Thursday 23 August 2018

Park Farm Thursday 23 August 2018

The rain had stopped by this morning and at 9am we were on our way back to Park Farm. All the regular boats are moored back at the Salt Barge.
There is a strange craft moored at Wincham Wharf it looks as if its specifically designed for bank sheet piling.DSCF0299

A couple of hours latter we were back on our mooring and time to pack things away until the next time.

Today's Journeymap 24 4¾ miles in 2 hours

We have been out for 24 days in that time we have covered 233 miles and done 185 locksIMG_0254

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Anderton Wednesday 22 August 2018

This is the result of yesterday afternoon weed hatch examination.DSCF0287In the evening we all went for an Italian Meal at Barchetta's to round the trip off.

This morning we were on the move at quarter to nine, a short time before a boat moored a short way behind us, but it was obvious he was travelling faster than us so we pulled over to let him pass, we still had to wait for him at the Middlewich Locks.

The old ice breaker Shackleton is looking very poorly and is probably on the bottom.DSCF0289We carried on to Middlewich having only met a few boats and most of them were in bridge holes. I don't remember the salt mountain being this large in the past when we passed but them maybe it was obscured by something.DSCF0290

There were boats coming up the Middlewich locks and we only had to turn the bottom one, there was just one lone Volockie on the middle lock.

While waiting for the top lock to fill with a boat coming up I took the opportunity to have a closer look at the stepped seat, I must say I quite like it.DSCF0294

With only 4 boats legitimately moored in Middlewich 2 hire boats still found it necessary to moor on the water point and the lock moorings at big lock and leave their boats. We had to turn big lock and by the time we were going we had a hire boat join us so not that much water wasted.

As we passed the new Oakwood Marina we could see there are yet more boats in residence, the ground work is coming on well with tables and chairs set out on the patio.DSCF0295

After having 3 onboard for three weeks we were in need of having the toilet holding tank emptied so we decided to carry on to Anderton and get a pump out at Anderton Marina, not only are they cheaper than the CRT diy ones but I can be sure it will work and a man does it for me.

We moored for the night opposite Anderton Marina, this means we have a 2 hour run in the morning to put a bit back into the batteries before we leave the boat once more. As luck would have it we just moored up before the rain started.

Today's Journeymap 23 16 miles, 9 locks in 8 hours

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Wheelock Tuesday 21 August 2018

I would estimate there were 100 Canada Geese on the moorings this morning, you have heard of getting your ducks in a row, well here are the geese in a row.DSCF0275

We left the moorings at 7-20 and arrived at the tunnel 25 minutes later, there were already 2 boats waiting. We expected to be the second convoy as a Black Prince had turned up at the other end to late for a passage yesterday so they told him to be back by 8 and he would be first through, he has not been seen since. We went through at a reasonable rate but I couldn't see the boat in front only a stern light from the lead boat every now and then, so I dropped back a bit and was 300 mt behind when the second one exited. It was still under 40 minutes.

We filled with water at the CRT offices at Red Bull but I see the pumpout is still out of action. Just as we were about to leave after filling with water the boat ahead set off, but by the third lock we were well ahead and after that met boats at most locks.

I knew that the Lawton Locks were not on the original line but I didn't know what the two large stone gateposts were for by the top lock. I have now been told that this was the entrance to the Smithy and Joiners Workshop that were hear when the original line was in use and that the smaller two were the drive to a house by the old locks.DSCF0278

We stopped for lunch at Hassall Green, there is a lot of activity at the old Romping Donkey public house, this is a listed building that has been under threat for many years. I photograph it every time I pass.DSCF0280

We pushed on down towards our mooring for the night at Wheelock, just below Saw Pit lock there is a freshly painted bench with a brass plaque on it, should make an interesting seat by the lock moorings.DSCF0283

On the wall of the house between the two Wheelock locks there is a DSCF0286long pole at one end there is a turned knob, but at the other is a metal angled tool that looks as spike and a thick blade.DSCF0285

It was half three before we arrived at the Wheelock visitor moorings, I expected to find them full, but there is hardly anybody here.

Today's Journey map 2210 miles, 26 locks in 7¼ hours

Monday 20 August 2018

Westport Lake Monday 20 August 2018

Diana and Brian headed to Morrison's this morning while I set to on some more of the rust patches on the roof. When they left and I started in was blue sky and sunshine, within 20 minuets it was drizzling. As soon as they returned we set off up the lock and through the low pounds. Passing the houses on the right hand side above Whitebridge lane bridge I spotted this Triumph Duncan in the garden. I had to look it up to find out what it was.DSCF0260

We met boats at most of the locks today, some helped our travel and some hindered it. Above Meaford Top Lock levels were back to normal thank goodness. As we entered Meaford Bottom Lock I spotted this notice on the offside bank, I am not sure if its an official CRT notice or not.DSCF0263

I think this is an old boundary Stone, but I am not sure, its between the towing path and houses at Barlaston .DSCF0264

I didn't notice these bits of rope trapped between the coping stones in Trentham lock before, I would thing it was a centre rope catching as a boat was going down, I hope there was enough slack for the lock to empty without hanging the boat up, its well pulled in.DSCF0266A bit further along the lock there is a second one.DSCF0267

At Johnson's Lock there were two Volockies helping boats through, they could have done with 4 for some of the boats they were dealing with. The one leaving Johnson's told me to wait as there was a boat following them down. One of the Volockies recognised me as he reads my blog from time to time, last time our paths crossed it was in Stone.DSCF0272DSCF0270

For some reason CRT have ban mooring in the area of Middleport Pottery, I dont know why as there are no crowds about overnight and its a good overnight mooring. I got a slightly better picture of the poppies today.DSCF0274

We were hoping to get through Harecastle tunnel tonight but time was slipping away 1630 is the latest arrival for a guaranteed passage and at 1630 we were at Westport Lake, coming towards us was a flotilla of boats, some with headlights on so they had obviously exited the tunnel and the ones in our direction would be on there way through, so it would be very unlikely we would get a passage tonight so we moored at the lake.

Today's Journey map 2111½ Miles 11 Locks in 6 hours

Sunday 19 August 2018

Stone Sunday 19 August 2018

We set off at 9AM this morning in a fine drizzle, our target being Great Haywood to swap Grandsons out. Came out of the junction onto the T&M to take water, while it was filling I looked for a mooring. Luckily I bumped into the secretary of the Cutweb boat club who was about to leave, so we were able to swap places, it meant reversing back about 8 boat lengths but no wind or traffic.

We swapped the Grandsons over at the canal side Cafe by bridge 74 and after a coffee we set off towards Stone with Brian onboard again.
At Wychdon there has been a planning request for a new marina, it was a bit controversial as it is on the edge of a SSSI but from this notice on site, which is almost legible it looks as if it was passed, but maybe some people still object.DSCF0254

Just through bridge 80 at Western there was a boat moored towpath side, and when I say just through I mean just. any further back and he would be under the bridge, the cottage opposite has just hosted a wedding, we rather liked the marquee.DSCF0256

Just above Aston lock there is a steel Narrowboat moored with a small outboard engine for propulsion.DSCF0259

We were hoping to moor just below Star Lock at Stone, no chance, boats were moored way back opposite the houses, I sailed passed them hoping there would be a spot on the 48 hr ones, but nothing. Likewise between Star and Yard locks, although if two boats had moored more thoughtfully I would have got in by the carpark, but I couldn't be bothered to discuss it with 2 of them. Above Yard all moorings are private but a chap did say I would be OK in front of the Chandlery as they didn't open until 9AM but as we need a bit of shopping we pushed on. We finally moored in almost the same spot as we did coming down between Newcastle and Lime Kiln Locks.

Today's Journeymap 20 11¾ miles, 7 locks in 6¾ Hours.

Saturday 18 August 2018

Tixall Saturday 18 August 2018

I thought I would show you haw we have been passing our evenings, a canal game.DSCF0223

This morning it was off at 10 Am on an overcast day when we got to Longford Lock Diana and George spotted something behind the hedge, it turned out to be a goat farm. Not the most common of things.DSCF0228

Lady Hatherton is looking very smart in her shed at Teddesley what little I could see of her.DSCF0233DSCF0235

Teddesley boats is now the home of Bourne Boat Building and looked quite busy.DSCF0237

Just below Deptmore Lock there is a good flow of water leaving the canal into an adjacent ditch, an email is on the way to CRT.DSCF0242

Last time we were this way they had carried out some very heavy pruning to the trees in front of the mobile home park, it looks as if they may have over done things wit a couple of the trees at least.DSCF0245Down at Tixall Lock there is a notice on the lock beam warning of Leafcutter Bees that are living in the beam. pity they didn't mend the paddle when the put the notices up.DSCF0247

I guessed that Tixall Wide would be packed at 5 30 on an August Saturday evening so we moored about mid way between the wide and the lock finishing the week with a BBQ

Today's Journeymap 19 9¼ miles, 6 Locks in 5¼ hours

Friday 17 August 2018

Cross Key Penkridge Friday 17 August 2018

Lazy start this morning as it was an easy day, off at 10 and a hard left at Autherley Junction up to the water point. DSCF0203

By the time we had finished taking water there were boats everywhere and I wanted back down the lock to the Staffs and Worc, "Backwards"

It was then a steady run until we stopped for lunch at Coven. The Cub at the marina looks all closed up and I can't see how a passing boater would get there.

One thing I have noticed along this stretch of canal are these posts where culverts run under the canal.DSCF0217

We continued on to moor for the night by the Cross Keys. Shortly before we arrived we passed this bridge that will need some

DSCF0220   DSCF0221

serious attention in the near future and these lock moorings that are unusable.DSCF0219

Today's Journey map 1810¾ miles 6 locks in 5¾ hours

Thursday 16 August 2018

Autherley Junction Thursday 16 August 2018

As expected our mooring last night was very peaceful apart from the sound of the rain on the roof, thankfully this stopped about 7am and by ten to nine we were on our way to Wolverhampton through Coseley Tunnel.DSCF0190

We only met one boat all the way to Wolverhampton and after stopping at the services we started the flight.DSCN3383 The top lock was against us but there was a boat coming up in the second, so that hopefully put the rest in our favour. George was well into the swing of the anti vandal locks with his key hooked onto hisDSCF0196 lifejacket. Things were going well until I left lock 10 and George couldn't shut the nearside bottom gate, so I stopped under the bridge to give him a hand, still no luck so back on the boat, back up to the gate and fish with the boat hook. This is what I retrieved from the cill.DSCF0198

Half way down the flight and the locks were all against us until we met another boat at 16, when we dropped down through lock 16 the pound below was very low, The edge was still very wet so a recent water loss, rather than letting water down I bumbled alongDSCF0200the channel while Diana walked ahead to make sure the paddles were all down on 17. When she arrived everything was in order but the lock was empty and as a boat was approaching from below her and George helped them up. Unfortunately the oncoming boat drew a couple more inches of water than I did and after filling the lock we were unable to pass each other, so sat locked together in mid channel while our crews walked up to 16 to let down more water. Talking to the other boater he had not met anyone, so the water loss and empty lock remain a mystery. To add to the conundrum we had actually met a CRT chap earlier who was checking the flight and he had walked back down to his van. The rest of the flight was on weir so no problem and we met no more boats. The flight took us exactly 3 hours.

Once on the Staffs and Worce Canal we turned right and moored opposite Oxley Marina for the night.

Since we have been here George has caught the first fish of the trip.DSCN3390

Today's Journey map 177¾ miles, 21 locks in 5½ hours