Sunday, 25 June 2017

Bugsworth Basin Sunday 25 June 2017

Last night we were moored opposite a small field of cows, amongst them was one newish brown calf, it had already had its ear tags fitted which looked bigger than its ears.DSCF8257

This morning we set off just before 1100hrs in fine drizzle, the stuff you can hardly see but makes you very wet. The first highlight of the day was coming through the second bridge on a bend and meeting the working boat Alton with Ann Mary steering, to the towpath side was a moored boat and the off side a shed and then a cruiser, but there was plenty of room for two Narrowboats to meet providing the skippers did nothing silly. We soon reached the end of the Macclesfield Canal at Marple Junction where we turned right on The Peak Forest canal heading up to Whaley Bridge. DSCF8261

Just above the junction a long length of the off side has been cleared which looks like it could well become long term moorings called Tramway Wharf, at the moment there are No Mooring signs along there but one boat was moored up, presumably with the owners consent. DSCF8263

There are a couple of lift bridges along this section of canal, the first requires a windlass to work a hydraulic pump and operate a lifting ram, the second which had been removed last time we were this way has been electrified with the control box on the towpath side requiring the use of a BWB key. A lot easier for single handers but another bit of heritage gone. DSCF8268

A short way after this is a swing bridge, this is manual and while Diana was opening it a boat came the other way so she waited and let them through as well.

We stopped for lunch beside the Swizzels Matlow sweet factory where there is a nice straight section of bank but underlying stones, so the mooring pins were only half way in, the first boat passed slowly, the second at normal cruising speed, we had finished lunch before the forth boat passed and I was just able to catch the front mooring pin as it came out of the ground.

The section of canal just passed New Mills Marina is well know for its Giant Hogweed and there is a permanent sign to warn people about it. I must say its a fine looking plant. It must stand 8’ high. DSCF8270

We stopped briefly just passed bridge 37A so that Diana could pop into Tesco. This is right in the middle of the long-term moorings that run from Whaley Bridge Branch Junction to 3 boat lengths short of the terminus. Luckily a majority of the moorings on this section are not taken so there was room for us to stop. Once the shopping was done we continued to the terminus to wind and then returned to the junction to go into Bugsworth Basin for the night. DSCF8274There were loads of spaces in the basin so we went for a little cruise round first.Map 07a I didn't go into the Upper basin as I winded just before the entrance and while I was trying to back through the bridge another boat came up and sat waiting for me. I thought it may be too silted and gave up, but the other boat sailed straight in. Looking at it afterwards that is what I should have done, but I didn't know at the time that it was possible to wind in there. We then went back and reversed up the Lower Basin to moor for the night at about 1630 Hrs. We then went for a walk round, there are lots of interpretation plaques and a 3D model of what the basin use to be like.DSCF8276

Today's Journeymap 07 8¾ Miles in 4½ hours and no locks

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Hawk Green Saturday 24 June 2017

Today we had a plan, some of it worked and some didn't. First to visit the marina for a pump out and then to Poynton to visit the Anson Engine Museum and the Nelson's Pit visitor centre.

Things started well, I winded the boat and went across to the other side for a pump out, I had to wait a short while as James was just seeing a party off in the day boat. once the tank was emptied we topped up with diesel at 69p/lt base price. We then winded again and continued on our journey.DSCF8247

It was a bit warmer than yesterday and the sun did peep out now and again. Clarence Mill in Bollington is quite a spectacular building and the smells coming from the cafe were quite tempting as we passed.DSCF8248

We moored just before bridge 15 at Poynton and had lunch, I also when on line to check the opening times of the places we wanted to visit. It was then that I discovered this year the Museum is only open Friday and Sunday, we had a 2016 leaflet and then it was Friday to Sunday, however the visitor centre is open 364 days a year, but its nothing more than a single room with interpretation boards on the back of the public toilet block so that visit lasted about 5 minutes.

When we returned to the boat it was a bit more overcast and felt like rain was coming soon so we pushed off. At one set of moorings there is a fine collection of old tools as well as 3 tractors, one being used to transport the others.DSCF8250

We wanted to stop before Marple Junction so when we saw a space on the straight piling just before bridge 5 at Hawk Green we pulled for the night. We had hardly finished tying up when it started to lightly rain.

Today's Journey map 067¼ miles in 3¾ hours with no locks

Friday, 23 June 2017

Bollington Friday 23 June 2017

A nice quiet night below the locks and this morning was fine but cool, we are talking fleeces again and not tee shirts. We planed to set off at 1000hrs and a boat came down the flight about 0930 hr, before we could respond a boat came the other way and went up ahead of us, so turning the locks. However this didn't make much difference because although we had to turn lock 12 there was a boat coming down assisted by a volockie at lock 10, so a short wait and the rest were with us.

Just below the locks on the offside there are a couple of boats moored, one of them looks as if its clad in brass sheeting.DSCF8218

The Volockie that came down with the boat soon joined us for our upward journey, but only for a couple of locks, after that we met boats at every lock except number one where another volunteer keeper (Volockie) asked Diana why she bothered to draw the bottom paddles and not just open the gates, I am not sure if Diana explained how with a leaking top gate an empty lock soon starts to fill and you can't open the gate with a 6" differential of water level.

At the top of each lock on this flight is a metal peg set in the ground on the offside. this was used to get extra purchase on the tow line so the horse could get the boat moving out or the lock easier.DSCF8221

Lock 2 was interesting with 3 I think Germans coming down, the one by the lock had a reasonable idea, but the other two wouldn't listen to him so they ended up with their boat wedged across the cut just above the lock due to one of them tying the bow rope off far to short.

I often pick up fenders that people lose off their boats, today I picked up two wheelbarrow wheels, these are useful if you need to keep the boat a bit further out, only they had a couple of unwelcome passengers onboard.DSCF8224

Only one of the swing bridges was in operation today and it is electrically motivated.DSCF8226 We only managed to stop 2 cyclists and a chap towing a trailer. Once the boat has passed it seams to take ages as first it closes, then drops down onto the supports before finally the barriers lift allowing the traffic to pass again. For some reason the footpath one is open and the footpath closed.

Not long after the bridge we passed a garden with a giant boot in it which I suspect is a child's Wendy House.DSCF8228

We decided not to moor on the pontoons in Macclesfield but to continue on out into the country side. Directly opposite the mooring pontoons they are building luxury retirement apartments and the notices on the fencing say Danger Asbestos but I doubt there is any there as I don't think a fence would contain it.DSCF8231

We tried several times to moor, we did get in at one spot but the boat ahead had a rather noisy petrol generator running on top of his roof so we pushed on and finally moored in Bollington opposite Bollington Wharf Marina where we will have the tank emptied in the morning.

Today has been bit of a day for birds, firstly where we tried to moor but failed this family of young Swallows were sitting on a fence and the parents kept swooping in to feed them.DSCF8242 Then there was the Heron, just waiting to strike at a fish but was disturbed by two people approaching from behind the boat.DSCF8244 To top it all was a duck with ether 15 or 16 chicks, we couldn't count them as they swam around like little dodgem cars so we tried counting in the photograph.DSCF8230

Today's Journey Map 059 miles and 12 locks in 5¼ hours

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Bosley Locks Thursday 22 June 2017

Well last night we had our BBQ, just after lighting it it started to rain but only lasted a few minutes so we were good to cook. DSCF8201

Again the night was very hot and we went to bed with the slid and the offside door open, I got up during the night and it was bright stare light. These are good moorings and we were not disturbed by the trains or traffic passing under the aqueduct.

This morning was like a different month, 17°C outside and it didn't climb much higher. As we set off at 1000hrs it started to lightly drizzle and by the time we reached Congleton it was real rain. We passed the boat who gave us their mooring last night moored by the swing bridge, I guess it must be their permanent mooring which would account for the fenders.DSCF7691

Just as we were entering Hall Green Lock our friends on nb. Kelpie pulled in at the water point coming from the opposite direction, so we pulled in in front of them and had coffee while we filled both water tanks. The timing was spot on as just as I turned the tap off a boater turned up and said "Is this the queue for the water point" and was able to pull in as we both left. The weather didn't improve and as we approached Congleton it started really chucking it down, luckily the first visitor mooring was free and we pulled in for lunch. Around 1400hrs the rain had stopped and we walked into town, first stop was the Town Hall which houses a good tourist information office, from here it was round to the Town's Museum, which for the limited space they have is very good, its free to enter but they have several begging notices as it costs £1000 a week to keep open. This was followed by a short walk round town and then back to the boat, although this was a pleasant mooring we prefer something moor rural so set of in a cool breeze. I am glad we did as just as we left another boat came along to use the space.

This canal is quite famous for its turnover or Snake bridges that allowed the towpath to change sides and the horses towing the boats to cross the canal without disconnecting the towing lines, quite a cleaver idea really. DSCF8205

As the early evening progressed the weather improved giving very good views of The Cloud, unlike Mow Cop which we didn't see this time.DSCF8209 We were going to moor where this photograph was taken from but it was a bit on the shallow side so we decided to carry on to the 2 Day moorings just before Bosley Locks where we fitted into the last slot on the straight section.

Today's JourneyMap 04 9½Miles, 1 Lock, 2 Canals in 4½ hrs

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Kidsgrove Wednesday 21 June 2017

We didn't sleep to well last night and I almost got up at 0600hrs to set off, but good sense prevailed but we were away at 0900 hrs not expecting to meet any boats coming down. 2 boats went up at 0830hrs so we gave them bit of a start but by the third lock we were meeting boats quite regularly so we didn't turn many locks at all.

As we came up the locks, which are paired the section between the locks behind the bottom gate have what looks like a false wooden wall. Was there at one time a paddle in here connecting the two locks together to save water like Hillmorton by any chance.DSCF8189

Passing under the M6 Motorway bridge the Highways Authority look to have finished their bridge strengthening works with these two cast concrete block, they have only done 2 supports on each side of the canal.DSCF8192

Passing the moored boats at Hassle Green this cat looked to have found the number one bed for sunbathing, as you can see he even has a cushion to lay on .DSCF8194

The wall at Snaps Aqueduct looks quite strange from up here with the turned back wing walls and the curved buttress face, but from down on the road it all looks normal.DSCF8199We stopped for lunch at the visitor moorings in Lawton and while we were there experienced our first light shower of the trip. Checking the weather forecast which showed rain for tomorrow we set off up the rest of the Cheshire locks a short way behind a Black Price Hire boat, all the next locks were with us and in each case the lock-wheeler from the hire boat opened the bottom gates ready for us. Hirers don't normally think of doing things like that. We stopped in Kidsgrove and I went to Tesco to buy more charcoal, well the weather may be OK. As I returned to the boat I expected to get a soaking and it started raining again just as I got back to the boat, this time there was quite a bit more of the wet stuff coming down. We sat it out and then did the final lock before turning up towards the Macclesfield canal, by now there was a boat coming towards us so we left the lock gate for him, but he also turned up towards the Mac. he made a much better job of it than I did, I got it totally wrong and Diana had to go back and shut the gate, I managed to pick her up halfway between the junction and the bend. We had hoped to moor on the Aqueduct but all moorings were taken so once clear of the moored boats I waved the boat following passed and started to get into the side on rough ground. An elderly gentleman off one of the moored boats who I think had just had a soaking in the rain came along the towpath to tell us he was just leaving and we would be more than welcome to have his spot, he was wearing plastic clogs, a shirt and I don't know if they were swimming trunks or his pants. We backed up to where he was leaving, his elderly wife pushing the bows out with a pole, she wasn't wearing much more than him, a lose dress and not much else.

So now we are moored on rings and the BBQ is alight and its not raining any more.

Today's Journey map 037 miles, 24 locks 1 junction in 6 hours and 10 minuets

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Wheelock Tuesday 20 June 2017

Last night was quite warm but I didn't need much rocking once a bed, we had all the roof hatches wide open as well as the engine room doors, I think I only heard one plane go over before I was asleep and the neighbours kept the noise down as well which helped a lot.DSCF8179

This morning we pushed off at 0930hrs . and arrived at Big Lock with no other boats waiting so turned the lock, as we went in a boat came down from above and gave a hand, she was single handing and had never done a wide lock before so was waiting for the boat behind to catch up. At the Middlewich three locks there was just the wool boat ahead of us waiting to go up and once another boat came down we were on our way. There were a couple of boats milling around at the junction with the Wardle canal waiting to go up the Middlewich Branch and one came out of the junction to go up the Cheshire Locks the same as us, luckily for them the lock was empty and the gates open. So we ended up following them for the next 4 locks until they pulled over for lunch just below Booth Lane Top lock, this is also where we met the first boat coming down so the lock was ready for us with the gates open. The only problem was that the last couple of pounds had been a bit low and about 20 feet from the lock entrance I went well aground. giving it a bit of well to pull off backwards I got free but also got a well fouled prop. A few good blasts back and forth moved some of it and i attempted the lock with a bit more speed and bounced into the chamber. By now the chap we had been following came out with windlass to help flush us in if needed. We carried on to below Moston to moor up for lunch, clear the prop and let the mid day heat pass.

At about 1630 hrs we set off again stopping in Wheelock to fill with water. Just before we arrived at the visitor moorings and services I was rather taken by this unusual planter in a garden on the off side.DSCF8187

As we approached the water point the ex working boat Dove, took up the last mooring spot on the bend, there was already a boat moored at the first water point.

Once the tank was full we headed off again, up the first two of the Cheshire Locks to moor just before Sawpit Lock where we moored for the night and got the BBQ out.

Today's Journey Map 02 A little over 8 miles, 11 lock in 6 hours.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Monday 19 June 2017 Croxton Flash

Good run to the boat today with the outside temperature indicating 31°C. We didn't stop for lunch and as soon as we had unpacked the car I set to refitting the exhaust system,DSCF8174 unfortunately it was about 10mm to long. Luckily the end that bolts to the exhaust manifold is screwed into a long socket,(bottom of photo) so it was a mater of unscrewing it a and cutting 10 mm from the end of the socket before reassembly. Everything was given a good dose of Copperslip and put back in place. Once that was done and leak tested ( O that sounds such a simple job) we drove to Anderton to the CRT toilet facilities to have a shower and then change. On our return we called in at Northwich Tesco to stock up for the trip. Back to the boat to unload shopping then to The Old Broken Cross for dinner by car.

It was a little after 8PM when we got back to the boat and by 8-30 PM we were on our way out of the marina, turning right towards Middlewich. By the time we had passed the end of the marina smoke was billowing from the engine room door as the Copperslip cooked.
Needless to say we didn't see any boats on the move but lots moored up. We had planned to moor behind the sunken Narrowboat but the smell from slurry spreading was very strong so we gave that a miss and pushed on. Looking back the sky was a nice shade of red. DSCF8176All the moorings we fancied after this were taken, one by a fellow CUTWEB member, so we pushed on. I had noticed a nice straight piece of bank right opposite Croxton Flash in the past where I have seen boats moored, we were pleased to find it empty so at about quarter to ten we put the pins in and called it a night. There are lots of geese and goslings on the bank of the flash so I hope it doesn't turn to noisy overnight.DSCF8178

Today's JourneyMap 01 3¾ Miles in 1hr 20Min.