Sunday 15 May 2022

Home Mooring

Funny we always seem ready to set off a little earlier on the day we go home. this morning we were off in the sunshine at 9 in the morning, by 10 we were back in the marina and back on our mooring, reversed in without a breath or wind. The only thing of interest really was yet another fox in a back garden. I took a lovely photograph of the garden fence just AFTER he jumped over it.DSCF6752


Today’s Journeyimage

2 miles, no locks in 1 hour


Out total trip was 48 nights, we did 400 miles and over 200 locks Map full

Friday 13 May 2022


Not sure how I got into last nights moorings so easily, it took me 10 minutes to get out this morning, the wind didn’t help, but I pushed the bum out only to hit something big underwater about 6 foot behind me and over 4 foot from the side.  I ended up with the stern right over on the off side before I could push the bows out, just as I was getting straight, Diana already had the lock open a boat came round the bend and was going to pass me.
By the time we were in Woodend Lock there was another boat ready to come up, so the chap behind had an easy run.
The work on HS2 didn’t start until about 8am. as you can see it runs along behind the lock cottage and is very close at the bend, it also crosses on the way down to Shadehouse Lock.image

They have the big toys on site now for moving earth about.DSCF6742

Once down the lock it seamed strange not to have a row of moored boats on the offside, the down side is that silt builds up on the outside of a row of permanently moored boats so you look like you are hogging the canal keeping clear of it, but it will soon level out. Where they have cut the swaths through the trees for the line to cross the canal the wind has uprooted several large trees to the east of the clearing. I suppose these trees have never been subjected to wind before being in the centre of a wood.DSCF6743

There was a Volockie on at Shadehouse lock but the one at Middle Lock only arrived as we got there, which meant that we had Middle lock turned on us as soon as the boat coming up left.
The Ex BW working flat just to the south of the A38 bridge is looking very sorry for its self. There are still a row of pumps there but she is still well on the bottom.DSCF6744

The Dutch Barge style Narrowboat moored just behind her has now had its wheelhouse removed, that also has been there for years and years.

HS2 are working just south of Streethay Wharf, I don’t know if it goes under or over the existing railway line and the A38 or under it. I guess its the end of the airfield.DSCF6745

There were a lot less boats than normal moored at Huddlesford as we approached the junction. On our way out on this trip we passed a small cruised with an interesting cover, we passed it again today and I got a snap of it.DSCF6748

Things were going well until we reached Tamworth and the Glascote locks. There were were two boats waiting below the locks to go up and the locks looked to be covered in blue tee shirts. It turned out there were ten volunteers painting the locks and one CRT overseeing. People seemed to be milling about but very little happening. We were the last in the queue so of course Diana was soon winding paddles and open and closing gates.DSCF6750

Once above the locks we only did a couple of more bridges before mooring for the night. A longer day than planned.

Todays Journeyimage

5 lock and 14½ miles in 7 hours


Thursday 12 May 2022

Woodend Lock


There were several boat on the move well before we were ready to set off this morning a little after 10am. It had been some time since a boat went passes so I was a but surprised to see one waiting to enter Colwich lock when we arrived, not only that but there were also 2 waiting below to come up. We met boats steadily all the way to Rugeley so I wouldn’t be surprised if the queue was about 5 for most of the morning. There were more mooring spaces in Rugeley than I expected to see with the number of boats moored before the town.
CRT have really excelled themselves with this new notice at Armitage, requiring life jackets and Light for Armitage tunnel. Although its called Armitage Tunnel it hasn’t been a tunnel for many years, its nothing more than a narrow cutting. I wonder if they have put a similar one up at Fenny Compton tunnel?DSCF6736

By now we had caught up with a slower boat so I just tagged behind through the narrows. We slowly made our way to Handsacre where again it was nose to tail moorings. A little further on we passed a boat trading on the towpath, the sales assistant looks like they could do with a good meal.DSCF6739

We also saw a Narrowboat with a small battery powered trolling motor attached to its rudder, not sure how well that would move it along.DSCF6737

  • Our plan was to moor above Woodend lock as its normally nice and quiet there but today it was quite full, it looks as if some of the longterm moorers have moved across as they have been evicted from their paid for moorings by HS2ut we found a space and bashed a couple of pins in.

Todays Journeyimage

11 miles, 1 lock in 4¼ hours


Wednesday 11 May 2022

Gt Haywood

I have decided I do like Stone, last night the whole area was light up with a long string of lights crisscrossing the canal.
This morning we woke to the sound of the rain so were in no hurry to crawl out of bed, also because we stopped so early yesterday it was only a warm shower, not hot. When we did eventually surface we decided to wait for a break in the weather before setting off, that came at 1pm this afternoon. I think this is the first time we have not started in the morning due to rain. I must be getting soft in my old age.
Today we had little luck with locks, all except one against us. There is a canal side garden in the south of Stone that has all sorts of wonderful things in their garden including elephants, not real ones. They also have small topiary in tubs, one looks like a Teddy bear.DSCF6727

With the better weather, the sun stayed out right until Hoo Mill Lock its been a good day for seeing birds. This Swan on the nest still with her Cygnets just creeping out.DSCF6728

Followed by something I have never seen before Goosander chicks with there mum, what pretty little things. A very quick shot as she was gone in a flash.DSCF6730

This was followed by a collection of geese, three adults and a selection of goslings, it looks like an interesting cross breed, I wonder what the youngsters will turn out like, or who are the actual parents.DSCF6731

We passed a lovely wooden boat, I wouldn’t want to own it on the canals. There is only one thing worse than owing an old wooden boat and that’s owning a smart old wooden boat. We often see it around and its just lovely. DSCF6733

Rather unusual we a sheet Narrowboat powered by an outboard engine, complete with wheel steering.DSCF6734

At Hoo Mill Lock we caught up with the boat in front and had to wait for them to leave the lock, we also caught up with a big black cloud that rained quite heavily on us for a short time.
Mooring wise, Gt Haywood was packed, there was a space opposite the Garden Centre just before the bridge, nothing all the way down to Haywood Lock, below the lock to the bridge was full and there were only a couple of spaces under trees in the next quarter of a mile to where we are moored now. Exiting Haywood lock there was a giant swarm of midges, I even managed a photo of them.DSCF6735

As I said we had hoped to moor in Gt Haywood but we ended up about a quarter of a mile down below Shugborough Hall.

  Todays Journeyimage

10½ miles, 6 locks in 4¾ hours

Tuesday 10 May 2022


We pushed off at 9-30am and no sign of any other boats on the move. Arriving at Trentham lock we were pleased to find it full, a good start to the day. Beside the lock are the remains of the old lock cottage, it must have been tiny. When Diana walked down here yesterday afternoon there was a plastic envelope hanging on the railings with a leaflet giving details of the house, unfortunately today when we arrived it was gone.DSCF6722

On down to Meaford locks and it started to rain, heavy enough to require a coat on, but it didn’t last to long and the sun started peeping through. Meaford top lock was against us but there was approaching the second Meaford Road Lock, so we could leave the gates open. As we worked the second someone opened the bottom gates of Meaford House lock so we had bit of a wait until they locked up, but it did mean both Meaford House and Bottom lock would be ready for us.
Coming into Stone you get a nice welcome and they do seem to like boaters in the town unlike some places.DSCF6723

Again we had good luck with the locks but it did involve some waiting about until we got Yard Lock which was against us. One thing I hadn’t noticed before were these rollers on the corner of the bridge below Lime Kiln Lock to ease the tow ropes round the sharp edges. How much longer before they decay away I wouldn’t like to guess.DSCF6725

As we exited the lock I was pleased to see there was no one moored by the carpark on the off side, that will suit us nicely for the night.

Today’s Journeyimage

5½ miles, 7 locks in3¼ hours


Monday 9 May 2022


Coming up the Cheshire Lock over the past two days I counted 7 lock failures from a broken paddle to a closed lock, worse than when we went down.
Nice quiet mooring last night and a couple of boats were away early, we were off at 8-30 heading for the tunnel. We had good luck with the locks, a boat coming down the first  one assisted by a Volockie who then assisted us up. Having met the boat the rest were with us including Limekiln where I waited for another to come down. It took about an hour and a half to get to the tunnel where we had an hours wait for 4 boats travelling north to come through, then we were off, Billy No mates again, all by ourselves. The tunnel was quite clear this time and I could see the North portal at all times and the chink of light at the South when 500mts away. As we exited there were two boats waiting to head north. While we were waiting at the tunnel I noticed this, it may be helpful to someone.DSCF6714

Its just 39 days since were were this way last and the amount of construction in that time is unbelievable, They were doing ground works at this site to the east of the canal.DSCF6715

There was just the building in the foreground when we passed, now the one in the distance has appeared, this  on the opposite side, a little further south.DSCF6717

The daisies are out in full bloom carpeting the grass white, the geese don’t look bothered.DSCF6716

At Stoke Top lock a boat was just coming up, it turned out to be Connor of CW Boatmovers taking good care of a customers boat. there were a bunch of Volockies on the flight manning the top lock and Johnsons lock so an easy passage with boats coming up at very lock through Stoke. It doesn’t often go like that. We chugged along in the sunshine mooring for the night in Trentham almost opposite the new housing estate they are putting up.

Today’s Journeyimage

11½ miles 11 locks in 5¾ hours




Sunday 8 May 2022

Church Lawton

We were away at 10 on a cool overcast morning, what a change from yesterday. We had a couple of boats go by but that was a good half to three quarters of an hour before we set off. We didn’t meet any boats for a while and pulled in at Wheelock to fill with water and empty rubbish. There was only one boat moored on the full length of the Wheelock moorings.DSCF6707

Both the Wheelock locks were against us but as we came up one approached Wheelock top lock and as we entered the top lock another was working down in the tandem lock, so that was two boats coming down in one pound, maybe some locks would be with us and a few were, but we soon caught up with the boats in front and had to turn most of the locks.
UIts a while since I have seen one of these, a powered skateboard. The rider has the throttle in his hand, this one is wireless but the others I have sine have been connect to the board with a cable.DSCF6708

The Golf Club has a café open to none members and they display their wares on the fence, but to our surprise no Sunday Lunch mentioned, as we were now following boats I may have been tempted as it was about mid day.DSCF6709

We did meet the odd boat and one of the ones were were following stopped just before Hassall Green. The swallows are busy nesting in the M6 bridge between the road lanes darting in and out. Yes that little blob is a swallow.DSCF6711

Just above Halsall lock the boat directly in front of us tied up, so Pierpoint bottom was with us and there was a boat at Pierpoint top which was full , so a good result. We had planned to moor at Rodeheath but it was full so we carried on to Church Lawson where there were already a lot of boats but space for 2 boats, so we slipped in there, since we have been here a boat has taken the space ahead of us.

Todays Journeyimage6¾ miles, 20 Locks in 6¼ hours


Saturday 7 May 2022

Paddies Wood

Our reason for mooring in Middlewich last night was to attend the Trent and Mersey Canal Society AGM this morning which lasted about an hour, not bad going. This was followed by a very good buffet lunch supplied by Middlewich Community Church, a venue I would happily recommend.
After lunch was the highlight of the day, a guided tour of the Murgatroyds Brine Pump. This is the only example of a hand dug brine well in the country.IMG_20220507_130927

There were just over twenty of us and as you can see, unlike yesterday afternoon it was a nice warm sunny day. The pumps were originally steam driven and latter eclectic was use to power the two beam pumps.IMG_20220507_142441

This was before eclectically powered submersible pumps were used. The well was hand dug 8 foot square reducing to 5 foot as it got deeper. As well as pumping brine they also processed it and this bit of electrical kit to me looks like an explosion waiting to happen as it produced Chlorine gas and HydrogenIMG_20220507_132125

Its called a Hooker Cell and they were connected in a bank, this one has glass sides so you can see what’s the internals were like. IMG_20220507_132155

They have a very good web site with several videos if you click HERE. The visit was meant to be just one hour but stretched out a bit.
After departing the site we wandered round John and Gillian’s for tea and biscuits. It was then back to the boat and do a bit of cruising as the batteries needed charging.
We set off up the Middlewich three meeting a boat after the second, thankfully he was out of the top first so I had a clear run out of the second, round the bend and into the top lock. From here it was up to Kings lock where we had to wait for a boat to come down. Diana had her blue IWA tee shirt on and was mistaken for a Volockie. Leaving Kings there was a boat coming towards us, so gates left open, Rumps was also with us. On to the Booth Lane three, the bottom was against us and Diana walked to the middle lock to set it ready while I worked the bottom, from there she signalled me that a boat was coming down, so gate left open again, this also meant Both Lane top was with us. From here we carried on for another half hour or so to moor for the night at Paddies Wood.

Today’s Journeyimage

5½ miles, 8 lock in 3 hours


Friday 6 May 2022


We got up in bright sunshine but the weather slowly clouded over. We have often moored in this area as the boat was at Park Farm for a few years but I have never known so many trains to use the line in 24 hours. We set off at 10-30 ish for a slow gentle cruise to Middlewich, it was only 4 miles with one lock but we managed to make it last and hour and a half. As we approached Big Lock a boat had just gone and thankfully the offside gate opened to allow us in as well. It turned out their friends had gone up the lock before them with another boat so waited to help with the lock. The boat we shared with I have seen around the system for the past 20 years or so, called The Californian and owned by an American Californian. Once through Big Lock we moored just in front of the two boats already there, but realising we were directly opposite the weir we decided to move up to the top of the playground. I think the sound of running water all night would have been too much for me.

Todays Journeyimage

4 miles, 1 lock in 1½ hours