Monday 30 September 2019

Marple Monday 30 September 2019

Day : Monday
Date : 30 September 2019
Start : 0930
Finish : 1630 Hill Top Footbridge

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It was a bit chilly early this morning, went for my normal middle of the night wee and looking outside it was a clear star light night, this resulted in the outside temperature dropping to 5°C over night.

We were away at half nine on a clear morning, one or two boats had already been passed leaving Bugsworth Basin. A boat came by just as we were leaving so Diana walked ahead and opened the swing bridge for both of us. Just beyond the bridge is the beginning of Furnace Vail moorings where there are 101 herring bone and online moorings.DSCF2807

The row of Terraced cottages by the towpath had the sun bouncing DSCF2798 off their slate roofs, they looked a bit different on our return journey.DSCF2806

We met a few more boats as we approached the entrance to the basin and got to see our first Father Christmas of the season peeping out of a bedroom window.DSCF2801

We went right to the end of the canal to wind and dispose of our rubbish before retracing our steps back passed the 101 moorings and through the swing bridge which Diana had to open just for us.DSCF2808

We continued on to New Mills passing the marina with the Trotter's boat moored, under the bridge, where yesterday weDSCF2809 stopped to don waterproofs in the rain and continued past the sweet factory to moor for a while so that we could visit the town and the Millennium Walkway. Trip Advisor posting showed it closed dueIMG_0811 to the risk of flooding if the reservoir dam had failed, but there was no closure when we arrived. The water moves at quite a rate under the suspended walkway round the outside of Torr vale Mill that it use to power. 

We then walked upstream a bit to the next weir which is now the site of a Archimedes Screw hydro generator, unfortunately it was not working due to the fact it was flooded earlier this month. They didn't say if this was due to the extra water from draining the Toodbrook reservoir or just a natural occurrence.IMG_0818

While I was there I shot this short bit of video to show the flow over the weir.  

We had a wander round town and decided to eat in a small cafe called Gioia Mia run by Ali, the owner and quite a character. We had the full Mezze which was very tasty along with his coffee. We then wandered back to the boat and set off with the plan of mooring just before Marple Junction. There is a good section of piling between bridges 20 and 21 with a couple of boats moored there, but we were unable to get close to the bank, Diana was unable to get back onboard at our first attempt. Now the boas are about 18" out and the stern quite a bit more, but we don't rock when boats pass. We moored just in time as it started to rain and has continued ever since

Today's Journeymap 087¾ Miles Locks 0in 4 hours

Sunday 29 September 2019

Peak Forest Sunday 29 September 2019

Day : Sunday
Date : 29 September 2019
Start : 0910
Finish :1310hrs Carrs Swing Bridge

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Last night we went to sleep to the sound of the rain, the forecast for today was no better and we have had 20mm of rain in the past 24 hours. We were slightly surprised to wake to the sound of silence, noting, not a drip or a splash, so we slept a bit late. Once up we decided to set off while it was fine and we actually managed 3½ hours before it rained, but when it did, boy did it come down, luckily we were about to go under New Mills bridge so I could stop under the bridge and put waterproofs on for the next half hours travel.

We passed a boat with quite a striking paint job, I don't know if the other side is the same.DSCF2778

For the first hour we followed a boat that had moored behind us overnight and was pulling away just as I came out to start up, by the time they pulled over to moor we had a boat following close behind. The only other boat we saw on the Macclesfield Canal was the trip boat that I met right in the Eccles Bridge hole with boats moored right up to the hole on his side, but we got by.
Goyt Mill was looking quite splendid and as you can see the walkers don't have rain gear on.DSCF2786

At Marple junction it was hard right up the Peak Forest canal, this was a bit busier and we met several boats including Bargus the coal and diesel boat. On this canal there are 4 bridges to open, the first is Turf Lea Lift Bridge, this requires lots of cranking on the rotary hydraulic pump to lift the bridge deck high enough to pass through. The pump is on the offside so the crew be that side to operate it.DSCF2789

After this its Wood End Lift bridge, now this one is electrically powered hydraulics and is all controlled from a small panel on the towpath side, the hydraulic crossing the canal at high level to lift the bridge from the offside.DSCF2796

The next bridge is a manually operated swing bridge, ie. you unlock it and then rotate it clear of the canal by pushing on a leaver. The bridge its self is just round a blind right angle bend that has long term moorers on the offside of the canal, I suspect it is them that put this useful notice up after getting fed up with boatsDSCF2797 coming round and attempting to stop before the bridge, probably hitting their boats on the way. We haven’t reached the final one yet.

We carried almost to New Mills before the rain finally arrived and completed the last half hour of our journey in pouring rain, most of the good moorings are full, I suspect this is due to the steam rally being held in Bugsworth Basin this weekend, this has resulted in us being moored under some large trees, so even when there is a break in the weather we still get the water coming out of the trees onto the boat and a constant drip, drip, drip. I will probably try and move later when the weather clears.

PS. Well we did move, all of 200 yard under a much smaller tree

Today's JourneyMap 07 9½ Miles 0 Locks in 4 hours

Saturday 28 September 2019

Adlington Saturday 28 September 2019

Day : Saturday
Date : 28 September 2019
Start : 1000hrs
Finish : 1400 Grimshaws Bridge

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Well yet more rain overnight and this morning, there was a let up about 10 am so we set off. I had just untied when I spotted this pairDSCF2765 coming passed the moored boat ahead of us, so I hung on until they had passed, they overtook us a little later on their way back.

It wasn't long before the coats were on and the brolly up. We did meet a few other mad boaters, but not many in that weather. We passed the site of the breach they repaired earlier in the week, I thought they may have been a few marker poles round it.DSCF2766

We only held two cars up at The Royal Oak swing bridge, this is electrically operated with a CRT key, we had 2 cars waiting and although the bridge swing quite fast, it takes some time for the pins to draw and the bridge jack up about 150mm before it can rotate and then drop and re pin before the barriers will open. The next swing bridge is a push job with no traffic that is ten times as fast.DSCF2768

We passed a field of Belted Galloway cattle, its the first time I had seen a brown one, officially known as red, I have only spotted black and white in the passed.DSCF2774

People tell me the view is wonderful up this way, I am not to sure myself, maybe it will improve.DSCF2772
This looked a good idea to keep your canoe out of the water, a pair of davits, lets hope a wayward Narrowboat doesn't collide with it.DSCF2773 We carried on through Macclesfield and Bollington where a day boat was just returning to base, we had been following them for about a mile and it was nice to see them slow down when passing moored craft, they definitely had a full compliment onboard.
I am not sure how the owner of this boat checks the engine or even gets out to steer, the top was quite tidy so maybe they are part way through a good clearout.DSCF2776

We decided to stop at Grimshaws bridge for the night, there are very good moorings here opposite Lyme View Marina with a good straight stone edge at mooring rings, the spacings are a bit stretchy for us so the bow rope is a bit long but we will be OK overnight.

Today's Journeymap 0611 Miles 0 Locks in 4 hours

Friday 27 September 2019

Top Bosley Locks Friday 27 September 2019

Day : Friday
Date : 27 September 2019
Start : 1020
Finish : 1900 hrs Just before Crow Holt Bridge

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As it tuned out we moored just in the right spot last night as the 2 day visitor moorings were full, but right by our bows was a small lane that comes out beside the carpark of The Rising Sun where we had dinner.

When we woke this morning it was raining, but unlike other days it didn't stop before breakfast. There was a lull a little after 10 am when we set off but it wasn't long before the coats were on, then it was sun, sunny drizzle, drizzle and pouring down all day.

Just past Heritage Narrowboats hire base I spotted this owl and a fine collection of fungi.DSCF2755

As we made our way along the canal we passed a few fields withDSCF2760 just a few cows with calves in them and one even had a Jersey bull. I understand these don't have the same temperament as a Jersey cow and have to be treated with some caution.DSCF2762

We reached Bosley Locks a little after 1 pm and pulled over for lunch, it was then that we experienced the heaviest rain of the day as we moored up. The weather forecast indicated that it would rain quite hard in the early afternoon but clear out later, so we stayed put until just after 5 pm when we set off up the locks in the sun shine. I didn't waste the afternoon but converter the circular fluorescent fittings in the galley to LEDs, there is now no warm up delay , the lights are brighter and the current drawn less than half.

We set off up the locks knowing they would be against us, one down side of this flight is double top gates with no walk boards. We found the most efficient way to work was once I was in the lock, Diana would close the offside bottom gate first, then the near side before walking forward and drawing the nearside paddle, I would climb the ladder and work round and draw the offside one. While I was doing this Diana walked to the next lock and set it ready. I would bring Harnser out of the lock, stop in the mouth and close the gates. We did this until I was about to leave lock 6 when she indicated there was a boat coming down, so I could leave the gates open. We then carried on to the top with Diana walking forward and draining/opening the lock ahead until we reached the top lock which was full from the boat ahead, by now it was getting dusk so we stopped at the first available mooring after the line of long term moorings, at least we think it is as there is no sign this end.

Today's Journeymap 0610 Miles 12 Locks in 5 hours

Thursday 26 September 2019

Scholars Green Thursday 26 September 2019

Day : Thursday
Date : 28 September 2019
Start : 0855hrs
Finish : 1530hrs Scholar Green

A little update to a blog I posted last trip about a structure we saw behind Kate Narrowboats at Warwick on the GU on 29 August One of the followers of this blog ( I don't know their name) has contacted me with more information and all the details can be read on this web site. https://www.imagine-bridge.co.uk

Early hours this morning as expected it rained but when we got up the sun was out so a quick breakfast and away. We were passing all the moored boats when the one at the end pulled out in front of us, two families of Canadians who we followed to Lawton bottom lock, her Diana suggested that the two ladies went ahead and set the next lock, after that they were off like greyhounds and we didn't see them to speak to until we reached Red Bull services. There is a lot of work ongoing at Lawton bottom lock, the new gates are in and they look to be working in the paddle culvert DSCF2737 they still have their workboat Lawton moored above the lock,DSCF2739 all that's required now is to fix the rest of the problems on the flight, locks 66, 52, 50, 45 and 42 are all out of action, there are two paddles out on Lock 50,thankfully not both at the same end and one out on 51 and 41. It only needs one paddle out of the first three to fail and the flight is closed. Also the pumpout at Bulls Bridge is still out of action along with the tumble dryer.
At Lawton bottom lock we had two boats behind us queuing and despite me back setting one lock we had filled with water an Red Bull and were on our way before we saw them behind us again.

Up at the locks just below Red Bull services someone has painted the raised bricks that you push against while opening the lock gates red, I have not see this anywhere else.DSCF2746

They have also gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that no one tries to enter the closed lock No. 45 by hanging some red "flags" up.DSCF2748We stopped just before Plants lock so that Diana could do a quick dash to Tesco and then we were away up through Plants lock, not very quickly as it only has one paddle operational on the side we used, the other side the flags and weather station have to come down as the bridges are different heights. Once clear of the lock and after a boat came out from the Macclesfield canal a good blast on the horn and I turned right. It was such a pity that the boat that came out failed to mention there was a boat behind him. Good job I blew the horn.

We carried on up the Macclesfield canal through there interesting double length stop lock and moored just before bridge 87. We had just pulled up and we had the first proper rain of the day as we ran the lines out and got the bows as close as possible to the bank.

Today's Journeymap 045 Miles 13 Locks in 4¾ hours

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Rode Heath Wednesday 25 September 2019

Day : Wednesday
Date : 25 September
Start : 0920
Finish : 1250 Rode Heath

It was a fine warm start to the day and we were away in god time, Luck with the locks started well with a couple of boats coming down and one some time ahead going up, we even met a couple, but it all changed at Longcroft Lock which was against us. By now it had also turned a bit cooler and light drizzle in the air although we didn't get any proper rain.

If you fall into this lock hope someone has left it half full as the ladder ends about 5' above the water level, it looks as if they fitted the ladder when they rebricked the top half of the nearside wall and only fitted the ladder into the new brickwork.DSCF2723
Up by Maddocks Lock there is a CRT workboat on the offside, it looks as though the last crew forgot to take their catering equipment home with them at the end of the day.DSCF2725
In the past I have always taken a photo of the Romping Donkey pub, now a private dwelling, its gone through a very chequered development over the years but finally looks as if its just about finished, I expect it will be sometime before we are this way again.

DSCF2728   DSCF2729

We finally caught up with the boat in front at Pierpoint bottom lock where we were overtaken by 15 lady ramblers and just one man.DSCF2731

It was bit of a short day and we moored up at Rode Heath, there were hardly any boats here when we arrived but its now looking pretty full, one of the first to arrive after us was the hotel pair, Duke and Duchess. They have just finished their very last trip and are on their way to Stone to go on brokerage, so if you fancy a pair of full length boats now is your chance. The owner of the pair has a little black dog called Henry who can spot a tennis ball at half a mile, here he has dropped it in the cut and is just keeping an eye on it.DSCF2735

Today's Journeymap 03 3½ Miles, 12 Locks in 3½ hours

Tuesday 24 September 2019

Wheelock Tuesday 24 September 2019

Day : Tuesday
Date : 24 September 2019
Start : 1030
Finish : 1430 Wheelock below Sawpit Lock.

We were well stuffed when we got back from The Big Lock pub last night and we only had main course and a pint. The pie was superb. I do hope they don't spoil the place when they refurbish it and go upmarket with a coffee shop and cocktail bar on the lower level.

This morning as expected we woke to the rain and it didn't stop until about 3pm. half an hour after we had tide up. We would have been away a bit earlier but boats kept coming up Big Lock and I would rather sit in the dry than in the rain in a queue at the Middlewich locks. When we did leave it worked out OK. The boat ahead was almost up the bottom lock and a boat was waiting to come down, we had to turn the rest but it was a clean run out of Middlewich, Just above Kings Lock Duke and Duchess were aboutDSCF2718 to set off, so thankfully we were ahead of them, there were also 2 Wilderness Water Rats moored there. Two of theDSCF2719 crew/guests from Duke and Duchess came up to Rumps Lock to set it just as we were about to leave. As I write this we haven't seen them go past yet, so lets hope we are ahead of them in the morning.
Once past Rumps Lock we started meeting boats and I don't think we turned any more locks. The Thai restaurant Kin Ardi formerly the Kinderton arms beside Kings Lock looks as if its closed down and the name board gone.
There are lots of hire boats about at the moment, all the Anderson boats are out and we have seen several for other companies as well this week.DSCF2720

A single handed boater we met at one of the locks told us Wheelock was very quiet, a lot of boats must have arrived after he left because it was end to end. There is still only the offside lock in operation at Wheelock bottom lock and on leaving it we were able to go straight into the offside top lock, meeting yet another hire boat. We were going to go up to Malkin's Bank for the night as the locks were with us, but as we are in no hurry and it started raining even more heavily we called it a day a short way before Saw Pit Lock

Today's JourneyMap 027½ Miles 10 Locks in 4 hours

Monday 23 September 2019

Middlewich Monday 23 September 2019

Day : Monday
Date : 23 September
Start : 1515
Finish : 1715 Middlewich

We actually came to the boat on Saturday by a somewhat unusual rout having lunch at The Cape of Good Hope and then The Samuel Barlow This was to pay for our new mooring and find out where we would be and where we could leave the car until we arrived with the boat, it didn't quite work out as the man we needed to see was at Huddlesford weekend so we still don't know where we will be moored but we did get the access code to take the car. When we did arrive at the boat we just went down to the flashes for the night.

Sunday morning we were woken by the rain and thunder, at 9 am we headed back to the marina as we were off to The Cuttlebridge Inn at Curdworth to have lunch with my grand daughters before the older one goes to Australia for 3 months. After lunch it was back to the boat and we stayed in the marina for the night.

This morning I got the deposit back on the key for the marina entrance and said goodbye to Dave, the man on the spot. It was then off to Northwich by car, pick up a small van from Enterprise (vans are cheaper than cars) and follow Diana down to Alvecote, park the car and bring the van back to Northwich. The do a free door to door service and a young lady drove us back to the boat. We set off for the last time at about 3-15pm out of the marina and turned left towards Middlewich. The floating Pennywort is increasing in size just before the flash and I expect boats will be cutting a path before the winter arrived.DSCF2715

We were to meet 5 hire boats this afternoon plus one moored on the Big Lock lock moorings. It wasn't long before it started raining and a Croxton Flash I spotted the back end of a butty ahead, it was a pair of hotel boats, so no chance we were going to get Big LockDSCF2716 empty and ready for us. We followed him slowly along, it didn't help a hire boat approaching on the aqueduct just as he came round the bend to line up for it, thankfully a second one held back for him. I hovered below the lock while they worked up, there was a hire boat moored on the lock moorings, well it was raining. It looks as if the bottom gates are leaking more and more making it slow to fill but fast to empty. Just as I was about to enter the lock a boat came up behind us, they were moored ahead of us in the marina, so I went in and shuffled over to make room for them. We moored just above the top lock and went to the Big Lock pub for dinner.

Today's JourneyMap 014¾ Miles 1 Lock in 2 hours

Wednesday 11 September 2019

Home moorings Wednesday 11 September 2019

Day : Wednesday
Date : 11 September 2019
Start : 0945
Finish : 1005hrs. The marina

Well its been an unusual 24 hrs. As I posted last night we went to Whatcroft Flash for the night, the first unusual thing was a train went by, I have probably only seen 4 of these on this line in 3 years, this evening there were not just the one but two, the second going in the opposite direction after dark.

Again we had rain over night and first thing this morning but it had stopped by the time we set off at quarter to ten. As we made ready to set off Diana spotted a small newt sitting on the top edge of the bank side open side door, I carefully removed it and set it down onDSCF2677 the very wet grass. That was the second unusual thing. Not unusual was the fact it was chucking it down by the time we moored up.

The third unusual thing was I looked at the internet before we set off for stoppages on the roads between the marina and home, I have never done that before only to find that the M6 was completely blocked and had been since midnight so we had to plan a new route home, no point going down the M6 and following diversions, thousands of other drivers were doing that, so we went well to the west rejoining the M6 below the incident. I think they rout home had 2 lanes open south bond at about 3 pm by which time we were on the A14 battling with the road works and small temporary road direction signs.

We have been out for 46 nights and covered 476 miles passing through 365 locks, this took us some 216 hours travelling time.IMG_0275

Today's Journeymap 48¾ Miles 0 Locks in 20 minutes