Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Marple delay


For some bizzare reason this post was deleted from our blog. It was posted before our cruise through Staylebridge . Thanks for pointing out that it had vanished Della , NB Muleless ………..Hopefully you can now seee it !!


IMG_2444After a good night moored just before Marple junction we pulled pins at 07.50 with the 16 locks of the Marple flight in front of us . This is now where I am in my element as we have never done this part of the Peak Forest before . In fact for the next few months all the canals we visit will be new to us . I just love not knowing what is around the next corner and just love any new challenges we may come across on the way.

IMG_2449The flight of locks will drop us down 208 feet ,so most locks are fairly deep.

IMG_2458Just after lock 13 Carolyn and Curly have to go below the busy road and walk through the old Horse tunnel.

IMG_2463Then at lock 12 we couldn’t believe our eyes . The top gate was hanging off and there was no way we could carry on down the flight. I immediately rang Canal and River Trust and explained the problem . They said they would have a gang out within the hour to start repairs .After half an hour these two friendly operatives turned up . Not having the gear to fix it they had to call out reinforcements.

IMG_2466Eventually an engineer turned up with a ratchet strap and after a lot of struggling including three of us sat on the balance beam the gate was finally back in place . It seems that a boat might have hit the gate and knocked out the Feathers which are the strips of metal on the floor . They are used to keep the top of the gate in position.

IMG_2483With the lock repaired I was told to drop down to the pond below and wait there for a couple of boats coming up . But unbeknown to me the pound below the one I was in was empty ,so they let down water from my pound to fill it . Needless to say my pound soon started to empty and I started to tilt over .

IMG_2469This is the empty pound below where I am . After a bit of shouting one of the Canal and River Trust guys opened the paddles above me and started filling the pound and eventually putting me level again.

IMG_2501After a four hour delay we eventually made it to the bottom of the flight and soon started to cross The Marple aqueduct over the river Goyt . With Carolyn hiding down below myself and Curly enjoyed the short trip across.

IMG_2506The aqueduct carries the canal 100 feet above the river . Unfortunately because there is a wide edge you don’t get the same experience as crossing The .pontcysyllte aqueduct which is in Wales.

IMG_2522We were then surprised to see this Fox out in the middle of the day . It wasn’t at all bothered by us passing in Inca and seemed to be enjoying the Spring Sunshine.

After a longer day than we had anticipated we picked up a mooring just before Dunkfield junction . We had been told by The Canal and River Trust guys that there was no way should we moor anywhere near Ashton or Stalybridge. We have been advised to have an early start and get through this area as soon as possible.Having never been here before it sort of makes sense to this to folk that have local knowledge.

                                                                                                                     Happy Days

A near disaster


IMG_2594Another early start for Curly and we pulled pins from our mooring at 08.10 . With full Sun we soon started to put in the miles and the locks towards are destination of Uppermill . We have been told by several other boaters that it was worth spending a day or two here at this lovely town on Saddleworth Moor.

IMG_2606At least these sheep will keep the grass down in their garden.

IMG_2593We passed this burnt out Wheelie bin on route and where shocked to hear from a local lady that the local Scroates had some how got it in to their heads that if they burnt Blue wheelie bins they would get high on the smoke given off from it . She said it had become a real problem in the area with people having their blue bins stolen and then burnt. I did Google it and it seems to be a bit of a myth and a total load of rubbish (pardon the pun) that it gives you any sort of high.

IMG_2603Come on Curly , put your back in to it.

IMG_2607Entering the small tunnel that takes you under the road and in to the lock below Uppermill.

IMG_2611Now this is where disaster nearly struck . As you can see Inca is at a bit of a strange angle as we are going up in the lock and I snapped this picture just as total panic set in. We had somehow got caught up on the side of the lock and with the lock filling and Inca stuck we were a little bit close to sinking. I shouted at Carolyn to close all paddles which she immediately did . I scrambled off the boat and with the top gate paddles dropped we started lowering the level in the lock from the bottom gates. Eventually Inca somehow dropped off the side of the lock and we then started to fill the lock very slowly. Not a good experience and not one we would want again . It turned out after talking to some local boaters that this lock which is 21 West is well known for being narrow and causing problems . So why hasn’t Canal and River Trust done anything about it ? . At least some signage to warn boaters of the problem would help.

IMG_2625Above the lock there is a lovely long line of newly installed mooring bollards with signs stating 48 hour moorings. The only problem is that it is so shallow you can’t get within 4 feet of the edge . What a total waste !!!!!

IMG_2614We managed to pick up this mooring just before the next lock where it was just about deep enough for us to sit with out touching the bottom. After the shock at the last lock we decided to have a rest here before making our way up to the canal summit at Diggle where we are booked in to go through the Standedge tunnel.

                                                                                                              Happy Days

Monday, 24 April 2017

Up the Huddersfield


IMG_2528We pulled pins just before the Dunksfield junction at 07.50 and turned right onto The Huddersfield canal . Turning left would have taken us along the Ashton canal and in to Manchester .

IMG_2533Another first for us as we travel underneath a Supermarket.

IMG_2535In to the first lock of The Huddersfield narrow canal and we soon got an insight in to how hard it would be to lock through this canal . The Huddersfield narrow canal runs just under 20 miles (32 km) from Lock 1E  near Aspley Basin in Huddersfield, to the junction with the Ashton Canal at Whitelands Basin in Ashton-under-Lyne. It crosses the Pennines by means of 74 (bloody) hard locks and the Standedge Tunnel.

IMG_2561We had already been told by Canal and River Trust workers and local boaters to get through Staylebridge as quick as possible due to anti boat behaviour.

IMG_2543To be honest as we past through at great haste all the locals seemed friendly enough ,but at every lock landing  through the town there was broken glass ,beer cans and used needles . It also made it impossible for us to let Hamish off the boat during our cruise through the town . Such a shame as there looked to be several good mooring spots .

IMG_2545You can tell by the sides of this lock that it’s not very well used . From what we have been told there are very few boaters that use this canal . We are now slowly but surely finding out why this is such an under used waterway.

IMG_2546At the top end of Staylebridge we cruised past the Wooden Canal Society's wharf.

IMG_2551This is a first for us . We have never travelled between the legs of a pylon before. We even had the pleasure of a Goose flying over us at the same time.

IMG_2564We then picked up this mooring for the night which is next to the srvices above Staylebridge . We were told to not stop before we reached this as we would still be in Bandit country.

IMG_2571 Being on the main flight path in to Manchester Airport we enjoyed watching the planes passsing overhead . We will now have a night here before moving up and hopefully picking up a mooring at Uppermill on Saddleworth moor.                                                                                                      

                                                                                                Happy Days

Sunday, 23 April 2017



IMG_2380With a planned couple of days off from cruising we settled in to life at Bugsworth basin.There’s loads of history here and it all started when work on both the Peak Forest Canal and the tramlines from Dove Holes quarry were completed in the late 1700’s.This enabled limestone to be transported from the quarries by horse drawn waggons, and either be transferred as limestone to canal barges, or burnt into lime in kilns at the basin, and then shipped out.
Once Britain’s largest inland port the basin became dis-used in 1927 as a result of the dominance of the railways.

Thanks to the efforts of the Inland Waterways Protection Society and financial assistance from local councils and the EEC, the basin was re-opened on 3rd August 1999. Bugsworth Basin is classed as an ancient monument.

IMG_2359This is the Navigation Inn that stands at the head of the basin . It’s famous because it was once owned by Pat Phoenix who played Elsie Tanner in Coronation Street and was regarded by many as being the first ever sex symbol on uk TV.

IMG_2391The Moon (well half of it) over Bugsworth Basin.

IMG_2397There is also a small museum which gives a bit of an insight in to the history of the basin.

IMG_2398I don’t think I would have liked working here . With lime kilns chucking out all sorts of horrible chemicals and all the hard manual work it must have been a nightmare.

IMG_2407We soon got friendly with the basin warden who is called Pablo . He really works hard to keep the area in tip top condition . Having had our 48 hours in the basin he said we could stay another couple of days if we wanted to. With Curly loving it here we decided to have an extra day as Carolyn and Curly fancied taking the bus from near by Whaley Bridge to Buxton.

IMG_2409Eventually our time was up and we had to make a move as we are booked to go through The Standedge tunnel . Before leaving we stopped off at the services to top up with water and get rid of waste.

IMG_2383I’ve told Curly that she needs to be competent in all aspects of Narrowboat life and that includes emptying the toilet cassettes . But as you can see by the look on her face there is no way she will ever do that. She told me that it was a Blue job and not a Pink job . I wonder where she got that from Sharon (Nb Oakapple) .

IMG_2425After topping up the cupboards from the Tesco and winding in Whaley Bridge we headed back out on to the Peak Forest canal and made our way past this sunken boat.

IMG_2438We had to laugh at this day hire boat as he had missed the winding hole further back the canal and tried to turn just by this lift bridge. Needless to say he got wedged between the banks good and proper. We did offer them a bit of advice ,but they seemed to know better so we left them alone.

We then picked up a mooring about a mile before Marple. Tomorrow it’s an early start and then down through the Marple flight of locks to the lower Peak forest canal and then hopefully pick up a mooring for the night before we join The Huddersfield canal on the following day.

                                                                                                                      Happy Days

Saturday, 22 April 2017

4 years !



We have now just completed our fourth year aboard Narrowboat Inca . In the last 12 months we have been to London then up the Thames and onto the river Wey from there we went up to Oxford and then to Birmingham . It was then down to Droitwich and up the river Severn to Stourport . From there up on the Llangollen for a few weeks before going up to Chester and Ellesmere Port . We then had another trip down onto the river Weaver .Then it was all the way back down to London again with a few stops on the way and a couple more weeks in the capital. Over the Winter we headed back towards the Midlands and dropped down the South Oxford canal to Banbury where we got iced in for a few weeks. In the last 12 months we have covered 1,231 miles and done 874 locks. Our trusty 43hp Beta engine has run for 1,276 hours and not missed a beat.

Our totals for the four years are.. miles covered 4,544 ( mostly steered by me ) , locks 3,239 ( mostly done by Carolyn )  . Engine hours run 4,320 . Toilet cassettes emptied 653 and every single one done by me. Blogs posted 716 again all by me. Bottles of Red wine consumed by me ???? probably in the thousands ,and I have enjoyed every single one. We are now well in to our 2017 cruise and heading North to explore some new canals that we haven’t visited before.

As you can see we are genuine continous cruisers and are always on the go. Under the terms of our licence we only need to do just over 20 miles a year and move a short distance every 2 weeks ,but it was always our intention from the start to try and see as much of the UK canal system as we could before hanging up our windlasses and moving onto the next phase of our retirement. ( What ever that is )


                                                                                                      Happy Days

Thursday, 20 April 2017



IMG_2283Another early start from our mooring at Bollington and Curly is slowly but surely falling out with me , she just doesn’t like early mornings. We are soon passing Clarence Mill which once again is another mill converted in to flats. Talking to a local yesterday he said that a 2 bedroom unit would set you back about £200,000 although they are very spacious.

IMG_2293At bridge 13 just past Middlecale farm we came across this most amazing outdoor workshop . Although it seems to be just for display it is most impressive.

IMG_2294It might just look like a post , But honest to God when I clicked the button to take this picture there was Kingfisher sat on the top of it.

IMG_2303The end of the Macclesfield canal and this is the junction at Marple . We will eventually head down the Marple flight of locks which is on the left when we exit , But we are going to head right and spend a few days in Bugsworth Basin.

IMG_2305Not something you see very often on the canals and what a well maintained old wooden boat this is .

IMG_2308We went through three lift bridges during our cruise along the Peak forest on our way in to Bugsworth basin and at everyone we met another boat and it ended up with Carolyn operating each bridge. It’s funny how that always seems to happen to us.

IMG_2314Nearly at the end of our cruise and we head through New Mills which is famous for it’s sweet factory . It’s the Swizzles Matlow factory with it’s best selling product which is Lovehearts . As you cruise by you get the scent of the sweets being produced in the factory and it’s always good to get a wave from the people who are working inside .Needless to say Curly wanted to stop and see if she could get a tour around the factory.

IMG_2329After a great near six hour lock free cruise we arrived at Bugsworth Basin .On entering we turned right and went to the end of the basin before winding and coming back to the bottom basin .

IMG_2395We then picked up this mooring (top of picture on the right) in a near empty basin. The moorings here are 48 hours although we have been told if we want to stay a bit longer we could ask the Warden for a short extension. With Carolyn and Curly wanting to stay here as long as possible it looks like we could be here for a few days.




                                                                                                          Happy Days

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Yarn Bombing


IMG_2208With an estimated six hour cruise and a flight of 11 locks in front of us we pulled ropes through rings from our mooring below Bosley locks at 07.50 ,much to Curly’s annoyance as she loves to have a lay in.

IMG_2210Entering the bottom lock and you can see that it’s been Yarn bombed . We see this all over the country on locks it’s also called storming, guerrilla knitting, kniffiti, urban knitting or graffiti knitting and is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk.

IMG_2215You just have to admire these beautiful stone built locks as you ascend the flight. Just imagine the amount of work that went in to making these stones and then forming the locks and all with hand tools.

IMG_2220With mitred top and bottom gates Curly comes in to her own as she can now open and close gates and on this visit has become competent in not only lifting paddles but also dropping them.

IMG_2236Nearly at the top of The Bosley flight and as Carolyn brings Inca up and in to the lock where the views are absolutely brilliant.

IMG_2240A rare picture I know ,but just occasionally I do the odd lock or two.

IMG_2251Eventually at the top of the flight and we are at 518 ft above sea level and in to the foothills of The Peak forest . We now have the use of the service block to get rid of our rubbish and waste . Why all services can’t be like this I will never know . It even has showers and washing machines. For what we pay in licence fees to Canal and River Trust it’s about time they supplied more facilities like this throughout the canal network.

IMG_2263What a waste of money this sign is although CRT seem to think it’s funny …The money could be spent so much better on improved maintenance and facilities.

IMG_2271Moving on and we are soon passing through Macclesfield and the marina. With the Sun out what a perfect day for cruising . Next to the Marina is yet another old factory/warehouse that’s been converted in to living accommodation .

IMG_2277After a good six hour cruise we arrived at Bollington and picked up the very end mooring on the aqueduct . With it being so shallow it meant our arse end being out a bit ,but as we could get the front in fairly close we were happy with that.

After a night here it will be another good cruise tomorrow as we want to get off The Macclesfield and then onto The Peak Forest Canal and hopefully make it all the way in to Bugworth Basin at Whaley Bridge.


                                                                                        Happy Days