Sunday 28 October 2018

Home Moorings Sunday 28 October 2018

Our reason for getting back to Anderton yesterday was the fire work display that CRT were putting on on the river. It cost £6 per head to go into the visitor centre grounds to watch them and well worth the money. I wouldn't like to estimate how many people were there but they had to delay the start as people were still coming in at 8pm.

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When we went to bed we didn't change the bedroom clock so this morning we got up at our usual time and were on the move at 9am new time.

It was a bright sunny morning as we made our way back to our home moorings but a bit on the cool side. Once moored up it was load the car up with stuff to bring home, by now there were some rather black clouds gathering but we completed the task in the dry and a little after 12 o'clock were on our way home.

Today's Journeymap 13 5 miles in 2¾ hours.

This trip we have done 112 miles IMG_0256

Saturday 27 October 2018

Anderton Saturday 27 October 2018

After seeing the forecast last night we left the stove alight all night, good move the grass was white this morning. We set off a little before 10am to arrive at Preston Brook Tunnel for 10-30am. A boat came out of the tunnel dead on 10-30am so he was ether very slow or a little late on entering. It took us just 13 minutes to cruise through slowly.
The sun was pleasant although the air was cold, just before Saltersford tunnel we bumped into Andrew Denny, well not literally but we did stop for a chat.
Arriving at the mouth of the tunnel we had quarter of an hours wait before we could make a passage, then onto Barnton tunnel, this one is not timed, if its clear through you go and it was. By now it was quite sunny and we carried on to the 24 hour moorings by Anderton lift where we found a space about 100 feet long, so no problem getting in and leaving a space for a little one. The boat behind us are also members of the Cutweb Internet Boat Club.
Since we have been moored here the wind has picked up quite a bit, lets hope it stays fine for tonight's fireworks.

Today's Journeymap 12 9 miles, 1 lock in 3¼ hours

Friday 26 October 2018

Daresbury Friday 26 October 2018

Last night it rained quite a bit, so with that the planes going over it was bit of a broken night. This morning we waited until the rain stopped at about 10-30 am before setting off, by then there wasn't a drop of wind.DSCF0513

It wasn't long before we passed this length of burnt out hedgerow, it may have been vandalism or a case of someone dropping hot ash from the fire in the base of the hedge from a boat. If you do put your ash in the base of the hedge please take care.DSCF0516

At one point the sky turned very dark and we heard what sounded like a large clap of thunder but it was some time before the rain arrived with us and when it did it didn't last long.DSCF0515

The Bridgewater company have been improving some of the off side long term mooring in Grappenhall but it looks as if the work has finished now as we met these two barges, one towing the other near Pickering's Bridge.DSCF0520

The Bridgewater's method of cutting the towpath edge looks a lot more efficient than CRT's use of strimmers, but then again they don't have so many moored boats to contend with and belongings all over the towpath.DSCF0525

I saw this notice on a lamp post on the towpath and it set me wondering what is allowed on the Bridgewater Canal.

We carried on for a bit and then moored almost opposite the end of the Daresbury Science Park where hopefully the woodland will screen us from the noise of the A56.

Today's Journeymap 11 12 miles in 3¾ hours.

Thursday 25 October 2018

Dunham Massey Thursday 25 October 2018

Last night it was just a 15 minute walk up the Golf Club where the talk about the underground canals was taking place, when we arrived they were putting extra seats in the meeting room and by
7-30pm I estimated there were about 150 people in the room and they turned another 40+ away, so we were lucky to get in.
The talk was very interesting with some photos of the underground canals but it was mainly about mining in the area, at the end it covered what the restoration/conversation plans are for the Delph, which can be seen HERE. I am sure it will look very pretty.
This morning we took a walk round the Delph to see the ongoing works and I took several photographs that can be viewed HERE in my Dropbox. Behind the yellow digger there is a large square of concrete. When they where clearing the site they discovered a short tunnel in the brick wall. It is thought that the tunnel was to carry coal on a horse wagon straight to the corn mill that burnt 8 tons a day to drive the steam engine. As the tunnel is in the way of the new viewing platform they concreted it up and it will be hidden for ever.

We pushed off at 1050hrs heading back to Anderton the weather felt slightly warmer than yesterday but it kept trying to rain. As we crossed the swing aqueduct I was able to get a photograph of the vertical lift bridge that collapsed in 2016 closing the canal. In the background is the M60 high level crossing and in the foreground the Barton swing road bridge.DSCF0505The Manchester News has a video of it falling.

As I posted the other day there is a new Metro Bridge across the canal that will take the line to the Trafford centre. Although I didnt see anything about a navigation closure they did shut the towpath for a few days in September. The new bridge is about 2 metersDSCF0510from the A5181 road bridge and as the work effects the road they have a warning notice with the outline of a steam train.

A short halt was required to remove some polly and fishing line from the prop shaft. It also highlighted that I need to put a new seal on the weed hatch lid as this one has started leaking. Its surprising how a bit of rubbish round the shaft effects the performance of the prop. Once clear it was full speed ahead to our mooring for the night at Dunham Massey, There are just two mooring rings here if you know where to look for them. Here is a clue from Waterways Routes digital map.WW Map

Once moored I took the opportunity to put a new seal on the weed hatch lid. The closed cell foam that I have at the moment is not as good as what I have used in the past and is not giving very good service at all.

Today's Journey map 1012 miles in 3¾ hours

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Worsley Wednesday 24 October 2018

Although we were in Lymm we decided not to eat out but to have an Indian takeaway from Lymm Indian, that way we also saw the semi finals of Bake Off.

This morning we were away at half ten heading for Worsley with no locks ahead of us. We could hear a load buzzing when we setoff, the cause was obvious as we passed under the bridge with a Tree Surgeon working behind or above the houses.DSCF0448

Just after that we passed an old friend, the boat, not the people. I am sure some of you will recognise her.DSCF0449

There are a lot more houses on the old Linotype Works now. The main building with the name on is still standing as are the two gable ends of the other building, it will be interesting to see how they incorporate them into the development.

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One of the houses we passed was obviously getting into the mode for hallowing with these two looking out from the balcony keeping an eye on who would be trick of treating.DSCF0470

Near the Watch Tower Boat Club the canal had a large area of these plants growing which were still in flower, I expected them to be over by now.DSCF0473

We turned left at Waters Meeting heading towards Worsley on the Leigh Arm, last time we were this way they had just started laying the Metro track to the Trafford centre and I wondered if they would have a long navigation stoppage to put the bridge in to cross the canal, well it looks like they installed the bridge with no stoppage.DSCF0475

I have taken so many photos of the swing aqueduct I didn't bother with any today, but its looking very shabby and could do with a good coat of paint. When we arrived in Worsley I winded in the wide by the Delph but it seemed well sited up, not so much into the Delph but the main channel. There is a lot of work going on at the entrance to the old mine canals with a floating JCB dredging out the basin, maybe we will hear more about it tonight.DSCF0478

Once winded we filled with water and moored back just clear of the water point, the road is quite noise from here but hopefully it will ease off a but overnight.

Today's Journeymap 09 16 miles in 4½ hours

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Lymm Tuesday 23 October 2018

Today's plan was to start a little later at twenty past ten to arrive at Preston Brook Tunnel for the 11 o'clock passage which worked well, there was probably about 30mm drop on Dutton Lock and I could open the gates without drawing a paddle. This just left us a 5 minute wait before entering the tunnel.

We found the Bridgewater surprisingly busy and probably saw over 15 boats on the move. The weather was decidedly chilly today compared with what we have had but four ours latter saw us mooring for the night in Lymm. There were just 3 boats here when we arrived, one a day boat left shortly after we got here but now there are 8 of us moored here, almost as many as you find in the summer.

Today's Journey map 0812½ miles, 1 lock in 4 hours

Monday 22 October 2018

Dutton Breach Monday 22 October 2018

Last night two things happened, one we have a change of plan after seeing there is a talk in Worsley on Wednesday evening about the underground canals that served the mines there, so we are now on our way to The Bridgewater canal for about 4 days.

The second thing that happened was at about 9-30pm we moved about 200 yards towards Big Lock, the reason being what sounded like an air compressor cutting in for about 2 minutes in every 10, we guessed it would carry on like that all night so hence the move in the dark.

This morning we were away at 10am. down through Big Lock which was against us and heading towards Anderton. On the way we met a very attractive inspection launch, the Lady Hatherton dating from 1898 and still looking splendid.

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We stopped outside our marina while I did an oil and filter change before having a bit to eat. The reason for the location is if anything goes wrong I have the car available, not always possible with our cruising pattern. We were soon on our way again stopping at Anderton to fill with water and dump rubbish, both things are scarce on the Bridgewater canal. After filing with water we past another boat with a difference, not so old but steam powered, The Emily Anne.DSCF0430

We had to wait at Barnton Tunnel as a boat had just entered at the other end, its quite difficult to spot boats that far back but he gave a good blast on his horn and had twin headlamps. DSCF0436

Once he was clear we made our way through followed by a hire boat, I had just cleared the far end when I met another boat so was able to warn them that the tunnel was occupied. We arrived at the mouth of Saltersford Tunnel dead on 3pm. so sailed straight through. We have seen several Kingfishers today, ie more than 6, two I photographed, one on some railings who just sat and watched us and the boat behind pass and one that landed on a moored boat ahead of us.DSCF0439

We carried on to the site of the old Dutton Breach where we moored for the night. I had one job left to do following the oil change today and that was top up the batteries, something that I do on every oil change.

Today's Journeymap 07 14½ miles, 1 lock in 5½ hours.

Sunday 21 October 2018

Middlewich Sunday 21 October 2018

Again it was a lovely morning, a bit chilly as we had no heating on overnight but soon warmed up. We headed off down towards Wheelock Locks meeting a boat on the way who said the right hand one was ready, but when we arrived an oncoming boat had just turned it, The pond we were on was rather low considering only 2 boats had been up and the lock above had been on weir all night.
We arrived at the services to fill with water only to find a boat moored there, however he untied and drew back when we arrived. It was a share boat and they only started out yesterday and after a few miles discovered the toilet wouldn't work, so were all relying on the CRT toilet facilities. While we were filling with water a chap removed the macerator toilet and removed the blockage, I think the previous users may be getting a bill.

There were quite a few hire boats about and I managed 2 emergency stops without hitting anything due to boats going straight across the cut in front of me.

Since we came past a few days ago someone has pumped out the old wooden Icebreaker a short way above Booth Lane Top Lock so things are looking more hopeful for her.DSCF0405

We stopped just below Booth Lane bottom lock for a bit of lunch, there was a very convenient CRT working boat to lay against.DSCF0410

While we were eating lunch I heard a rumble going along the road, I shot out with the camera knowing what it would be, across Gailey's rear deck and legged it down the towpath, not a pretty sight to get the best picture I could.DSCF0409

I may have mentioned it before but this is the only place I have seen illuminated speed restriction sighs, as they only apply to the traffic passing them I would have thought their headlights would have been sufficient for drivers to see them, but maybe the council had a few quid laying about.DSCF0407

The weather had been deteriorating for the past hour or more and now we had drizzle, not only that the wind had picked up to over 20 MPH and the drizzle turned to rain.

At Rumps lock the local swans went for a quick fly round, taking off from the canal, doing one big circuit and landing back where they started.DSCF0411

On our way up last week we counted of 20 swans in this stretch of canal and they get regularly fed with corn which is probably a big attraction.

I was rather taken by this fish or no fishing sign at Kings lock.DSCF0413

We carried on down the Middlewich 3 and through bridge 172, it was here that I spotted an apple tree on the offside full of bright red apples, I soon had the bows tucked in and Diana was collecting a bowl full.DSCF0418

As soon as she had finished we slid to the towpath side and moored up for the night. We hadn't been here long when we heard another familiar sound, the beat of a semi diesel engine you can see here being started HERE. It was Narrowboat Swan, so yet again I dashed out with the camera for the final photo of the day.DSCF0421

Today's Journey map 067 miles, 10 locks in 4½ hours

Saturday 20 October 2018

Wheelock Saturday 20 October 2018

The reason we cruised to Red Bull was to attend the monthly meeting of the Trent and Mersey canal Society where Steve Wood from the Caldon and Uttoxeter Canal Trust gave a very good illustrated talk.

So far this trip we have woken up to thick fog, the ducks pecking weed from the hull and this morning the two tone horn of the trains. The weather was good again and the pressure is on the rise so it may last a few more days yet. Lock wise most were against us as we only met a couple of boats before Hassall Green where we met about 6 but caught up with one in front, it did put a few locks right for us, but not many, even the couple of boats we met closed the gate behind them.

At Cardboard Lock (that's a good name, maybe its what the top gate is made of) CRT have a notice on the offside lock beam asking you to leave the lock empty, as we were going down that was not a problem, but for it to remain empty you would need to leave the bottom paddles up or the bottom gates open, I wonder with the state of the top gate what effect that would have on the pound above overnight.DSCF0401

As the weather was nice we carried on down the flight mooring just below Sawmill Lock, we find it quieter here than the visitor moorings in Wheelock.

Some questions for the historians

When the T&M was first dug did any of the locks have a single bottom gate? Looking at the near side of lock 48, known as Church Bottom Lock the gate recess for the bottom gate looks long enough to take a single gate.

How long ago were the bridges renumbered and why? Bridge 145 still displays 143 on the other side.DSCF0398

What made in necessary to pair the locks and why only as far as Wheelock?

Today's Journeymap 05 5½ miles, 21 locks in 5 hours

Friday 19 October 2018

Red Bull Friday 19 October 2018

It was a much nicer morning this morning but our luck with the locks had ran out, we didn't see any boats until we got to 46 and he had only done 2 locks. We were away just after 10 30am as again we only had a short day ahead of us and were soon into the swing of working ahead emptying locks ready for the boat.

I have taken many photos of Snapes Aqueduct over the years trying to show the curves of the wall, but today the suns position gave me my best effort to date.DSCF0384

Last time we came through Lawton Locks I got chatting to an old boy who lives locally and has a lot of historical knowledge about the flight so I asked him about the large stone gate posts. He told me that there use to be a large workshop here before the canal was realigned and these posts were the entrance to the yard.DSCF0386

One thing I have noticed on several of the canal it that the wall has been worn away in the same place about 6 foot inside the bottom gates, but only on one side.DSCF0388

Yesterday I asked about the disks above and beside the bridge arches at the entrance to the lock, Nick left a comment that he remembered red and green disks to show which lock was operational, well today I saw a green disk at lock 17, unfortunately it is beside the closed, derelict lock.DSCF0391

Diana was driving as we came to Red Bull lock and when i arrived at the lock it was almost empty so I drew the paddles and opened the bottom gates, as I crossed back two CRT volunteers came up and one approached me explaining that the other volunteer was new and was being trained as a lock keeper, would I mind if he assisted me under supervision to which I agreed and passed the information to Diana. It was interesting to see the way he worked and how he was instructed to get the thumbs up from the steerer before drawing a paddle, also only lift it half way and then wait again for the OK from the steerer. The lock was worked much slower than we normally do but that didn't cause us a problem. We stopped for lunch just below Plants Lock and made a pilgrimage to Tesco, we came away with 6 bottles of wine at 25% off. After lunch we headed up through Plants Lock taking the right hand chamber as the bridge is about 9" higher on this side and I don't need to remove the chimney and exhaust to get through.DSCF0397

I then winded in the entrance to the Macclesfield canal and we made our way back down to the service at the CRT Red Bull offices and then a boats length to the visitor moorings for the night.

Today's Journeymap 04 4 miles, 15 locks in 4 hours.