Friday, 30 May 2014

Oh Sh!t

We pulled pins on Thursday morning just before 10.00 and before long the mizzle (mist and drizzle ) started .When we arrived at New Marton bottom lock there was a hire boater moored on the lock landing and mooring ropes attached forward and aft. Right I said I'm going to have a go at him “wait there” said Carolyn . She went and spoke to the guy and he said he was told to wait there as there was an incident at the next lock……

marton lock incident 003Carolyn grabbed the camera and dashed up to Top Marton lock to see what was going on . And when she got there this is what she found.

marton lock incident 004A hire boat had got well and truly stuck in the lock.

marton lock incident 005It was at a very precarious angle and at one time at risk of sinking

marton lock incident 006Not looking good !!!!!

marton lock incident 007There were a lot of very concerned people gathered around the lock.

marton lock incident 010The boat had entered the lock with 2 fenders down on the starboard side, Both the people got off and lifted the paddles and as the lock started to empty the boat got caught on the side of the lock .Not knowing what action to take the lock carried on empting and the stern got lower and lower. Luckily the guy who lives in the lock cottage ran out and tried to help them.

marton lock incident 011They then filled all the holes and breathers at the back of the boat then attached ropes and winches .They then started to fill the lock at the same time as winching up the stern. Eventually with an almighty splash the boat became free.

marton lock incident 012This is the boat after the incident. I think they were very lucky it ended as well as it did and lucky that there were no people onboard when it happened. The guy in the lock cottage did say that they have never had anything like that happen here before.

marton lock incident 024We eventually got through the lock and there in front of us were 18 boats waiting to lock down and more arriving behind them. It took several hours until the last one got through.

marton lock incident 026After a very exciting and wet day we picked up this mooring just above New Marton top lock…..Lesson learnt today…Don’t go through locks with fenders down.

                                                                            Happy Days

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Free entertainment


ellesmere bank hol may 2014 002                             Still moored on The Ellesmere arm and every afternoon we have some brilliant entertainment with the hire boaters coming in to try and find a mooring. The arm is nearly empty between ten in the morning until two in the afternoon, then it starts to fill up and if you leave it too late you have no chance. That is one of the reasons we like to get an early start in the morning so we can stop early and get good moorings .

ellesmere bank hol may 2014 008                              With boats moored in the winding hole at the end of the arm it makes it even more difficult to turn.

ellesmere bank hol may 2014 013                                   On Monday morning we had another walk over to The Mere. It is a lake that was formed in the Ice age, and no water flows into it and no water flows out.

ellesmere bank hol may 2014 019                                   A whicker Dragonfly on The Mere.

ellesmere bank hol may 2014 023Not long after returning back to Inca we were joined by John and Janice from Narrow boat The oak. We met them last week when we were coming up some locks on our way to Ellesmere. They have been boating for over 40 years and it was great to hear all the stories of their travels , they also gave us some great advice of where to go on the canal system. We had a very enjoyable afternoon and evening and ended up getting slightly hammered. We both look forward to meeting up with them again soon.

ellesmere bank hol may 2014 032                       On Tuesday morning we said goodbye to John and Janice and pulled pins at about 09.00 (we think),   And came across a couple more good boat names……                 I guess someone likes Rupert the Bear.

ellesmere bank hol may 2014 036                               Surely they could have thought of something to call it…..Oh!  they did.

ellesmere bank hol may 2014 038                            After a couple hours of cruising with a bit of a hangover we picked up this rural mooring just before bridge 7w.

ellesmere bank hol may 2014 040                                About 50 yards behind our mooring there is a winding hole, and yes yet more great entertainment. Instead of putting his bow into the hole to turn this guy tried to reverse in. They got in a bit of a pickle but they saw the funny side of it.

ellesmere bank hol may 2014 042                            With rain forecast for Wednesday we have decided to sit it out here and catch up with a few inside jobs. While I was down in the engine ole giving it a clean Carolyn got on with some rope splicing , she is just so talented.

With more rain tomorrow we will hopefully find a gap in the weather and move a couple of miles and get above the 2 locks at New Marton, then on Friday or Saturday we will cross the Pontcysylite aqueduct and hopefully pick up a mooring in Llangollen for a day or two…

ps     Good luck to Matt (nephew) on Britain's got Talent. He is through to the live semi final and is a dancer in the group Crazy Rouge….

                                                                                                             Happy Days

Sunday, 25 May 2014



to ellesmere 001On Thursday afternoon we had the spectacle of the Mayfly hatch with thousands of the little fellows everywhere. Apparently there are not many around this year due to the wet winter. They only live for a day or two after hatching, Once they have mated the female dips down onto the water and releases her eggs.

to ellesmere 017We pulled pins at 07.45 on Friday morning and headed towards Grindley Brook locks. It consists of 6 locks in total, 3 ordinary locks and a staircase of 3 locks. After coming through the first 3 locks ok we were second in the cue to go up the staircase.

to ellesmere 025At least here the lockie was very helpful and it wasn’t long before we got to the top ,When we got to the top there were 5 boats waiting to come down and we were told it was busy the day before with boats having to wait over an hour, although in peak season you can sometimes expect to wait up to 3 hours. Above the lock we filled with water and used the waste facilities.

to ellesmere 031After Grindley locks there are no more locks for twenty miles..But there are still a few lift bridges where Carolyn can wield her windlass …….

to ellesmere 033Just after Prees junction you come across this nature reserve. The Fens,Whixall and Bettisfield nature reserve, . It is enormous and the guide says it is home to a large number of Adders (snakes), As soon as Carolyn read that there was no chance of us stopping to have a look around.

to ellesmere 042As we reached Bettisfield we came across nb Kingfisher. This is the first boat we hired many years ago and it sowed the seeds for the life aboard we now have.



to ellesmere 050Just after Bettisfield and the other side of bridge 50 we picked up this peaceful rural mooring for the night.

On Saturday we had a bit of a late start and never pulled pins until 09.45 and set off for Ellesmere. We hoped we could get a mooring on the arm that goes in to the town as Since last time we were here they have built a new Tesco and with the wine and beer stock being depleted it would be easy to replenish it. Oh.. and we will buy some food as well.

to ellesmere 052We passed this boat on the way…..Its not as long as Inca its only ??????

to ellesmere 057After Entering the Ellesmere arm it’s a short distance to the end and in to the winding hole to turn around..(and yes Stewart I did cheat and use a bit of bow thruster to help us around).

to ellesmere 068We picked up this 72 hour mooring about 100 yards from Tesco. We ended up doing 3 separate trips to Tesco but at least we are now fully stocked although the old wallet took a bit of a hammering.

to ellesmere 072On Sunday we had a walk over to The Mere which is a large lake on the other side of Ellesmere and came across The Shropshire Triathlon. If only we had known it was on we could have entered ourselves. There were some very fit men and some very fit women taking part.

After dodging the showers we returned to Inca and Carolyn took a load or two of the bigger items for washing up to the launderette, the main items being the dogs beds and blankets. Although we have a washing machine and tumble dryer on Inca they are only a half size ones and they only take 3.5 kg of clothes. With a roast dinner in the oven and a bottle of Merlot open and breathing it will be an evening with the Grand Prix and watching Britain's got talent and hoping our nephew Matt gets in to the semi final with his dance group Crazy Rouge.

                                                                                                Happy Days

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Chilling with friends……

On Monday we pulled pins at 07.45 and cruised towards Barbridge on the junction with the Middlewich branch. We passed Hurleston Junction which takes you on to the llangollen as we had planned to meet up with our friends Stewart and Fran from nb The Boat.

to llangollen 007                                        We passed this boat on route and someone actually lives on it.

to llangollen 020                                  Just after getting moored up at Barbridge this happened. A straight piece of canal and the boat on the left hits the one on the right.

to llangollen 032Soon after mooring we were joined by Stewart and Fran and it wasn’t long before we were all sat in the sun enjoying a good old drink and a catch up on what we have all been up to. We ended spending the whole afternoon and evening just chilling, drinking and eating . Just the ticket……

to llangollen 046We had intended to pull pins on Tuesday morning but when Fran suggested a trip to the Pub for a drink and something to eat we just couldn’t leave and decided to spend another day with them in Barbridge.

to llangollen 050                                       This is Stewart and Fran's dog ….Jeb , Molly and Hamish's best friend.

to llangollen 051                                     On Wednesday morning after a very enjoyable couple of days its time to say goodbye. We will catch up again soon…Is that your bow thruster working there Stewart ???

to llangollen 060                                   We then pulled pins and had to wind (turn) at the junction .

to llangollen 070                                    It took several shunts forwards and backwards but we eventually winded……Take note Stewart no Bow thruster !!!

to llangollen 081It was then a short journey down to Hurleston junction. We had already taken all our fenders off as the locks are very narrow.The walls  have started to bow inwards. Several boats have become stuck in the past.

to llangollen 084                                    It certainly is tight in the lock and you can see where the wall bows out on the left.

to llangollen 102                                    Eventually onto the Llangollen canal and Carolyn lifting the first of many lift bridges on this canal

to llangollen 114We picked up this rural morning just before Quoisley lock and with bad weather forecast for Thursday we will spend the day here. We want to make an early start on Friday and get through Grindley Brook locks as it can sometimes be a bit of a bottleneck.


                                                                                                                         Happy Days

Sunday, 18 May 2014

20 in a day

We have had some brilliant weather over the last few days and have really enjoyed our stay at Market Drayton.The Town only has a population of just over 11000 but it has a very good mix of shops (Carolyn told me that).

Audlem 007                                                                       They still have a market every Wednesday in the main street…..We missed it.

Audlem 002                                            Apart from all the new shops there are plenty of shops in the old part of the town and we have never seen so many card shops and hair Salons in one place.

Audlem 004                                                                  Yet again the best type of shopping is window shopping.

Audlem 011On Friday night after we went to bed Carolyn heard some funny noises on the back of Inca, So of course muggings had to get out of bed and go and see what it was. And there was a black cat that had somehow got on the boat and then went to sleep and started snoring. He soon woke up when the flash of the camera went off and scarpered.

Audlem 016With the weather getting warmer by the day we decided to give the Morsal Squirrel stove a good clean and sweep the chimney. I haven't swept the chimney for a couple of months and you can see how blocked it has become from this picture looking down the pipe.It is probably only a third of the diameter it should be no wonder it wasn’t drawing very well.

Audlem 020          After 2 days at Market Drayton we pulled pins at 08.20 on Sunday morning and soon passed this chap guarding his boat. We had 20 locks in front of us , there was the Adderley flight of 5 locks and the Audlem flight of 15 locks. Carolyn decided we would do them all in one day and then pick up a mooring out in the country for a nice peaceful Sunday evening.

Audlem 063                                                                                                It can be sometimes…

Audlem 054                               The side wash coming off some of the locks really pushed us to the side and it was difficult at times to control Inca when exiting some of the locks.

Audlem 036                                                            This boat had trouble entering one of the locks.

Audlem 047                                                                    On one of the locks there was a stall set up selling homemade cakes……Well sometimes you just have to..Yum Yum.

Audlem 049                                                                               Don’t these trees look really good ????    I love trees at this time of year..

Audlem 057Nearly at the bottom of the Audlem flight and we came across the Ice cream boat. Every time a kid walked by they set off their bubble machine to entice them into buying one. And yes we did have one.

Audlem 061                                          I think Canal and River Trust should start giving their employees English lessons……..Or maybe they ran out of paint !!!

Audlem 065We finally picked up this mooring out in the country past Overwater marina. We travelled for nearly 7 hours today and as I write this Carolyn is soundo on the sofa. We are now only 3 or 4 hours away from the LLangollen canal, so tomorrow or Tuesday we should be back on the canal where we had our first narrow boat holiday many years ago and which started the dream of a life afloat  .


                                                                                                                             Happy Days