Wednesday 31 August 2022

Frankton Junction

Last night we walked up to The Sun at Welsh Hampton and had a very tasty couple of meals. It didn’t all go to plan but once the problem was raised it was rapidly sorted and they made me a very generous proposal to recompense me. Anyone can have things go wrong, but to sort it out immediately to the customers satisfaction is unusual. The only down side its about a mile walk up country lanes, but thankfully no traffic.

This morning we were in no hurry to get away heading for Ellesmere to do some shopping, we met a steady stream of boats which meant when we arrived the arm was almost empty.
While Diana went to Tesco’s I refilled the stern tube greaser and checked the weed hatch before joining her to bring the shopping back to the boat. We had a bit of lunch before moving on to the junction to top up with water and empty rubbish. People often ask why CRT don’t have more recycling bins. Well this one has a notice on the top.DSCF7104

and when you lift the lid this is what you find, A bin that will now go to landfill with the general waste.DSCF7105

As we pushed off a hire boat came the other way keeping hard over to the offside, unfortunately he almost steamed straight into the drydock until I shouted at him to stop. We met several more boats as we made our way to Frankton Junction. In one of the fields we spotted a flock of Guineafowl, I haven’t had guineafowl for years.DSCF7110

I think this was at Winston Farm which now also have canal side lodges DSCF7108

We managed to meet boats in all the worst places, bridge holes, blind bends because of shrubs growing from the towpath. It wasn’t long before we reached Frankton Junction and turned down towards the DSCF7111locks, we are booked to go down between 2 and 12 tomorrow. When we arrived there were no other boats waiting but now we have one ahead on the lock moorings and one tight behind us.

Today’s Journey


7¼ miles, No Locks in 3½ hours

Tuesday 30 August 2022

Welsh Hampton

No rush to get away today as no locks to queue for although we did wait for two boats to come through before we could follow a hire boat through Tilstock Park Lift Bridge.
Looking across the fields I spotted this giant tree stump, I can only imagine the size of the tree before it was felled. The round bail feeder gives a bit of scale of it.DSCF7094

A little later there was this large bracket fungi growing on an offside tree, I think it was just before the lift bridge.DSCF7095

Once when we were this way a large lorry had tried to cross this bridge, well he had crossed it but getting round the bend to exit it he ended up with one wheel in mid air as he grounded out. The point of the photo is I have never seen stop plank storage like this before where the chamber goes right through the bridge, I have only ever seen them with access from one side.DSCF7097

At Whixall Moss Junction we turned left to go down the Prees Branch. The farm on the junction has several old covered railway wagons in their yard by a large barn, in the barn there is a display of road signs. Best not to ask where they come from.DSCF7098

We winded at Whixall Marina which is the end of navigation and then stopped between the two lift bridges for lunch. After lunch we set off again crossing the boarder into Wales for a short time. The No Mooring sign looks to be right on the boarder.DSCF7099

Sitting on the bank at Bettisfield is a peddle powered craft with an interesting looking prop. I wonder if its a hand made one off.DSCF7101

Then it’s back into England re-crossing the boarder, we stopped for a while at Hampton Bank to visit friends before moving on to moor at bridge 51 with a view to walking to The Sun pub for dinner.

   Todays Journeyimage

9¾ miles, 0 Locks in 4¾ hours

Monday 29 August 2022


Another quiet mooring last night, we decided to push off a little earlier this morning, just before 9-30 which happened to coincide with a boat turning the lock behind us, so that was one we were ahead of’ As we passed the 48hr moorings someone has carved this seat from a tree trunk, the weird thing is that appears to be a bottle attached, someone has also left a dog lead on it which I guess they found.DSCF7084It wasn’t long before we were going up in Quoisley Lock. For some reason someone has attached an oil on canvas painting to the stop planks. DSCF7087

We obviously closed the top gate when we left but it slowly drifted open< the boat following was catching up and would think we didn’t bother closing it, fortunately a boat then appeared coming the other way meeting us, so the lock was ready for him.

At the next lock which was ready for us a boat was waiting to come down, their daughter who looked about 6 years old stood by the top paddle with windlass in hand. With the bottom gates closed the windlass went on, she looked down to me and managed to lift the paddle about two turns, she looked down at my bows and gave it another two turns and stopped and checks the bows again, one more turn and tells Diana it not quite ready to open wider yet. As she has it all in hand Diana crosses the lock and between them Harnser gently rises in the lock. Well she impressed me. At Poveys Lock we caught up with a couple of boat and then it was on to Grindley Brook where one boat was still below the locks but about to enter as we came under the bridge. I have never seen this on bollards before.DSCF7088


    We followed the boat in front up and then it happened, the gear selector failed as I tried to leave the lock,  like a fool I tried reverse , OK back into forward and we are still going backwards, so it was engine off and try to stop the boat before I rammed the gates. We pulled the boat out of the lock and while I repaired the gear linkage the following boat over took us. Needless to say they would then be the third boat to go up the staircase and we would be in the next batch so we had plenty of time for dinner waiting about an hour and a half for our turn up the locks. There were at least 3 Volockies working the flight, 3 up and 3 down keeping things moving. Up through the three lift bridges, 2 by our selves but met a hire boat at the third so they picked up their crew as they passed the bridge and we dropped it.
I do wonder what this floating garden is licensed as, a butty, a tender of a garden. Or maybe the owner is keeping stum.DSCF7091

We carried on just a short way to moor for the night in the middle of nowhere between bridges 35 and 37.

Todays Journeyimage

  6½ miles 9 Locks in 5½ hours 

Sunday 28 August 2022


Lovely quiet mooring again and when I went for my early morning wee the sky was red and mist rising off the canal, mind you it was only 8° C. We were ready for the off at 9-30am and needles to say another boat went by so we slowly chugged behind them to but still caught them up at Swanley Bottom Lock, as they left I could see a lady with a windlass beyond the next bridge so waited and waited, eventually she arrived at the lock and assured me there was a boat coming and we waited and waited till one did appear. There was nothing lost in waiting as I would only have been in the queue at the next lock. Diana did the 3 Baddiley Locks and as she walked under the bridge she pointed back to this.DSCF7076

CRT were hard at work at the top lock removing piles of roots that had floated down onto the weir, some they had to cut up to be able to lift out all while standing in 6” of water on the weir crest.
Approaching Wrenbury a cruiser pulled out of the moorings ahead of us but they had already sent crew ahead on foot to lift the bridge, as you can see a motorist  didn’t understand what red flashing lights meant at some point in the past. DSCF7079 They also opened the next lift bridge before pulling over and mooring up again.
One farmer has found a way to diversify and hopefully making a bit cash. Ryebank AdventuresDSCF7081

We carried on for a little bit before coming to Marbury Lock and after looking up moored a little way past the end of the lock moorings. Since we have been here its been quite busy with boats queuing to go down most of the afternoon.

Todays Journeyimage

7¾ miles, 6 locks in 4½ hours. 

The second part of out trip is now on Google map HERE

Saturday 27 August 2022

Hurleston, Llangollen Canal

Well a good nights sleep last night in the peace and quiet, I didn’t want to wake up this morning.
We were away about half ten with no boats passing going up but some coming down, so the first lock should be with us, wrong, a boat had left the far side or the bridge and was about ¾ of the way up So that was the first we had to turn and work alone.

There was a much better view of the castle today with the light in a better quarter.DSCF7062We visited it once, got lost going to it and then used all our cash paying a kings ransom to English Heritage to get in.  While I was waiting for the lock to fill I looked back and could see that BWB or CRT have used plastic interlocking piling here, I couldn’t see how much was plastic.DSCF7063

We we reached Chas Harding’s I could see two boats ahead waiting to enter the iron lock and one boat coming down about to leave. That’s when it went pear shaped. The boat leaving the lock stuck his bows and then stern in between the lock and lock moorings to pick up his crew and switched his engine off ending up across the lock mouth hard aground. After a while the two boats waiting managed to get him off the rocks and told him to go forward, that’s when they found his engine switch off. By the time this was sorted out and the two boats ahead had gone singerly up the lock and we had turned it yet again to go up a Chas Harding boat who under instruction had been down, winded, instructed how to moor up below the bridge  had walked up to be instructed how to do a lock, so our locking was somewhat slower than normal. When we finally arrived at Beeston Stone lock the boat ahead was waiting for us, even though there were two boats above waiting to come down. This is the lock with just one operational top paddle and took for ever to make a level. Looking back as we left you can see someone has had break failure coming into the lock.DSCF7065

We carried on partnering Nb.Easy Tiger for the rest of the wide locks. Approaching Bunbury staircase, we had to wait as a boat was going up ahead I got a good view of Anglo Welsh yard with the painting on the end of the building still very visible, I think it would be nice if it could be saved.DSCF7066

After leaving the stair case locks, the last of the wide locks this trip the view of the old stable buildings is also quite striking.DSCF7067

A brief stop at Calvary services to dump the rubbish and it was on to Hurleston Junction and hard right for the Llangollen canal. We timed it right, the bottom lock empty, a boat just coming out of the next lock up, a Volockie at the third who also set the top. The way it should work.Looking back at the bottom gates in I think it was the top lock it looks as if CRT have found a good use for some of their signs.DSCF7073

Diana went for a walk round Hurleston Reservoir and it looks to be well full.IMG_1493

We stopped at the top of the locks to fill with water and then passed these horses with rather attractive head apparel. Maybe its the Lone Rangers horse?DSCF7074

We slid into the first nice vacant mooring we came to well clear of trees between bridges 2 and 3.

Todays Journey image

  8¼ miles 10 locks in 5½ hours.

Friday 26 August 2022

Shady Oak Pub

Not a good nights sleep last night. Went to bed and found a pool of water round the loo. so spent most of the night wondering where that came from. This morning soon found it. The situation on the boat last night was unusual, the calorifier was cold as the engine has been off for a couple of days but the calorifier was still pressurised and a weep had developed on the top Essex Flange that I fitted, I suspected the high temperature rubber washers had gone hard, but they were OK and a quarter turn with the big spanner stopped it.

That sorted we were on our way. The large pipes along the towpath are for sewage as can be seen by this slightly humours sign.IMG_20220825_205450

The new development around the historic shot tower could have been worse, tying modern in with old is never easy and they do have an industrial look.DSCF7054

A little further up the offside cottage had a fine gnome display, I think the chap lives next door.DSCF7056

I will never work out what happens in these locks, the first we came to has one ground and one gate paddle, opening the ground paddle on the same side as the boat and the boat moves gently out. At the next lock with 2 ground paddles, open the one the same side as the boat as you would on the GU shoots you across the lock, opening both and you sort of sit in the middle, then the next, same procedure and the water flows under the boat, hits the far wall and pins you comfortably against the side. We had to turn all the locks bar two and close all gates.
We did meet one or two boats later but not many. There is a spot before the mile and a half of Golden Nook long term on line moorings where CRT load and unload their boats some one has built a shelter for some reason.DSCF7059

We chugged slowly passed Golden Nook and then Tattenhall Marina marina before mooring for the night on the 48hr moorings at The Shady Oak Pub.

Todays Journey image14¾ miles, 5 locks in 4¾ hours

Thursday 25 August 2022

Chester (Still)

Well we decided this morning we like it here so haven’t moved yet but will tomorrow.

We had a plan, call it plan A. To cruise from Alvecote to Northwich Dry Dock for blacking. When Cheshire locks closed that became Plan B, to cruise to Northwich via the Shropshire Union and Middlewich branch and Anderton Lift.
When the lift closed it became Plan C. Cruise Shropshire Union, Manchester Ship Canal and on the Weaver to the Dry Dock.
The Dock is now unavailable until almost October, to late for us so Plan D. Turn round at Chester, I am not planning what we will do after this.

We are moored in town opposite the Bingo Hall so yesterday we took a walk down the Northgate Staircase locks, on the way we passed where the towing lines have worn groves in the rock face.IMG_20220824_144232

Once down the locks we visited the locks that supposedly run drop boats down to the River Dee. I say supposedly as I have no idea when a boat last went down, the locks are chained and there are stop planks above Lock 3, this is what we found below the lock.IMG_20220824_150410

Of course this section of the river is tidal for about another ¼ mile upstream where there is a weir. As you can see some boats still use the tidal section.IMG_20220824_150635

Today we walked the city walls passed the old castleIMG_20220825_153159which looks very unloved and past the weir which has a half tide gate at one end that can be opened to allow boats to pass through the weir when there is not enough depth over the top of the weir, however at the moment that also has a barrage across it and doesn't look as if its been used for years.
This map shows the locks, river and weirimage

Today we also visited the Grosvenor Museum which is a real rabbit warren of rooms including the old3 story house with floors that slope and twist all over the place.
Eating out last night was Ephesus Grill where we have eaten on previous visits, the charcoal grill is built into the restaurant so you can watch things being cooked, thankfully they have a very good extractor system and tonight was The Yard where we have never been before but was very good with quite a small menu unlike most Mediterranean restaurants.

Wednesday 24 August 2022


We had just finished breakfast when Diana noticed the hire boat that had passed earlier had stopped for water at the next bridge, marked on the map with W.   So we chugged by and waited in the lock for them, they didn’t realise we were waiting so dropped onto the 48 hr moorings for one of the kids to have a shower, Diana walked back and they joined us all the way into Chester.
One of the unusual things about this stretch of canal are the old lock access ladders right in the mouth of the lock so you could climb off the bows of a barge to work the lock.DSCF7045

The water tower doesn’t stand out so much as you approach Chester as the trees have grown up. but looking back the birds were making good use of the aerials. DSCF7049

In Chester its self there are some large pipes running along the towpath taking up a few moorings, I don’t know if they are water or sewage.DSCF7050

There were 3 or 4 mooring spots free between Bridges 123E and 123D so we carried on to the winding hole before mooing, the fist spot was too short right in front of the Lock Keepers Inn and the next too shallow, we were still a good two foot from the edge so it was up nearer Bridge 123D and this just left space for the next boat down the locks to moor.

Today’s Journeyimage

2¼ Miles 5 locks in 2 hours

Tuesday 23 August 2022

Christleton, Chester

Well last night no phone, no TV and the internet like the good old dial up days, I was surprised the Blog went, but that was before the rain, things went down hill from there. Only heard a couple of trains overnight so that was good. Also saw the brightest shooting star I have ever seen.
This morning a passing boater asked if we wanted to join them but we weren’t ready to set off. Beeston Stone Lock is very slow as only one top paddle is working.
We set off at 9-30 to just chug down to the lock and wait until a boat was coming up or another come down. What we didn’t expect was to see a boat almost ready to exit the top gates, so not long to wait. He told me he was stuck for 4 hours at Chemistry lock while CRT removed a narrow rubber fender from the top paddle which was stopping it closing, as he left I noticed he had all his rubber fenders down in a lock. Beeston iron lock was a few inches off so we were soon down and on our way, we met lots of boats which eased our trip greatly. I took this shot of Beeston Castle, for all those in East Anglia look at that green colour everywhere, not like my lawn.DSCF7037

One of the offside moorings has the roof of his shed completely covered with glass bottles and he has started constructing bottle walls.DSCF7043

We also passed these interesting looking ducks, one with a fine top knot.DSCF7041

When we use to pass through Rugeley I use to photograph a shed that was slowly falling over a bit like this one, I think its only thanks to the wall its still standing.DSCF7044

Then the rain started and stopped and started so the brolly was put to good use again. We decided to moor a short way passed the Cheshire Cat. The moorings outside the pub are a bit confusing with 48hr mooring signs and no moorings signs which appear to be on the 48 hr section, some of which have been covered up.

Today’s Journeyimage

9¼ miles 3 locks in 3¾ hours