saltersford at 10 am and cruise at a reasonable speed down to Dutton you arrive there just before 11 am. but Dutton only locks down at 10 and 12 in the morning so its an hour wait. The same thing coming up, 50 minute journey followed by an hour and ten minute wait. If they had staggered the times by an hour it would have made much more sense.

Passing the rowing club a group of disabled people were taking to the water for a canoe outing, not a responsibility I would relish.DSCF1677

We planned to moor by Marsh Lock for the night but when we arrived there was already a boat on the moorings, so I have moored in the lock, I hope they don't close the top gates overnight! DSCF1689The top gate is fully open so you can see how big a kink there is in the top beam, here is a close up of the damage.DSCF1688

When we were down here at the weekend the broken top gate was in the closed position, when we arrived to day its fully open.DSCF1679

Another thing I didn't notice last time I was here was the bunch of artificial flowers that someone has put on the jetty, don't think I would venture out there.DSCF1682

Today's journeymap 07 2 Locks 10 miles in 4 hours.

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Barnton Cut Moorings Wednesday 4 July 2018

We set off at 10 am as Vale Royal was due to lock down at 11 I thought. There wasn't a breath of wind but not to hot as can be seen from the reflections of the Salt Union tower. DSCF1659

The cows were out on the meadow and the tow path this morning, I wonder if they jump out of the way for cyclists?DSCF1661
The level at Newbridge looked the same and I rang Vail Royal to say I was on my way only to be told locking down was at mid day and also there was ongoing work replacing the bridge over the lock.
Looking at the amount being spent here on ground work, let alone the cost of the homes themselves there must be a lot of money in river side dwellings.DSCF1647

We pulled in above Vale Royal lock and walked down to see what was happening. The refurbished bridge was swung across the lock and they were trying to align the new pinion that swings the bridge, but it was too far from the rack. DSCF1664
We chatted to the lock keeper and as there was a boat coming up the chaps had to swing the bridge and stop work so they told us to lock down straight after it so the chaps wouldn't be disturbed again in an hours time to let us down.DSCF1667

Apart from the side rails most of the bridge is new steel but the old winding gear will be refitted. Once its done the lock keepers will have to open it for every locking.

Hunts lock was ready for us when we arrived, there is still water flowing over the sluices there. That's just as well because Saltersford lock had 36 lockings yesterday as the dredgings are take down stream for deposal.

We stopped by Northwich Dry Dock to have a chat with Matt about having the boat blacked next spring. The bostocks in the dock are high enough to clean and paint the base plate and they use a very high pressure lance to clean the hull off before painting. We then carried on down stream to moor at Barnton Cut visitor moorings, it wouldn't do for the pass on tick-over brigade to moor here as every half hour a tug pushes a mud hopper past, one way full and one way empty, no they don't pass at tick-over.

Since we have been here we have also had a group of canoeists go by, When the person in the back of the lead canoe stops paddling to answer the phone the effect on the flotilla is interesting as the one behind touches the stern of the one in front and boats started going in all directions.DSCF1669

Today's Journey map 067½ miles, 2 Locks in 3 Hours