Wednesday 31 July 2019

Stewponey Lock Wednesday 31 July 2019

Day : Wednesday
Date : 31 July 2019
Start : 0852
Finish : 1635 Stewponey Lock

The forecast for today was much better, but we only saw the sun for about 5 minutes all day, and that was this afternoon. Last night we had nice meals in The Mermaid, a Vintage Inn pub that is very close to the canal, very friendly service and the best Doom Bar I have had for a while.

We set off a little before 9am and met several boats, I guess hardly anyone moved yesterday. Ebstree Lock bridge has some interesting rope cuts in the brickwork, like a set of jagged teeth.DSCF1911

Last time we passed through Awbridge Lock the tale bridge still had a scaffolding hand rail dating back to the incident in Stourport where a lad was drowned, If they had to fit a rail this is quite good.DSCF1913

We were soon at Bratch Locks where a Volockie was on duty, they use to have a CRT employee doing this and as it means managing boaters then maybe it should be someone with that authority. DSCF1917

I probably posted this photo last time we came this way, I just like the look of this sloping bridge over the tail of Bumblehole lock.DSCF1918

Our original plan was to stop at Greensforge visitor moorings by the Navigation pub, but as the weather was the best it has been all day we carried on to Stewponey Lock where tonight we will be doing a crew change

Today's Journeymap 07

12 Miles 14 Locks in 6 hours

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Wightwick Tuesday 30 July 2019

Day : Tuesday
Date : 30 July 2019
Start : 0845
Finish : 1530 Wightwick

Yesterday evening at sunset looking south down the canal there was what looked like a very wide base to a rainbow going up into the sky, the photo doesn't do it justice. At about 10 o'clock it DSCF1896 started to rain, I am pleased to say my fears about the road noise were unfounded and all was quiet overnight.

This morning surprising we woke to sunshine but it didn't last, a few short showers before we stopped for water at Autherley Junction, but once on the Staffs and Worcester Canal it rained with the vengeance.

We stopped for a longish lunch in the rain above Compton Lock and when it eased we set off again, but it tricked up and by the time we were going down in Compton Lock it was throwing it down and has been ever since. We had planned to moor on the 48hr visitor moorings, but with 2 boats in the middle of the mooring there is no room for us, so back through the bridge and moor there for the night.

We have seen a few of the ex-working boats making their way home from the Audlem boat gathering.

Today's Journeymap 06

10 Miles 4 Locks in 5 hours

Monday 29 July 2019

Stretton Aqueduct Monday 29 July 2019

Day : Monday
Date : 29 July 2019
Start : 0900
Finish : 1750 Stretton Aqueduct

It was 7-30 this morning when the first Bopity bop came by from the Audlem gathering. I couldn't see a name on it. The sun was already shining and it carried on like that all day. Most of the boats around us were away between 8 and 8-30 so we set off at 9 am in what we thought was a lull in the traffic. Just through the bridge there was a boat adrift so I stopped to re-moor it, at the same time the gent from the boat moored ahead of us walked down with his hammer, so soon sorted, needless to say as soon as we were ready to go a boat came up behind us so we followed him, short time later another boat was gaining on us from behind so I pulled over and let him chase the front one.

We passed Knighton covered loading bay which now houses a floating paint dockDSCF1871

The old car under the falling down lean to is still in very good condition considering its surroundings#

The next highlight was High Bridge with its telegraph pole, so I took this shot of Brian steering us through,DSCF1880

At Gnosall we really started to meet the traffic passing the first oat in the tunnel approach, the next in the tunnel and several before the next bridge. We had been told that Wheaton Aston lock was going to close in the morning so changed our plans to get up today. I do like this slow down notice by the long term moorings, a little bit of humourDSCF1888

We worked the lock with no problem at all and once above it I checked the CRT stoppage list again and now the lock is not even mentioned.

We continued to moor for the night just before Stretton Aqueduct, this may turn out to be a bad move as the traffic is somewhat noisy at the moment.

Today's Journey
map 05

17¼ Miles 1 Lock in 7¾ hours

Sunday 28 July 2019

Goldstone Wharf Sunday 28 July 2019

Day : Sunday
Date : 28 July 2019
Start : 0945 hrs
Finish : 1700 Goldstone Wharf

Well its rained almost non stop since Friday night, we were hoping it would ease this morning but it just got worse. Just as we were about to set off a boat came passed so all the Adderley flight was against us, they had been empty earlier, but with Diana and young Brian setting ahead we soon reached the top. By now Brian and Diana were quite wet. We continued on towards Market Drayton when we came across a single cow on the towpath it was callingDSCF1851 over to all the cattle in the field opposite and they were calling backDSCF1852

We stopped in Market Drayton firstly for Diana to do some shopping and the to fill with water. At this point the weather station indicated we had had 26mm of rain in the past 24 hours. As we set off one of the ribs snapped in my umbrella and its only about 30 years old but it still holds out OK. It keeps you surprisingly dry while steering.

As we approached Tyrley Locks a boat was just leaving the bottom chamber so that worked well, but by half way the sky's had opened and it was chucking it down. I did consider suggesting we moored at the top, but in the end we carried on to Goldstone Wharf where we were lucky enough to find a single spot long enough for us to get into.

Today's Journey
map 04

7½ Miles 10 Locks in 4½ hours

Saturday 27 July 2019

Addeley Saturday 27 July 2019

Day : Saturday
Date : 27 July 2019
Start : 0900
Finish : 1745 Bottom of Adderley Locks

Today was a bit chopped up, the first bit, taking just about an hour was from our overnight mooring, through the two Hack Green Locks where we moored again to visit the Hack Green Secret Bunker. After our visit, I might add it was still raining we set off again this time through a mile long fishing match, they were all very sociable despite the rain, one of them had just landed his second eel of the match and was struggling to hold it to get the hook out. I don't know if they count in a match, but if they do it wouldn't have been fun cleaning the slime of the keep net. We stopped for lunch just past Overwater Marina, I almost got in to the bank, I was planning on going closer to Audlem but with the Historic Boat rally on this was the end of the moored boats visiting the event.

We arrived at Audlem Bottom lock at about 3 pm. which was of course against us and then it was creeping up between the moored boats.DSCF1835

It was good to see the crane back in place outside the Shroppie Fly, we saw it being refurbished at the Northwich yard. Again there were boats moored all the way up the pound. One thing that caught my eye was two Alder's moored one in front of the other.DSCF1839

As you can see the weather was very grim and hardly anyone about.DSCF1840

At lock 10 we got some good news, a walker on the towpath told us the coal boat was on its way down the flight and as we left 10 we could see Halsall working down 11 so we left the gate for them. Even better Lee told me I had a good road to the top, he did know that we would meet 5 hire boats and a cruiser and get the locks turned against us 3 times, but they are hires and don't appreciate what they are doing all the time as well as making more work for themselves with no gain. Once clear of the top lock we carried on until we came to the visitor moorings at the bottom of Adderley Locks where we moored and it stopped raining. I prefer these moorings over the ones at the top of the Audlem flight due to the overhanging trees. We have had 15mm of rain in the past 24 hours.
Shortly after mooring up there was a right racket going on outside, I thought it was a duck begging for bread, but when I went out theDSCF1846 front door with the dog there wandering down the roof to see me was Mrs. duck shouting her head off.

Today's Journeymap 03

7 Miles 17 Locks in 4¾ hours

Friday 26 July 2019

Hack Green Friday 26 July 2019

Day : Friday
Date : 26 July 2019
Start : 0845
Finish : 1640 Hack Green

Well the new crew member has settled in well, we gave him a towel to sleep on near the bottom of Brian's bed and we didn't have a peep out of him all night.

This morning was quite a bit cooler, we set off before the boat ahead so had the first lock with us.

The canal was quite busy with boats coming towards us, which helped at both Church Minshull and Stanthorne locks. At Aqueduct Marina Bernadette called out she thought our paint job looked smart, thanks Bernadette.

We pulled over at Venetian Marina to get the toilet tank pumped out and were then assisted up the lock by two competent Volockies, Once at the top we filled with water and moved up to the visitor moorings. This was so we could go to the cafe at Venetian Marina for lunch. I don't know how they manage it for the price, two Boaters Breakfasts which included several cups of tea for £5 each.

After lunch it was up to Barbridge junction, the housing is coming DSCF1826on well, not sure what had happened but there were blue lights and police directing traffic. We carried on up the Shropshire Union canal and moored a short way before Hack Green locks and had our first BBQ of the year. Spot wasted no time in showing us that he had not forgotten how to swim, its a good job he is not to big and is easy to lift out.

Today's Journeymap 02

14.5 Miles 3 Locks in 4 ¾ hours

Thursday 25 July 2019

Below Stanthorne Lock Thursday 25 July 2019

Day : Thursday
Date : 25 July 2019
Start : 1500
Finish : 1900 Middlewich Breach

The M6 motorway road works were a real joy compared to 1½ hours on the Cambridge section of the A14. Needless to say when we reached the marina and started unpacking the car there were some loud claps of thunder and it started to rain, but only for a few minutes.

Once at the boat we made ready and were away at 1500 hr heading towards Middlewich. We have an extra two crew members this week, my grandson Brian and his spaniel, Spot, who has never DSCF1812 been on a boat before. Latest News, Spot can swim.

We met a steady stream of boats on our way to Middlewich and when we got to Big lock one boat was just going into the lock one at the waterpoint and one just behind it so I started heading for the lock, only to be by the back boat there was a queue, so I suggested then maybe he should get going as they were about to close the lock gates. We in turn shared with the hire boat who had been getting the water. I am surprised that the lease for The Bi Lock pub is up for sale again so soon, I would have thought it was quite a good business, and not just in the summer months.DSCF1816

The hire boat was well crewed and we helped each other up the three locks, my Grandson setting ahead and them back setting. The second pound was so low I couldn't clear the cill so a bit of water needed letting down. We turned right up Wardle lock but had to wait for a boat that had come down to wind and was going back up. We moored for the night in the new concrete channel they built when they repaired the breach last year. We were well in the silt once we were alongside, but the pound looks to be down by about 100mm.DSCF1819

Since we have been moored up we have had another couple of very heavy shows, but they are not clearing the air much.

Today's JourneyMap 01

6½ Miles Locks 5in 4 hours

Saturday 13 July 2019

home mooring Saturday 13 July 2019

Day : Saturday
Date : 13 July 2019
Start : 0900
Finish : 0950 Marina

A very short day today, I like to moor a short way from the marina to put back a bit of power into the batteries, we don't use much as the fridge is off to defrost and wipe out before we leave. I don't think we saw a boat on the move in that short trip. As we turned into the marina there was a chap fishing for carp, we have some big ones in there, but he left after I came in and winded to reverse back to our spot right where he had been fishing.

This trip we have done 120 miles, 76 Lock in 63 hoursIMG_0265 (2)

Today's Journeymap 14

2.33 Miles 0 Locks in 51 minutes

Friday 12 July 2019

Bostock Green Friday 12 July 2019

Day : Friday
Date : 12 July 2019
Start : 1115
Finish : 1530 https://what3words.com/abolish.whiplash.belonging

We had a grand evening last night round John and Gillian's at their garden Concert. The weather could have been a lot kinder but we had some lovely music from Pilgrims Way. This morning when it stopped raining we went over to see if there was anything we could do to help and also wave goodbye to NB. Jannock, NB Why Worry had already left.

We finally set off down the locks at quarter past eleven with two boats ahead of us and a couple coming up the locks. There were three Volockies on the Middlewich locks, one on each lock so that speeded our passage a bit. We stopped for water between the bottom lock and Big Lock, there are a couple of green binbags attached to a post there, today is the first time I have seen this notice.DSCF1749

Down at Big Lock Diana had just turned the lock when a boat came round the bend below, then another left the water point, to compound things we had just started to drop in the lock when a single handed boater arrived at the top, we did look back before closing the gates but couldn't see anyone, still at least the lock would be ready for her to go in with two boats coming up.

If anyone is looking for a pub to run then the lease on Big Lock is up for sale again, the new owners lasting less than 2 years. Its a pub with a good reputation, local as well as passing trade.

We stopped for lunch on the long term moorings just prior to the aqueduct, before setting off again to moor for the night on a nice stretch of piling in the middle of nowhere. The piling was done about 3 years ago but the field behind the tow path is still waterlogged.

Today's Journeymap 13

3¾ Miles 5 Locks in 2½ hours

Thursday 11 July 2019

Middlewich Thursday 11 July 2019

Day : Thursday
Date : 11 July 2019
Start : 1100
Finish : 1500 https://what3words.com/dial.dressings.cakes

A late start today as we didn't have far to go. I waited for some time after a boat had passed before setting off but as soon as I untied another came along, so we followed them to Cholmondeston Lock. It turned out we had timed it such that the Volockies had gone to the cafe for their morning tea break.

CRT are still hard at it piling above Minshull lock with just enough room to get by.DSCF1746

Below the lock the ground is completely water logged probably due to problems with the underground bywash, I expect it will collapse or block before anything is done.DSCF1748

The warm humid morning turned to a heavy shower with the wind freshening dramatically but this had cleared up by the time we reached Stanthorne Lock. We carried on to moor between bridges 29 and 30 just short of Wardle lock and walked round to meet up with friends for the evening.

Today's Journeymap 12

8¾ Miles 3 Locks in 4 hours

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Cholmondeston Wednesday 10 July 2019

Day : Wednesday
Date : 10 July 2019
Start : 0930
Finish : 1630 https://what3words.com/makes.outer.driftwood

Last night as planed we ate in The Horse and Jockey choosing from their Tapas menu, you can have 3 dishes + bread and dip for £13.50 so we had 6 dishes with 2 bread an Sweet Potato chips, O and beer of course. They change the menu every month and July was American themed, we skipped the American beer.

This morning most of the other boats had departed when we set off at 9-30, we had some good luck with the locks again, we turned the first but then met boats when we were leaving so made life relatively easy. Things didn't change until we got to Baddiley No.2 where we caught up with the boat ahead.

When we arrived at Hurleston the Volockie had the top gate open for me, we had to hand around for a bit as there was a boat in the second from the top waiting to exit, but a boat coming up in the third from top, so I had to wait until he was in the pound between the top and second before I could move. Diana went down and helped them up the third from top. There were two Volockies working and the second helped us down the second and third locks where we waited again for a boat to enter the flight from the Shropshire Union main Line. At the bottom lock there were two CRT Lock Keepers working boats up and down slowly and watching the clearances each side of the boat as they did so.

Yesterday we met 20 hire boats and passed two having lunch, today we met just 4.

Once down the Hurleston flight we turned left to Barbridge and at Barbridge Junction turned right onto the Middlewich Branch, still the SU, so we have in fact been on the SU since day two, but the main line and two branches. We carried on down the Middlewich Branch and moored on the visitor moorings just above Cholmondeston Lock, lets hope the trains are not too noisy.

Today's Journeymap 11

14 Miles 13 Locks in 7 hours

Tuesday 9 July 2019

Grindley Brook Tuesday 9 July 2019

Day : Tuesday
Date : 9 July 2019
Start : 0900
Finish : 1525 https://what3words.com/shows.brightly.anchorman

This morning we didn't hear any boats go passed while we were in bed, so we showered, dressed and set off at 9 AM. first boat out of the arm and no one in front of us. Just as we exited the arm we met our first hire boat of the day, by 10 o'clock we had met 10 or them, which made us wonder where they were all moored last night, there are no pubs on honey spots within 5 hours of Ellesmere. The other strange thing was over the next 5 hours we only met another 10. I must say they were all behaving excellently, non speeding and all seemed well capable of steering the boats, which is more than can be said of the boat we met who passed a moored boat quite wide and put me in the mud.

The weather has been changeable, a spit or two of rain and a bit of sunshine, as I write this its peeing down.

I mentioned the disabled moorings yesterday, well this is what they look like with no boat moored there.DSCF1728

There is a small boat hire company on the Llangollen Canal, I really should call it the Shropshire Union Canal that just hires out a couple of boats, I am not sure if this is a day boat or just for short breaks.DSCF1726

We continued on to Grindley Brook where we stopped for water, two boats went down the Staircase locks while we were filling up, but due to a complete lull in passing traffic we were able to follow the second down, but it did mean the other 3 locks were against us. We moored just beyond the former railway bridge on the 48 hr visitor moorings, the bridge is quite a fine structure. DSCF1732

As you can see from the hours and mileage below, going down stream makes quite a difference to the journey time

Today's Journeymap 10

14 Miles 6 Locks in 6½ hours

Monday 8 July 2019

Ellesmere Monday 8 July 2019

Day : Monday
Date : 8 July 2019
Start : 1000
Finish : 1800 https://what3words.com/rolled.voter.shelved

Not quite so warm today but good enough to have breakfast on the front deck listening to Fountains mowing the grass. We were away at 1000 hrs and helped a day boat through the first lift bridge but it wasn't long before they pulled over and moored up. We met loads of boats coming towards us again and caught up with the boat head at Tilstock Park lift bridge, they had just gone through and were in the process of lowering until the steerer saw us and they wound it up again, Diana hopped off at the bridge to lower it but waited until a boat coming the other way had passed through. We caught the boat ahead up again before Roundthorn Bridge and this time I was set to overtake them when they pulled in to clear the prop. CRT are busy repiling a section between Roundthorn Bridge and Morris's Lift Bridge on the offside. The canal is well above ground level all the way along here.DSCF1711

There use to be a large scrap yard just before Whixall Moss junction, last tie we came here it had closed down but still had hundreds of tyres, today its just a couple of acres of concrete.DSCF1712

Its very sad to see that after BW of CRT went to the expense of making a 70 foot mooring with bollards and hard surface for disable use someone, probably a boater, sees fit to remove the disable signs.

DSCF1717   DSCF1716

We stopped at Hampton Bank for a couple of hours to visit old boating friends and then took her and her grandson on a cruise to Ellesmere. As we passed under one of the bridges a gongoozler watched us pass from one of the bridges.DSCF1720

We went to the end of the Ellesmere Arm expecting it to be full but passed a couple of spots, so winded at the end and headed back to one of them for the night.

Today's Journeymap 09

13 Miles 0 Locks in 6 hours

Sunday 7 July 2019

Whitchurch Sunday 7 July 2019

Day : Sunday
Date : 7 July 2019
Start : 1030
Finish : 1815 https://what3words.com/brambles.mountain.before

Its been a strange sort of day to say the least. I decided to wash the left hand side of the boat this morning before it got to hot, a couple of boats had been by so we knew the next lock was against us, just as we finished washing and went in for breakfast a hire boat came by with 3 ladies onboard. About half an hour later, we had finished breakfast a boat came the other way, so we set off hoping that as no one else had been by at least the first lock would be with us, but no, the ladies were only just about to go in. After that we met about three boats, but who was at the next lock, the ladies. We carried on meeting more boat until we got to Baddiley No.3 and again the ladies. Looking up the canal as they left the lock I could see someone at lock No.2 so we decided to wait for them to arrive and lock up after they had gone down, they turned out to be even slower than the ladies were. Our next bit of amusement came at Church Lift bridge, Wrenbury. I dropped Diana off at the bridge on the off side and se is about to start lifting when young lad with a windlass and small dog arrived from the other direction and wanted to cross, turned out he was from a boat coming the other way. As Diana wound the bridge up the dog decided it would rather be back on the boat and shot up the bridge launching its self onto the tow path. I should add there were also a couple of canoes milling around, not real ones, blow up and sit on. I cleared the bridge but the lady coming the other way got in a right muddle, sorted her out , got her straight and she was heading for the bridge where her son hopped on and it all went sideways again. She was being followed by a lady on another boat, Flower boxes all over the roof and one plant at least 2 foot tall on the top. As she passed me I suggested that she stopped, "Why should I" was her reply so I pointed out the boat 50 foot ahead that she couldn't see had stopped. At that point it was hand on the horn, arm waving and shouting, "Get going, get out of the way" The only down side to this entertainment was that Diana was still stuck operating the bridge, but the sun was shining and we are in no hurry to get anywhere.

This house always reminds my of my dad, he had a reputation for building spiralling chimneys, Not sure he would approve of this one as it would be to pronounced for him, he would probably had half that amount of twists in that height.DSCF1698

We have seen several Giant Hogweed plants about, these are right on the edge of the towpath at Wrenbury so a real risk of someone touching them. DSCF1700

We passed the site of the recent breach, the towpath is still closed, breach siteunfortunately they put the closed barrier up between the lock and the lock landings at Marbury Lock. It was OK when they put them up as the canal was also closed, but now the lock crew has to squeeze round the barrier to get up to the lock.

We had just cleared the bridge at Grindley Brook when we met a boat so the first lock was with us, we then met boats at every lock so had a good run up. A boat waiting at the top of the four had just gone up the staircase and we were able to follow him up, Diana working one side and the lock keeper the other, so we did the flight in very good time. We are now moored for the night just before the Whitchurch Arm.

Today's Journeymap 08

12 Miles 15 Locks in 7¾ hours

Saturday 6 July 2019

Swanley Sunday 6 July 2019

Day : Saturday
Date : 6 July 2019
Start : 1120 hrs
Finish : 1800 hrs https://what3words.com/expressed.risks.folk

What a strange 24 hours, we went to bed and it was so hot we had the side doors and the slide open, then this morning we woke when the rain started so shut everywhere up, it rained all morning then after lunch was cool and now at 6 o'clock its warm and sunny again.

Last night we ate at The Shady Oak, the new management are boaters and very friendly, service is good as is the decor and the food is good pub grub but they finish serving food at 2030hrs. They even have 48 hr moorings in front of the pub.DSCF1690

We didn't set off until almost lunch time hoping the rain would have stopped but it continued until lunch time. We had a good run with the locks meeting a total of 8 boats so didn't turn any.

We were warned water levels were low above Tilstock Lock but it wasn't too bad. The concrete piling has collapsed above the lock for quite some distance and the river is not far away so lets hope its repaired before it becomes serious.DSCF1694

I heard bit of a strange sound in the sky and looking back just spotted this gyrocopter crossing in the distance.DSCF1697

We stopped for lunch just below Calveley Service and while we were there we washed one side of the boat. a quick stop at the services to dump stuff and then we headed for Hurleston Junction to have a couple of days on the Llangollen Canal. I knew Hurleston Locks were on restricted opening hours, but I didn't know what they were so I was very pleased to find them still open when we arrived. We were the last boat up and a boat we crossed with coming down was the last one to leave the Llangollen tonight. it was dead on 5 pm when we both left the last lock. We carried on up the Llangollen for an hour stopping to top up with water on the way and in that time we met 4 boats who were too late for the locks.

Today's Journeymap 07

8¾ Miles 10 Locks in 5 hours