Thursday, 4 January 2018

Home Wednesday 3 January 2018

Well last night didn't go quite as planed, about half seven we went up to the pub only to find that the chef was feeling unwell and had gone home at seven, so no food. We went back to the boat for a think, no other pubs in the area but a couple of takeaways that offered delivery. I rang Eastern Spice who were happy to deliver to the pub for us at 9 o'clock so it was back to the pub for a beer and wait for the food. The barman did say we were quite welcome to eat it in the pub if we wanted to, but it was easier to take it back to the boat. For £18-50 for a set meal for two we were more than happy.

Being moored down below the pub I think we were well sheltered from storm Eleanor and I only recorded a maximum gust of 31mph. we were also well away from any trees.

This morning we made an early start for us heading back to the marina, the wind was still a bit gusty but nothing to cause problems.

Passing through Marston the retirement chalet village is expanding somewhat, looking at Google Maps there look to be well over a 100 chalets on sit already.DSCF0144

Crossing Wincham Brook there was moor water in it today than there was yesterday afternoon with the land around it flooded.

There wasn't a trace of steam today when we came through the Tata Chemical Works, but it looks as if some new pipes have been moled under the canal just to the south of the works, I don't think this is anything to do with Tata but probably one of the utility companies.DSCF0146

Back at the marina I had to make the decision of whether to sail straight down to out mooring or reverse down as normal, by now the wind had picked up again hitting over 30 mph. but it was coming almost straight up the pontoon, so I literally winded by the end of the pontoon, it took quite a bit of power to push the stern against the wind, but as I did the bows weathervaned round so we were almost in line with the pontoon, we had to pass a couple of boats where Diana had to lightly fend the bows off.

Once moored it was a case of taking things to the car which Diana did while I drained the fresh water system.

We had just over a fortnight onboard and in that time we covered 138 miles and passed through 58 locks.IMG_0239

Today's Journey map 185¼ miles in 1¾ hours with no locks.

Our journey home from the marina was not quite so straightforward, as we drove south along the M6 there was a traffic announcement that a car had left the carriageway travelling north but it wasn't causing any hold-ups, so when we passed a notice saying queuing after junction we assumed it was rubbernecking causing a hold up on our side so carried on, wrong. It was a multi vehicle collision on our side completely closing our carriageway and for a time they closed the other carriageway as well as there was no oncoming traffic. When we finally passed the site of the collision there was a well smashed up car and the remains of another which was unidentifiable right against the crash barrier.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Anderton Tuesday 2 January 2018

It was a filthy evening yesterday with cloud and rain, however it cleared before we went to bed so we had a chance to look at the big moon, to me it looked very similar to the one I saw last year, ie. Sunday night. I tried to photograph it but my camera just isn't interested in that sort of shot.

We woke this to the rain this morning, just as forecast so we didn't set off until 11 am. We were considering just going to the marina but the weather improved so that was postponed, I did have to put a mac on for a couple of showers but that's all.

Every time we pass this tree I think I must photograph that and today I did, but the light was all wrong. The branch starts off one way doubles back on its self, gets embedded into the trunk and then goes the other way.DSCF0126

The work at Oakwood marina is pushing on and I expect there will be boats in there this year. It looks as if they will probably get 3 to each pontoon.DSCF0130

Boaters have very mixed feelings about what are classed as pram hoods that are often fitted over the stern of a cruiser sterned boat, well someone here has found a novel use for one.DSCF0132

Coming through the Tata Chemical works there was plenty of steam about, I guess this was due to the high humidity and cool temperature, it was just DSCF0134rolling of their ponds and cooling towers.

DSCF0137We stopped at Anderton services did a bit of recycling both depositing and collecting from the rubbish bin as well as using the new upgraded facilities, loos and topping up with water. Then it was on passed Anderton Lift and through Barnton Tunnel to wind before returning to The Stanley Arms where we will eat tonight, it will be the first meal out this trip and they have their own moorings, this point is extra inviting as its raining again and its only a quick walk up the steps from the boat to the pub.

Today’s Journeymap 17 11 Miles no locks in 3¼ hours

Monday, 1 January 2018

Croxton Monday 1 January 2018

Well yesterday evenings rain cleared up before midnight so we were able to see the New Year in with a glass of Port and watch the fire works in the distance before creeping off to bed. Even then we could hear the bangs well after midnight.

This morning started quite well but soon turned dull and overcast. As we set off you could see rain on the canal ahead, but nothing falling on me or the towpath, thankfully it didn't last too long. Again we met a few boats and caught up with one at Stanthorne Lock.

The river Weaver was down quite a bit since we came by almost 2 weeks ago, its all within the banks now.DSCF0113 I have my doubts they will ever make this stretch navigabile, its very bendy and subject to flooding at times of heavy rain.

As I said we caught up with a boat at Stanthorne Lock, it was a couple with their two young grand daughters and they were trying to draw the bottom paddles. Now I am all for getting young kids involved but this did worry me, as Grand dad went from side to side helping each one to wind the paddle a bit, at one point the smaller one had her hands above her head trying to pill the windlass, if something had have slipped I hate to think what would have happened. They apologised for holding us up which wasn't a problem. As we came into Middlewich John popped out for a chat and wish us happy New Year while the boat ahead dropped down Wardle Lock. When we arrived at the lock we found they had kindly drawn a paddle for us so the lock was just about full. We were able to thank them on the Trent and Mersey as they had moored outside Middlewich Narrowboats for dinner. Well there is plenty of room along there now the yard has closed down. The three Middlewich locks were against as was big Lock but that was almost full. While I waited for the lock I was buzzed by a Drone, no doubt someone's Christmas present.

Not long after leaving Big Lock it started to rain, on me this time so just passed bridge 176 we moored on the convenient mooring rings, We did consider going on to Bramble Cuttings, another couple of hundred yards, but here we are completely clear or trees etc. Since we have been here the wind has picked up again with some quite good gusts coming through every now and again to give us a little shake.

Today' Journeymap 16 7¾ miles, 6 Locks in 3¾ Hours.

I have just checked the statistics for 2017 and we covered 1400 miles and did 1043 locks, spending 184 nights on board.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Church Minshull Sunday 31 December 2017

It got a little bit breezy overnight, checking the weather station this morning indicated that we had had gusts just under 35 mph. but this morning was much quieter.

We set off at 1020 and started meeting boats almost immediately. We didn't need water but the water point at Hurleston is the last one before the other side on Middlewich so we topped up while we had the chance. I walked forward and checked the locks, the top one was empty and the second full, a boat had also just entered the bottom lock, so by filling the top we were able to meet them just below the second, saving us both some work.

At the top lock we saw our first daffodil of the season and the last this year.DSCF0106

When we came up the flight they were carrying out soil test drillings along side the canal, today they had packed up and gone, just a bit of mud in the grass beside the roadway. In the bottom lock, the one that causes most of the problems there are signs where they have drilled holes through the side walls to see what is happening behind them.DSCF0107

When we were clear of the locks we turned left on the Shropshire Union Canal where we made our way to Barbridge Junction to join the Middlewich Branch. Again we met several boats, but both locks were against us as we were following another boat, however it did mean we didn't have to close up behind us.

At Sykes Hollow Moorings a short section has been reserved as a disabled mooring, DSCF0109plastic mesh has been let into the grass so that wheelchairs don't sink in and one of the picnic tables has been modified so that a wheelchair used can pull in close.

We moored for the night on the visitor moorings overlooking Church Minshull and the Weaver Flashes, you never know we may even see fireworks at midnight from here.

Actually we moored just in time again, we had no soon secured the ropes and put the fenders down and it started raining again.

Today's Journeymap 15 7.35 Miles, 6 locks in 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Swanley Saturday 30 December 2017

Well guess what, it rained again last night but had cleared up before we set off, it was also a good deal warmer but over the course of the day the wind picked up. This resulted in my cap sailing away as we passed the entrance to Swanley Marina.

Before we set off this morning I had to do a bit of maintenance on the stove. It wouldn't come up to temperature last night so this morning after breakfast I shut it down and cleaned the burn, I can't remember when I did it last, before diesel became low sulphur it was a regular requirement.

We didn't see much about this morning and the only interaction we had with anyone was when the chap with his barrow had to wait for us at Frith Lift Bridge, DSCF0094but he didn't seam bothered by the short wait. We were to see him again in his truck at Wrenbury lift bridge, where Diana waited for him before closing the road to lift the bridge. Once through the bridge we were to meet several boats, one we knew and we met them at a bridge hole. Having met three boats we were quite surprised to find Baddiley Locks against us as we hadn't seen a boat ahead of us at all.

We actually pulled over for lunch between Baddiley and Swanley Locks as we decided that with the wind it would be impossible to eat soup on the move. As it turned out we pulled in behind the boat we had been following and as they were away before us the Swanley locks were also against us.

As I said my cap blew off passing the marina entrance but luckily it landed like a boat and I had recently waterproofed it so it floated against the towpath where Diana was able to rescue it for me. We carried on through the bridge to moor for the night a short way before Platt's Bridge, It was well dark when we felt the boat move and thought a boat had just slid past, but actually it was the surge from one coming through Platt's bridge with his tunnel light on, he has moored for the night between us and the bridge. I was quite surprised to feel the surge so early.

Today's Journey map 14 7¾ Miles, 6 Locks in 3¾ hours

Friday, 29 December 2017

Quoisley Friday 29 December 2017

Well we went to bed in bright star light and about -2° and woke up to heavy rain this morning. Even though we had about 3.5mm of rain fall a lot or the grass and tow path was still white. The rain stopped around 9am but left a very murky morning when we set off at 10.30 am. We stopped to fill with water just above Grindley Brook, thankfully our hose wasn't frozen, I had forgotten to bring it in last night, then down to the service block to dump the rubbish before tackling the locks, I hire boat pulled in behind us, a Norwegian couple out for a fortnight who thought the weather was fine.

The middle lock of the staircase was empty so I needed to bring that up to level as well as filling the top chamber. The area around the locks was like a skating rink with rain on top of ice, the walk boards across the gates were no better, so great care was taken. The Norwegian lady assisted by operating the gates on one side for me. The next three locks and the tow path between them was no better.

When we woke up the temperature was just +2° and by now it had dropped to +1.5° but the murk slowly lifted and the sun came out making it quite pleasant. We carried on down to below Quoisley Lock and round the bend to moor for the night, by the time we stopped conditions on the ground had improved a lot but it had started to rain again and the wind had picked up.

Again we are on one of the 48hr Visitor moorings, there are loads of these on this canal, a majority of them provided by The Shropshire Union Canal Society. DSCF0091Its good that people give up their time to make life more enjoyable for others.

Today's Journeymap 13 4¼ miles, 9 Locks in 3¼ Hours

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Whixall Thursday 28 December 2017

Well bit of a surprise this morning the arm was iced over, only very thinly but opening the rear doors and the sun beamed in. By 10 the ice had cleared as we went to the end of the arm to wind and then leave heading on down the canal.

There was quite a bit of traffic about today and it was good to meet someone who reads my blog, even if it was at Hampton Bank Bridge. Turning left at Whixall Moss Junction not only was the land to the right of us flooded it was also frozen.DSCF0081

We stopped at the new 48 hr moorings by Roundthorn Bridge, it seems these were installed by the Small Task Team Volunteers.DSCF0087 They must be a busy group because this was their 100th job and CRT have only been in existence for 6 years, so that is a project every 3 weeks.

The reason we stopped was when we came this way last week a lorry was stuck on the bridge and we wanted to see where he came to grief, he only just lost his off side front wheel from the tarmac. DSCF0084

We carried on in the sun shine towards Whixall, we needed to do a bit longer day today following yesterdays short day to bring the batteries back up. As we passed the Anglo Welch yard I noticed this boat on the hard, what caught my eye was the shape of the rudder, is this to try to reduce the risk of cilling when going down in locks I wonder?DSCF0088

We just passed The Whixall branch under the lift bridge and moored for the night, the same moorings we were on, on our way up.

Today's Journey map 1212½ miles, no locks in 4¾ hours.