Sunday, 17 December 2017

Sunday 17 December 2017 Bramble Cuttings

We arrived at the moorings after a rather filthy drive up the M5 and M6 from my son's in Gloucestershire. There were a few hold ups due to road works but nothing major, it was just the mist and fog mixed with the road spray and at times heavy rain.

We arrived at the moorings a little after 2 pm and I am pleased to say that shortly after setting off the rain stopped and it was quite pleasant.

The first job back on the boat was to refill the potable water system, we always drain it this time of the year when we leave the boat and we recorded - 4°C inside while we were away this time. Its not a major job draining and refilling, but it has to be done before the heating can be put on, I think the boat was about 8°C when we arrived. One of the things I was dreading was finding the marina still frozen over, thankfully the ice had all gone.

We pushed off just before three and found a small amount of ice floating around just outside the marina but only bits. As we approached the new Oak Meadow marina the canal was covered in mist, just that one short bit.DSCF9923

We carried on and encounter some more very thin ice at the next flash. By now the weather was quite pleasant, it felt warmer than last trip. As we made our way along the canal with the light fading the pheasants that had already gone to roost in the trees over hanging the canal decided to make a move as we approached. After an hour we arrived at Bramble cuttings with no other boats in sight, so we decided to moor on the last stretch of moorings that the Broken Cross boat Club installed with a nice gravel walkway and wooden edging.DSCF9926

Today's Journey Map 013 miles in 1 hour

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Park Farm Marina Tuesday 5 December 2017

The only other boat at Bramble Cuttings left a 8am this morning, we were away at 10 am. The Broken Cross Boat Club who maintain and improve these moorings have provided a picnic bench with wheel chair access, its a pity there are not more of these about. I don't expect it gets much use here as the site is not that wheelchair friendly at the moment, maybe they will make one of the moorings more disabled friendly.DSCF9861

We only did 3 miles today, a little over an hour, but in that time I saw at least 3 Kingfishers, I think this was the best photo I managed to take.DSCF9887

The Oakwood marina is really coming along now with a roof on the building and several pontoons installed.

DSCF9897  DSCF9896  DSCF9895 

Once back in the marina it was a case of draining the water system down and loading the car before setting off home. I like to leave the batteries as fully charged as I can when leaving the boat, although we have 2 small solar panels to maintain them while we are away, this was the charge reading just before I stopped the engine.DSCF9908

Today's Journey Map 113 miles in 1¼ hours

A map or the 11 day tripIMG_0237 (2)

Monday, 4 December 2017

Bramble Cuttings Monday 4 December 2017

It was a little brighter this morning when we set off just before 10 am but it wasn't long before the mac was on, only light drizzle and not much of it. We only met one boat all day and that was in the only narrow bit on a bend, blind where bridge 158 use to stand. what's more he is also a member of the Trent and Mersey canal Society and we had dinner with him on Friday night.

CRT were working at Rumps Lock installing a new Farm type wooden gate to stop vehicles driving up beside the lock, I am not sure if it will impede boaters walking up to operate the lock or not. There was a volunteer there who opened the bottom gates for us so we didn't have to walk down through their works site.

The Swans at Middlewich have some reason moved further out of town for some reason, so they are now using the bank between the canal and the main road, when they were closer to town there was a fence between them and the road, lets hope they have the sense not to go wandering in that direction.DSCF9855

When we came up last week there was a sunken boat opposite the winding hole, I see that has now been removed.

Middlewich Narrowboats was all closed up when we came passed and all the hire fleet has gone, as have most of the offside long term moorers. Passing the dry dock below the lock it has now been sealed off with fencing to stop unauthorised access. DSCF9858

We caught up with a boat going down the flight and they had just gone into Big Lock when we arrived so I was able to slide in beside them, below the lock we stopped for water before continuing on to moor for the night at Bramble cuttings.

Ether the canal is very high through here at the moment of this section of towpath near Croxton Flash has subsided even further.DSCF9859

Last time I posted that we moored here someone enquired about the mooring rings here and if that were part of a project to supply mooring rings all round the Cheshire Ring. I don't thinks so as the rings were installed by the Broken Cross Boat Club, this one in 1998 by the look of the inscription.DSCF9860

Today's Journeymap 10 7 miles 9 locks in 3¾ hours

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Paddy’s Wood Sunday 3 December 2017

A bit better day today but it wasn't long before I had to put a coat on because of the fine rain. The moorings filled up last night and there were 8 boats here when we pushed off just after 10 am.

The pound below Thurlwood Top Lock was well down and we did wonder if we would need to let water down, I scraped out of the lock but once a boats length into the canal was clear of the bottom, so just made my way slowly down the middle of the channel to Thurlwood Bottom Lock without a problem. Below the lock in the next pound was fine.DSCF9847

As Diana brought Harnser out of Pierpoints Bottom Lock, I spotted a lady in the distance who indicated to me with a windlass that she was coming up, so we were able to leave the gates open and the rest of the locks should be with us, I warned her of the low pound ahead, her boat draws more water than ours, in turn she told me I had another low one near the bottom.

Some time in the past the bridges on this canal have been renumbered, but the old 141 and 143 still carry their original numbers. In the guide books and maps you will find them listed as 142 and 145, just to keep you on your toes.DSCF9850

As we were working down Hassall Green Top Lock a boater joined me to close the offside bottom gate. He was single handing delivering a boat that we had just passed and we agreed that we draw a paddle on one of each of the twined locks for him as we went down, so it would be full when he arrived. We actually managed better than that and in most cases could open top gate ready for him so when we got to Wheelock he was only just behind us.

Most Narrowboats have their hulls pained black, some carry this black up to the first guard rail or rubbing strake when others, like us take it right to the gunwale. This boat was all blue, including under the water line.DSCF9851

The next low pound was the one between Saw Pit Lock and Wheelock Top lock, a passer by told us how 4 boats had been stuck in there this morning, although it was down we got through OK. Wheelock was the only lock I didn't set for the chap behind, I didn't want to take any more water out of the pound.DSCF9852

It was a toss up whether to moor at Wheelock or carry on, by now the weather had cleared so we went on to moor at Paddy's Wood, not sure why its called that as there is no wood.

Today's Journey map 09 5 miles, 14 Locks in 3½ hours

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Rode Heath Saturday 2 December 2017

We had a good night last night at The Red Bull pub with the Trent and Mersey canal Society. They laid on a good Christmas meal with loads of fresh veg, we even managed to win a prize in one of the quiz rounds, mind you, we came last in the other round. Not quite a bottle of Prosecco but a Prosecco Candle.DSCF9843

The highlight of the evening was when the chap with a bald head managed to smash the glass globe on one of the wall lights cutting his head in the process, I wont mention names. It was one like this.Capture

Looking out from the boat yesterday evening this was our view.DSCF9822

How different it all was this morning with a grey, damp, dull day with fine drizzle that gets in everywhere. First job was to fill with water, the tap was just behind us and then off down the Cheshire Locks.DSCF9827

At one time after the locks were paired there was a connection between the two lock so that emptying one the water could be used to fill the other. On the derelict lock at Church Top Lock you can still see the remains of the paddle gear with just the end of the rod visible.DSCF9830

As I was getting ready to go into lock 50 while Diana was setting Lock 51 Martin from the coal and diesel boat Halsall turned up on his bike to set the adjoining lock, so we waited in our lock to let him get ahead, he even had 51 all set ready for him, but he didn't get very far as the pound below 51 was dry, so while he let water down through 51, Diana let water down behind us through lock 50. It wasn't long before we were both on our way again.

For the first time I have managed to get a reasonable shot of Snap's Aqueduct, its just a shame that the weather was not better, but maybe its the poor light that shows the curved walls off better. DSCF9838

We had planned to moor for the night at Rode Heath and when we arrived there was Halsall selling someone diesel. DSCF9840

We went by and moored for the night while Martin and Brian carried on down to Wheelock. He is actually  in Middlewich.

Today’s Journey map 08 2½ miles 9 locks in 2¼ hours

Friday, 1 December 2017

Red Bull Friday 1 December 2017

Not so cold last night so no ice to take even more blacking off today. We set off at twenty to eleven as we didn't have far to go, just to the visitor moorings at Red Bull services. It was bit of a coincidence actually as the journey was 1.17 mile and it took us 1hr 17 minutes.

A quick shot from the top of the aqueduct looking north down the Cheshire Locks on the Trent and Mersey canal, the sky is not quite so bright today.DSCF9816

We were delayed slightly as we left the end of the aqueduct on the right angle bend, there was a CRT tug there waiting for a boat coming the other way to pass all the moored boats so we had to tuck well over to allow him to get round the bend and cross the aqueduct before we could follow the CRT tug back to the Trent and Mersey canal at Hardings Wood Junction. We both turned north and down the Cheshire Locks, only he had the locks filled ready for him from the boat coming up.

There is a finger post on the junction that was erected to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the restoration. I still think that was the best Logo that The IWA ever had.DSCF9817

The piling along this section of the Trent and Mersey Canal has rotted all the way along the water line, I wonder if it will all collapse in one go, or if the underwater section is the bit doing the work holding the bank up.DSCF9818

We stopped just north of the aqueduct as there were a couple of spare mooring rings on the towpath but we could only use the stern one, nothing at the bow. Rather than drive a pin in I walked down and checked out the visitor moorings by the CRT Red Bull offices and found a good 80 foot of space, so that will do us. Wandered back up to Harnser and we dropped down through Red Bull lock to moor for the night with a ring at each end.

You will see from the map that we have done the 270° ring again first crossing the Trent and Mersey and then ducking under the link to the Macclesfield canal.

Today's journeyimage 1.17 miles, 3 locks in 1hr 17 minutes.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Kidsgrove Thursday 30 November 2017

We woke this morning to find the canal covered in a very thin layer of ice and checking the weather station found that the outside temperature dropped to -5.6° last night, but it wasn't long before the sun was out beaming down on us. DSCF9796

We decided to wait until 11 o'clock to set off to let it thaw a bit, we only had the boat hull blacked last month so didn't really want to cut it off at the water line. The boat moored ahead of us but travelling the other way set off about half ten and the ice didn't look to bad.

As we headed south the ice got harder and thicker, up to about 8mm in places but mostly much thinner, we had to cut a channel all the way to Heritage Narrowboats, after this we found that someone else had already been through.DSCF9801

The railings each side of the Dane Aqueduct have been nicely painted, but I am not sure why they picked the bigger uprights out in that redish colour.DSCF9800

There are some very long straight sections on this canal, here I am looking back as far as the eye can see.DSCF9805

CRT contractors were hard a work cutting the edges of the towpath, the ice supported the cut grass as it fell on the canal. They were also cutting well to the back edge.DSCF9803

The railway criss-crosses the canal in several places and then runs parallel for long stretches often crossing long viaducts, I wonder if HS2 will look as splendid.DSCF9777

This canal is renowned for its elegant turn over bridges, these were built to allow the horse towing a boat to cross the canal without un-hitching the tow line, a horse walking towards us would pass under the bridge on the left of the picture, climb the spiral ramp, cross the canal and then come down the ramp on the straight right hand side.DSCF9809

A couple of days ago I mentioned the towpath closure at Hall Green Lock, I took a photo today and as you can see the ends of the rails stick out over the water, this side of the rails is the lock and the DSCF9812other side the water point and visitor moorings. So if you leave the moorings or stop for water before the lock you have to hake you crew back on board to pass the barriers that stick out over the water, then pull in again so they can work the lock. This barrier is because of a damaged bridge about 300 Mts away.

Also at Hall Green Lock a CRT volunteer and I assume a CRT employee were laying a new path along half the lock, but they looked to be topping it up with sand.DSCF9813

We continued on to moor for the night on the Red Bull Aqueduct as tomorrow night we will be going to The Red Bull pub for Christmas dinner with The Trent and Mersey Canal Society so we didn't want to be iced in miles away.

Today's Journeymap 06 9½ miles, 1 lock in 4 hours.