Saturday 30 April 2022

Trafford Centre

A slight unpleasantness at the moorings as the boat behind started his engine at 8 pm and at 10pm I went and asked him how long he intended to carry on running it, an hour or two was not the answer I was looking for and he begrudgingly turned it off. He was in no better mode when we left this morning.
It was a lovely sunny morning as we made our way along the Bridgewater to the second Waters Meeting on the system where we turned left, passing the Kellogg's factory, boy did it stink, to moor for the night outside the Trafford Centre. There was no one here when we arrived but we have been joined by a couple of boats now.
Passing Hesford Marine they have lots of new boats, both wide and Narrow in grey primer and ready to fit out. Some in the water and others on hard standing.DSCF6634

We saw our second lot of Cygnets along here, I think there were 8 of them but they didn’t keep still.DSCF6635

As we approached Altrincham we came upon a grope of well behaved kids in canoes with two adults.They all got tightly on the side while we passed them, what a lovely morning that had for their activates.DSCF6636

The front wall of the Linotype works has now been incorporated into the end of a long terrace of houses. For a long time just the wall stood there supported by scaffolding. See HEREDSCF6640

We met some rowers as we came towards the mile straight, I didn’t realise they went south of here. The canoe hire establishment had a few out, someDSCF6649were doing better than others. The widebeam coming towards us had to send a crew member to the bows to act as a spotted as the helmsman couldn’t see them as he got closer. Also along this stretch was a pair of paddleboarders complete with a dog, as the dog pushed round his leg he wobbled but failed to fall off.DSCF6646

I don’t know what this boat was selling but he had a humongous generator in his bow well deck that groaned every now and then, he also had a very healthy queue of customers waiting for whatever he was serving up.DSCF6648

Today’s Journeyimage

12¾ miles, no locks in 4¼ hours



Friday 29 April 2022


Away at 10 on a lovely sunny calm morning, the wind did freshen slightly during the day only to die away again now.DSCF6627

Our first stop was the services to fill with water outside Preston Brook marina, so decent pressure at last, needless to say as we went to leave there was a convoy heading towards Runcorn. Back on the main line at Waters Meeting I reversed back to Midland Chandlers to pick up a new tiller bearing, also to drop a parcel off with Liam at Preston Brook Wharf, its relaying it way from Suffolk to the Tar boat Spey. Once that was all sorted a nice steady run towards Lymm when we met another convey being lead by a wheel stared 14 foot wide, widebeam and even on the wide canal. It wasn’t the only widebeam we met, the next was in a convoy of 8 that we met at a bridge with a widebeam moored on the offside right against the bridge, I held back until the widebeam passed, no 4  and then pushed through as the widebeam had got himself attached to the towpath trying to round the bend, so the rest behind him were going nowhere. A boater on the long term moorings wished me luck with the continuous flow coming towards me.
This house on the offside has a very large walled garden with at least, what I assume to be potting sheds built onto it, this one is now in need of a little support in its later life.DSCF6628

At one point we could see people Alpaca walking over on the far side of the field.DSCF6630

Again not something you see every day, a run containing goats and a pig, they all seemed happy together. DSCF6632

When we arrived at Lymm there was only a cruised moored on the offside and a couple of boats towpath side. Since we have been here the cruiser has left and now all the mooring are full both sides.

My task for this evening was to decoke the stove and change the diesel filter feeding it, the first bit of a mucky job the second fiddly. I was 25 years younger when I mounted the filter, it was easy to do then.

Today’s Journeyimage  12 miles, no locks in 4½ hours.



Thursday 28 April 2022


Early start for us this morning, off at 9-30am. to arrive at Preston Brook tunnel entrance at four minutes to ten for a ten o’clock passage, there was one boat waiting when we arrived. On the way we passed Dutton Dry Dock a pretty little place, a couple of wooden buildings on wheels have appeared since last we were this way.DSCF6608  Just below Dutton lock, which incidentally was virtually level, I opened the bottom gates without lifting the paddles, there is a wide beamed Bridgewater skip boat moored up, not sure what its doing this side of the tunnel.DSCF6609

Martins dog was on hand just to make sure we didn’t miss or 10 minute passage window.DSCF6610

Boats can enter the tunnel between the hour and ten past, boats coming the other can enter between the half hour and twenty minutes to. Our passage took exactly 17 minutes and there were two boats waiting at the other end to enter.
Once through the Tunnel we have left the Canal and River Trust (CRT) waters and are now on The Bridgewater, owned by Peel Holdings, Peel and CRT have a reciprocal agreement and we can spend a week on their waters without buying a licence and three days for the return trip. Our first task once this side was to call in at the book exchange, I don’t know who runs it but always books to be swapped.DSCF6617

On to Waters Meeting where we turned hard left down the Runcorn Arm. There are plans to reconnect the end of the Arm with the Manchester Ship Canal by restoring the Runcorn locks that use to run from the other side of this bridge at the present terminus almost straight down to the MSC.DSCF6622

This is what the bridge looks like today, it was much different last time we were here.DSCF6621

This is 2016 with a road bridge right behind Waterloo Bridge and the back of the arches bricked up supporting it.DSCF6621a

On our way to the end we passed the Bridgewater Motor Boat Club who are busy preparing for a rally this weekend and we were hailed to ask if we were attending, we didn’t know anything about it but it seems it the Annual Bridgewater Boat Clubs get together. DSCF6624

On our return I asked these chaps why they were fixing steel wire cables along the edge, he replied it was for the 150 expected boats to moor to as they can’t drive pins in.DSCF6623

We think this building may be a school or play school with a mural on the back wall.DSCF6625

We carried on almost to Waters Meeting before mooring by Norton Town Bridge for the night. Since we have been here there has been a stead stream of boats heading down, so I expect passage down to the end and winding will be quite congested by tomorrow.

Today’s Journey image

10¾ miles, 1 lock in 4¼ hours



Wednesday 27 April 2022


We were in no rush to get away today as we only had a few miles and no locks to do, so I decided to change the hydraulic filter on the drive system.
The Bluebells are probably now at their best giving a good show in the canal side woods.DSCF6585
As we passed this lady with a dog was going along the footpath on a rather interesting scooter with what looks like a standard bike front wheel and a small rear one connected by a low foot platform.DSCF6587

A little further on CRT have raised the top of the concrete piling where it has slowly subsiding.DSCF6588

A brief stop at Anderton Service to dump the rubbish including the chewed bad from the front deck, there were two boats there and only one water point working. Chugging past the top of the lift the trip boat was just entering the casing to go down. Then we saw our first Cygnets of the year, 2 were hitching a lift on mums back but one slipped off as we approached.DSCF6590

A little further on there has been a land slip, I don’t know if this is the one from about 2 or 3 years ago or a new one. CRT have gone to town on signs, no mooring and no  fishing each side, a speed limit. I don’t think I can do 1MPH. DSCF6593

Then as well as piling, rows of buoys, not sure why they needed them towpath side as well, it just makes it slightly narrower, but even then there is DSCF6596more room that passing the boats on the long term moorings further along.
A clean run round the bend by bridge 202 but with a boat moored on the outside of the bend going into it I think a 70 footer would struggle coming round in the other direction. Arrived at Barnton Tunnel and still a clear run, this set us up to reach the mouth of Saltersford Tunnel at ten past twelve so straight through there as well.
We passed a nicely converted ships lifeboat, with their riveted aluminium hulls they use to be very popular wit DIYers who wanted to get afloat.DSCF6597

On the off side the wild Garlic is now in full flower.DSCF6598

Further on CRT are hard at work repairing the towpath edge, I don’t know if the stones will be used to make good the surface behind the piling.DSCF6601

Always sad to see, is someone’s pride and joy on the bottom of the canal, this little Narrowboat looked as if it had been well cared for before this happened to it.DSCF6604

Almost at our mooring for the night, we were going to stop at the site of the old breach but there were already 3 boats there so we pushed on to within about a mile of Dutton Lock. Just before mooring we passed another family of Coots, the chicks are ugly little thing in my opinion.DSCF6605

Today’s Journeyimage  7 miles, no locks in 3¼ hours




Tuesday 26 April 2022


Last night was not the best mooring in the world, we were right under the flight path for planes coming into I suppose Manchester, they were coming straight down the length of the canal, right overhead. As one went over you could see the light from the next one following and this was just on midnight, I don’t know when they stopped but this morning the approach line had changed. Added to that the unit next to the towpath, just behind us had a refrigeration unit or air compressor that kicked in every now and then for a few minutes.
This morning started slightly overcast but that soon changed to bright sun. Big Lock was full and as we left a boat who had been on the water point wanted the lock and we wanted the water point.
The canal has been quite busy and we met over a dozen boats plus a stand up paddle boarder near Bramble Cutting.
There have ben a few changes since we last came this way. CRTDSCF6558 have done a bit of offside dredging but not enough. it comes to an abrupt stop in a large offside reed bed. Our next surprise was a nice new rail bridge replacing one that looked as if it was about to crumble away, but I noticed that there is no longer a pedestrian access to it to cross the canal, just wide enough for the track bed.DSCF6559

As we came towards Whatcroft Flash the reflection was playing tricks on the eye and it looked as if there was a reed bank between the flash and the canal, there isn’t of course, you can just go straight out into the mud.DSCF6560

It wasn’t long before we were passing our old marina which unlike when were were there now looks quite full, they also look to have their fare share of wide beams. A little further on we passed Orchard Marina on the other side, last time we were this way they were pumping the water out to drain it, now they are installing the new jetties, it looks quite deep in places.DSCF6561

The new houses opposite The Old Broken Cross pub were just about finished when we left, today they are well established and lived in.DSCF6562

At Wincham Wharf I spotted this lovely little boat, what a lovely toy to own, that is a wide beam moored behind it.DSCF6564

A short way past Wincham Wharf there is some kind of chemical works on the offside, they have a nice canal side garden in front of some of their buildings with tables and seats under the trees, I spotted something whit in one of the bushes and thought maybe an escaped whit parrot, then it moved, it was an albino squirrel, something I have never seen before, I took loads of photos, but this was the best one.DSCF6578

We spotted a mooring right outside the salt museum garden entrance with handy rings, but there is a shelf just under the surface so the wheelbarrow wheel fenders are out again and I must say we have needed them the speed one or two boats have passed. Today has been a very slow day as we want to be at the entrance of Preston Brook tunnel tomorrow night.

Today’s Journeyimage

8 miles, 1 lock in 4 hours.

Monday 25 April 2022


A nice sunny morning so away a bit early, not too early. There were a few boats about but nothing like when we were going the other way. We came round the bend towards Stanthorne lock just as a boat was leaving, while we were locking down the boat behind caught up and the lady gave a hand. There was also a boat waiting to come up, but it took them so long to sort them selves out the lady went down to find out if they actually wanted the lock. It must be the only one that fills faster than it empties. We chugged on down the Wardle, saying hello to Roger on the way, again meeting a boat, but by the time we reached the lock it had leaked off a bit, but no queue waiting to come up. Hard left at the junction and tuck in behind a hire boat waiting to go down. There was a Volockie on each lock and a steady stream of boats coming up, some a bit slower than others. The highlight of the day, I stood in some dog poo as I set off from the top lock, thankfully spotted what I had done and it only got as far as the rear deck and step, so I got the brush out and washed down while in the lock. The bottom lock is bit of a piddler so you need to make sure the side doors andDSCF6556


hatches are closed. We carried on down to moor just above the winding hole. Diana went shopping while I changed the engine oil and filter, plus topping up the batteries. Jack’s store didn’t last long, just leaving Morrisons and Lidl.


Today’s Journeyimage

4½ miles, 5 locks in 2½ hours


Autherley Junction to Middlewich image