Thursday, 31 July 2014

Star Struck


Harecastle 194After spending the night at Shugborough hall at Great Haywood we headed towards Rugeley and luckily the fuel barge was open so we filled up with 113 litres of diesel at 79 pence per litre . It was then through the speed trap in Rugeley and into the town to do a food and drink shop.


Harecastle 207Another good boat name we passed on the way.


shardlow 020After a night in Alrewas which is one of our favorite places on the canals we pulled pins at 07.45 and dropped down on the Trent river section and on towards Burton on Trent. The barrier on the right is to stop you going over the weir.


shardlow 039If they made Red wine I would have stopped and gone and done a bit  lot of sampling.


shardlow 043I am not a member so ,no comments please Nicolas..


shardlow 063After months of only doing single locks we are now back on doubles and some of them are so heavy …..Poor old  Carolyn.


shardlow 051On Saturday morning we decided to push the boat out (so to speak) and have breakfast at Mercia Marina in Willington. In front of the cafĂ© is where they sell Wide beam boats and Carolyn suggested having a look on one. I then made the biggest mistake ever by agreeing to take a look. She immediately fell in love with it and wanted one there and then. It was the same length as Inca but double the width and fitted out to a very high standard. I had to explain the drawbacks like, you are very restricted to where you could go and I would get very stressed out steering it.     But the biggest drawback was the £138,000 they wanted for it…….Keep dreaming Carolyn !!!!


shardlow 066After leaving Willington we came across this loose work barge, The Dopey workers hadn't tied it up properly, so while Carolyn expertly maneuvered Inca in next to it I managed to jump aboard and secure it to the other barge. That is now 3 boats that we have come across in the last 3 days that we have had to rescue and re-tie .


shardlow 084We finally arrived at Shardlow lock and met up with our good friends Stewart and Fran. After a cup of tea and a walk with the dogs it wasn’t long before we hit the booze like we always do.


shardlow 096On Sunday evening we ended up at The Malt Shovel and we were introduced to a band called The Struts, and what a great bunch of lads they were. This is Carolyn with lead singer Luke who comes from the same neck of the woods that we do down in sunny Devon. The band have recently supported The Rolling Stones in front of 80,000 people in Paris and have just brought out a new album. Apparently they are on their way up and are destined to be big . Anyway Carolyn seemed to be star struck even though she was well hammered at the time……. Hit the link below to watch one of their videos.


I have been told we had a brilliant night and what I can remember of it I really enjoyed it. A big thank you again to Stewart for carrying me home as I was totally wasted and would of ended up in the cut without his help. Monday just passed with out me knowing it happened as I had such a bad hangover from the night before. In the meantime Carolyn had some great retail therapy with Fran in Derby , while me and Stewart put the world to rights back at the boats…

As always we had a great time with Stewart and Fran and can’t wait until the next time we meet them. On Wednesday we intend to pull pins early and head out on to the Trent river and then turn right on to the river Soar and then south down towards Leicester.


                                                                                                                                                       Happy Days

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Haunted Harecastle Tunnel

Harecastle 014After a few very enjoyable days on the Macclesfield and Peak Forest canals it was time to get on our way and start heading back down South via the river Soar. Carolyn just couldn’t resist a final bowl of wild Raspberries as we left the Macclesfield canal.

Harecastle 032We soon arrive at Harecastle Tunnel and join the line of boats waiting to go through. It is only a single lane tunnel and they let a maximum of 8 boats through in one direction at a time. Before entering you get a safety talk from the Tunnel keeper. The water here is a very funny colour, it’s a very orange colour.

Harecastle 034Carolyn looking a little concerned before we enter as there are so many stories about this tunnel and the Ghost which is known as the Kidsgrove Bogart that lives in it. There was also an unfortunate incident a couple of Months ago where a boater fell off the back of his boat whilst steering through and drowned.

Harecastle 045The Tunnel is very low and the Tunnel keeper checks the height of your boat  to make sure you have enough air draft to get through. There are also chains that hang down from the entrance to show you the height through the tunnel. As soon as the last boat enters the tunnel the doors at the Southern portal close and then fans are put on to extract all the Diesel fumes as the boats pass through.

Harecastle 076Once into the tunnel you can see how the water gets its colour. It is caused by minute particles of ironstone rock that leaches out of the tunnel walls and in to the water.

Harecastle 067The further you get into the tunnel the lower the roof gets and you have to duck down as you pass through.

Harecastle 097Finally out after 1 hour and 4 minutes. For some unknown reason we were stopped still in the middle of the tunnel for nearly half an hour. We saw no Ghosts and had a bloody good laugh and in the end we really enjoyed the experience.

Harecastle 106After exiting Harecastle its not long before you enter the Potteries. There are a lot of closed down factories and we were told not to stop anywhere on our way through Stoke as it can be very dangerous . We often look at the amount of Graffiti that is about to give us an indication of how safe an area is. But here we even met some Canal and River trust workers who said don’t stop ,just keep going.

Harecastle 108If you needed any Crockery there was plenty in this skip at a Stoke Pottery. I guess the firing went wrong .

Harecastle 122The old and the new.

Harecastle 135I just loved this bit of engineering, a cut out in the Railway bridge to allow the lock balance beam room to swing.

Harecastle 142In the very same lock this chap was walking up the wall. It’s a Crayfish and was about 8 inches long and I bet he would give you a nasty nip.

Harecastle 153I know that Graffiti is bad but sometimes it is very clever and you have to have a good laugh at it .

Harecastle 169How the other half live, they even have their own little marina to their his and hers boats.

Harecastle 172When we reached Stone we bumped into our friend Chris on nb Belloti. Good to see you Chris and a shame we couldn’t have stopped longer ,but we will catch up again in the future.

Harecastle 175We picked up this mooring in the Centre of Stone and had intended to just do a quick shop and then off again, But Molly needed a vet and we couldn’t get her in till the next day so we ended spending the night here. Molly has been having small fits and a few  problems with her behavior so the vet has put her on Valium to see if that will sort her out. Carolyn said maybe I should take a few of them to see if they will sort me out….
We are now heading down towards Shardlow to meet up with a couple of very good friends and then on to the River Soar and then back down South . We have our Granddaughter Abbie (Curly) coming to stay while her mother swans off abroad for a couple of weeks. So we want to be off the river before she arrives and start heading down south……..

                                                                            Happy Days

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Love hearts

peak forest 021After a very noisy night in Bugsworth Basin thanks to the A6 road we pulled pins at 07.45 and headed out of the basin.


peak forest 024Passing past the old managers house where they used to measure the depth of the boats in the water ,They could then calculate how many Tons of Limestone the boats were carrying.

After leaving the basin we went in to Buxton and winded (turned) and then returned back to the Tesco moorings next to the canal. When you are living on a boat and continuously travelling you have to take advantage of big stores next to the cut and fill the cupboards and wine cellar Bilge when you can.


peak forest 031It was then back down the Peak Forest canal and we passed a very sweet smelling factory. it is the Swizzles Matlow sweet factory.   Yes it meant nothing to us either , but it is where they make Love hearts and Refreshers.


peak forest 043This is a first , Apple trees on the Bow of a Narrowboat that we have seen.


to bugsworth 030We liked this boat name, Very clever !!!!!!!


peak forest 048There seems to be a lot of money around here and they even have His and Hers Helicopters.


peak forest 055Carolyn just had to take this picture ….


peak forest 057In all our time aboard Inca I have never been up and down the weed hatch as much as I have been in the last couple of months, Reminds me of the saying about the Whores Knickers !!!!. First it was when we were up the Llangollen and now up on the Peak Forest canal. On the Langollen it was mostly plastic bags and fishing line , but on this canal it is all weed and the odd bit of plastic.. The weed hatch is a plate you remove and this then enables you to put your arms down into the water to gain access to the propeller, and then clear anything that is on it. It can sometimes be so bad that you have to cut it off with a knife or even wire cutters depending on what is wrapped around your prop. I think Carolyn needs to be trained up to carry out this task , but I can imagine the reply I’ll get when I mention it.


peak forest 070Back to Bosley locks and with The Cloud in the distance and the Sun shinning it has to be one of the best views we have had so far on our travels.


peak forest 075

After several hours cruising and dropping down the 12 locks at Bosley we picked up this mooring at the bottom of the flight. Just after mooring we were joined by Ian and Bridget on Nb YSBRD RHYDD (which I think means Free Spirit , but please correct me if I am wrong). We first met them last year when we were down in Paddington basin . We spent a lovely afternoon together having a good old natter and catching up on what we have all been up to.

Tomorrow we move again and down towards the Harecastle tunnel and back on to the Trent and Mersey canal.


                                                                                                  Happy Days

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Peak Forest canal


to bugsworth 006On Wednesday morning we pulled pins from our mooring above Bosley locks at 08. 30 and pushed on towards the Peak Forest canal. There are several swing bridges and lift bridges to operate and Carolyn even let me do one or two , but she still insists on doing most of them herself.


to bugsworth 011Passing through the outskirts of Macclesfield and most of the old factories you pass on the canal have been converted either into homes or offices.


to bugsworth 037What a not great boat name.


to bugsworth 042Yet another sunken boat.


to bugsworth 045This is the first time we have ever seen Giant Hogweed on the canals and it was a giant , it must have been over 10 feet tall.


to bugsworth 057We finally reach Bugsworth Basin


to bugsworth 058There are a couple of different basins in which you can moor. And luckily there was plenty of room so it gave us a good choice.


to bugsworth 062Inca on our mooring at Bugsworth. A lovely place , but unfortunately only spoilt by the A6 road which passes alongside the Basin . The basin was originally built to export the local Limestone and is steeped in history. The basin has only recently been restored and it has been done very well. They are currently looking for funds to try and build a visitor centre.


peak forest 006 The importance of lime over 200 years ago and today.         


peak forest 010After nearly seven hours of cruising and finally reaching the end of the Peak Forest canal there is only one thing to do.   Chill chill and chill.                                                                          


                                                                                                                                                                                                           Happy Days

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

On to the Mackie


t and m and the mackie 007After leaving the River Weaver we passed this boat…I Wonder who they worked for ???


t and m and the mackie 013 On Wednesday we called in to Middlewich to do a food and wine shop as the Tesco store is fairly close to the canal…….What a good name,  I've got a good mate called Razor Sharp  e.


t and m and the mackie 018More fun with the hire boaters. Not sure what happened here on the lock approach. He was tied on to the mooring bollard but I guess he just used the end of the centre line. The fisherman set up where he was didn’t help matters.


t and m and the mackie 012A good boat name for me !


t and m and the mackie 040Now on the Trent and Mersey and with over 30 locks in front of us Carolyn is taking them in her stride. Here we have passed under the M6 Motorway and continue our journey towards the Macclesfield canal.


t and m and the mackie 027A lot of the locks are double locks and intended to speed up your passage, but there are several that are under repair or have been filled in and made redundant.


t and m and the mackie 049Oh look !!!! A very well kept STW    …..What ever that is ???


t and m and the mackie 052As soon as we got on to the Maccelsfield canal Carolyn spotted this little lot. Its wild Raspberries and I had to reverse Inca back in to the off side bank so we could fill a bowl with the little beauties.


t and m and the mackie 056We certainly didn’t do any of that whilst on our way.


t and m and the mackie 080No wonder it takes us so long to get anywhere . Yet more wild raspberries , good job we've got some clotted cream to have them with.


t and m and the mackie 073What a Silly Cow.


t and m and the mackie 081This is 300036 and he is Carolyn's new friend. His new name is Barney…….. For some reason Carolyn likes cows.


t and m and the mackie 077Approaching Bosley bottom lock with The Cloud (A Big Hill) in the background.


t and m and the mackie 078There are 12 locks on the Bosley flight and it must be the most enjoyable and picturesque flights we have done so far. The temperature was in the mid twenties when we went up the flight . What's unusual about these locks is that all the gates are mitered gates. So there are 2 gates on each end of a lock.


t and m and the mackie 094Nearly at the top and what a view. After 5 hours of cruising and locking we picked up a good mooring at the top of the flight . We had rain on Sunday so decided to sit still and do some much needed maintenance and tidying up on Inca. We will then be heading up to the end of the Macclesfield canal and then on to the Peak Forest canal.


                                                                                                                                        Happy Days