Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Kitchen closed !!!


IMG_7766We have 48 hours on our moorings and with a volunteer number/boat checker who lives in the flats above the moorings, I don’t think we will overstay. The parks department certainly put on a good display of colour as can be seen here at the entrance to Verdin park.

IMG_7787There can be a problem mooring here where we are opposite the marina as it gets very full in high season. The last time we came here 2 years ago we moored on the wharf in the picture above with plenty of bollards to tie to it’s ideal for the town. But now they have built a flood defence wall ,but unfortunatetly there are no steps to get over the wall . You can clamber over but it’s a bit of a struggle. Hopefully steps or a small ladder will be provided.

IMG_7789We decided on a early start and had to drag Curly out of her bed to go for a breakfast at Wetherspoons. The Penny Black was another one that we hadn’t been to so we were looking forward to our visit.

IMG_7788What !!!  Kitchen closed in a Spoons, I’ve never heard of that happening before . I bet it was the Microwave that broke down,so in which case the whole kitchen would fail to function !!! (just a bit of cutting wit Mr Spoons)

IMG_7805This has to be one of the best Libraries we have ever seen. The iconic building on Witton Street is a Grade II listed building.  It was donated to the town by Sir John Brunner, former MP for Northwich in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and the current building dates back to 1909.The building once housed the town’s salt museum and cared for the important collection which explained the rise of the salt industry.

IMG_7795There are two swing bridges in Northwich that cross the river Weaver, Hayhurst Bridge built in 1898, and Town Bridge built in 1899. The bridges were the first two electrically powered swing bridges in Great Britain and were built on floating pontoons to counteract the mine subsidence. They were designed by Colonel John Saner. We were lucky enough to see Town bridge open to let a Canal and River Trust work boat through. Luckily Hayhurst bridge is a lot higher than Town bridge ,so they got through there without having to open it.

IMG_7800Moored opposite us in the marina was this wide beam with it’s little dog that was always on guard duty at the back. It almost looks like the opening was made for him.

With Curly going back down to Devon in the morning we will stock up Inca from the local Waitrose and then head down River and have a few days out in the countryside.

                                                                                                       Happy Days

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Great sign



                                                         Who was it that said Canal and River Trust didn’t have a sense of humour.

                                                                                                   Happy Days

Sunday, 28 August 2016



IMG_7752We hadn’t realised it when we moored up below the Anderton boat lift ,but that evening there was a Madness tribute band performing below the lift. What a result we thought ,so we enquired about getting tickets for the event . We were told that they were £22.50 on the door that evening which for a tribute band is a lot of money when people on the pontoon behind us said that they saw the real Madness a while back and that only cost £17.50 a ticket.

As we were less than a hundred yards from the stage we decided to save our money and enjoy the evening on the pontoon.

IMG_7751What a brilliant evening it was , the band did two sets which were both very good and as tribute bands go they were excellent .Carolyn and Curly certainly had loads of fun and had a good old dance on the pontoon.

IMG_7741“Stop it” ! “Stop it” ! Said Curly ,”You are so embarrassing that’s Granddad dancing you are doing”. “No chance I’m having too much fun” said me it’s Baggy trousers playing. Luckily there were only a few fellow boaters on the pontoon behind us who were also doing some dancing.

IMG_7761The following morning after a most wonderful evening we pulled ropes through bollards and winded (turned) below The Anderton Boat Lift.

IMG_7785Half an hour later and we were all tied up on the visitor moorings at Northwich. Within minutes of arriving Carolyn and Curly were off exploring the town. We will have a couple of days here as we need somewhere for Curly to be picked up by her Mum,then it’s off cruising on The Weaver.

                                                                                                                  Happy days

Friday, 26 August 2016

Anderton Boat Lift


IMG_7696We pulled pins at 08.40 and started a wet cruise towards Anderton. Just after Broken Cross the Trent and Mersey canal goes straight through the middle of the TATA chemical plant. Formerly known as Brunner, Mond and Company, it was originally founded in 1873 and was a major constituent of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) when it formed in 1926. It was divested from ICI in 1991 and was acquired by Tata Chemicals in 2006.

Luckily Carolyn and Curly were inside because the smell of Ammonia was so over powering . I don’t remember it being that bad the last time we passed through here and funnily enough it was mentioned by other boaters on social media who had complained to Canal and River Trust and the Environment agency.

IMG_7700After a wet but enjoyable cruise of just over 2 hours we arrived at The Anderton Boat Lift . With the holding moorings being empty I held Inca there while Carolyn booked us in for our passage down on to the River Weaver.

IMG_7701Built in 1875 the concept of the boat lift is simple: two huge water tanks (caissons), each with watertight sealable doors, carry boats up and down. The original counter-balanced system was replaced in 1908 by electric operation, but the lift now works hydraulically again.

IMG_7703The one thing That I promised Curly this Summer was that I would take her on The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and then on The Anderton Boat lift. Just like on the Aqueduct she saw no fear and enjoyed every minute of Boat lift.

IMG_7705After a bit of waiting we eventually got into the caisson where we were told to secure our stern to the hooks on the side. The door behind us closed and we were ready to go. The lift worked until 1983 when serious deterioration of the structure was discovered. Some £7m was raised to fund the restoration, which was completed in 2002.

IMG_7706As we started to descend the caisson started shaking. We asked the operator what was going on . He told us that both caissons used to shake like that ,but now only the right hand one which we were in shakes. Anyway it all added to the fun of it.

IMG_7711Halfway down and we pass a boat going up in the other caisson.

IMG_7712With us nearly at the bottom you can see the giant ram on the other caisson as it gets to the top.

IMG_7713There we are at the bottom, and there we stayed at the bottom . For some reason the door to allow us out wouldn’t open ,we could see it trying to operate but it just would not go up. We were told that it’s all computer operated and the lift regularly fails,It seems that modern the technology has problems getting this historic structure to do what it’s told.

IMG_7714Relief as the door finally opens and we can head out on to The River Weaver.

IMG_7730After a good ride down on the lift we managed to pick up one of the new visitor pontoon moorings which have recently been installed. With the Sun now trying to burst through the clouds we will spend the rest of the day chilling here.

                                                                                                                    Happy Days

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Sod that !


IMG_7637After a very peaceful night on the moorings just past Aqueduct marina we pulled pins at 07.40 in beautiful Sunshine and headed off along the Middlewich Branch and soon passing this fine looking House at Church Minshull Wharf.

IMG_7652Sod that for a game of soldiers as the saying goes. I don’t know how much these guys get paid but I’m sure it’s not enough.

IMG_7645Between bridges 18 and 19 and we pass these old Canal Horse stables that have been now converted into most desirable modern day living quarters.

IMG_7659After a couple of hours of most enjoyable cruising we drop down from the Middlewich Branch and on to The Trent and Mersey Canal at the town of Middlewich.

IMG_7666After a quick stop in Middlewich to replenish the cupboards we carried on Northwards on The T&M . We soon passed this boat and was amazed by the amount of stick on solar panels on it’s port side. The strange thing is that there were none on the roof and I couldn’t see any cables coming from them to link up with the boat’s battery bank. How bizarre !

IMG_7671A couple of miles before Broken cross and we picked up this mooring, one which we have used a couple of times before. It’s very similar to Tixall Wide where the canal opens up and it almost feels like you are on a lake. We will now have a night here and then cruise on for a couple of hours in the morning and then hopefully get passage down the Anderton boat lift and on to The River Weaver.                              

                                                                                                                    Happy Days

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Lift bridge turns



You may remember the e-mail I sent Canal and River Trust regarding the effort involved in raising lift bridge No 28 on The Stratford canal . link here  .The Trust replied that the bridge used to be 40 hard revolutions of the Windlass but after sending it away to Italy it is now 100 easier revolutions of the Windlass to lift it, which is just as exhausting as the 40 hard revolutions.

While on The Llangollen and with all of it’s lift bridges we have been counting how many revolutions up and down they take,in total we have operated 7 different bridges all of them more than once and believe it or not the average is 40 up and about 35 down . The bridges all seem to be of a similar size to No 28 ,so I think maybe the pump needs another trip back to Italy , although God only knows how much that would cost. Surely there’s a company somewhere in this country that can adjust a simple and very basic hydraulic pump ?.

                                                                                                       Happy Days

Monday, 22 August 2016

Leaving The Llangollen


IMG_7564We are now back from Devon and at Chirck Marina after a near 5 hour journey. Chirck is dominated by the board factory where some of the wood used is brought up from Devon. Smoke seems to bellow out of the chimneys 24/7 . The plant is owned by Kronospan an international company that manufactures and distributes wood-based panels which are used in applications including flooring, furniture and timber-framed houses. it employs over 600 people from around this area.

IMG_7573We pulled ropes from bollards at 09.30 after paying for a our stay in the marina . At £7 a night it’s probably one of the cheapest we have ever stayed in although the price does reflect the fact there is no electricity or water available on the pontoons. Passing Chick bank and it’s always good to see when the local residents put on a good display next to the canal,so many gardens that border the canal are just left to go to waste.

IMG_7576This unusual looking boat pulled up behind us at Marton top lock . It’s a replica an old Bridgewater tug and was built about 20 years ago and has recently been repainted .These craft,were known as Little Packets, were generically Dukers as were all craft working on the Duke's canal.  They were not strictly narrow steamers but varied in beam between 7' 10'' and 8' 9''. Propulsion was by a single cylinder horizontal engine.

IMG_7597After a night at Ellesmere we pulled pins at 06.40 and got straight onto the services,at that time in the morning the water pressure was really good compared to later in the day when it’s very poor. After a fill up we headed back down the Llangollen eventually arriving after a 5 hour cruise at grindley Brook locks. We expected there to be a long line of boats waiting to go down ,but luckily there were only three boats in front of us. After about 20 minutes we entered the top lock in front of a most splendid round-bayed lock keepers house.

IMG_7600Dropping down the locks we had the misfortune to encounter the most miserable and arrogant lock keeper we have ever met. I’m not sure why The Canal and River Trust would put such a person on this busy flight of locks as surely being a Trust it should have people on the front line with some people skills and a bit of respect for their customers,unfortunately this guy had neither.

IMG_7604Glad to be through the locks at Grindley we pushed on through Povey’s Lock, Willey Moor lock,and Quoisley lock, where the ducks brave the fast By-wash to get a bit of weed for their lunch.

IMG_7613Curly has been doing a lot more lock work with Carolyn and is now becoming very competent. In fact she can now operate a lock un-assisted as she did here at Marbury lock. Luckily a lot of the paddles are not that heavy so she copes very well .

After another 4 hours of cruising we eventually moored up near Wrenbury Heath where we were the only boat on the stretch. Needles to say after a long day and working all those locks Curly was soon ready for bed after we had Dinner.

IMG_7622The following morning we pulled pins at 07.30 and with 5 locks in front of us before reaching The Hurleston flight which would take us off The Llangollen canal and then back on to the Shropshire union Canal.

After 2 hours cruising we reached The Hurleston flight and Carolyn couldn’t believe her eyes, The Damson tree which she spotted on our way up was now full of ripe fruit and it seemed like none had been picked. Needless to say she was soon out with a bag and within minutes it was full. as soon as she gets time all those lovely Damson’s will be turned into a most delicious Jam.

IMG_7627Eventually at the bottom and we head out on the Shroppie and turn left . Our next destination will be to turn right at Barbridge and travel along The Middlewich Branch towards The Trent and Mersey canal.

IMG_7633We haven’t filled with diesel for some time now ,so we stopped at Venetian Marina for a top up and a bottle of Gas. We ended up having 140 litres of Diesel at 69ppl and a Gas bottle at £26.50. After a good cruise we had an early stop and picked up this mooring just past Aqueduct marina.

Tomorrow we will drop down in to Middlewich and do a shop ,then head out into the country to a lovely mooring we have used before.

                                                                                                             Happy Days

Saturday, 20 August 2016



IMG_7541After a four and a half hour journey we finally made it back down to Totnes in Devon . Carolyn was more than impressed with our hire car which was a new Rav 4. We had booked a Vauxhall Insignia but Enterprise car hire kindly gave us a free upgrade. We always use Enterprise as they do a pick up and drop off service which saves us a lot of hassle in trying to get to the hire base.

IMG_7534While in Totnes we had a stroll along the River Dart and just behind us is the mooring we had for our boat when we lived here. It was a club mooring where we were members for nearly 18 years.

IMG_7539Looking down the river and over to The Steam Packet which is a very popular Pub in Totnes.

IMG_7542The reason for our visit back to Totnes was to celebrate my Mum and Dads Diamond wedding Anniversary .The picture above was taken 60 years ago when they got married at Bridgetown Church in Totnes.

IMG_7525On the day of their Anniversary Mum and Dad ,Children ,Grandchildren and great granddaughter and all their partners went out for an evening meal at Bickeleigh mill near Newton Abbot. We all had a brilliant time meeting up with each other and enjoying the fine food and drink.

IMG_7552A couple of days later and my bestest Sister in the World ,Sharon and her henpecked husband (cutting wit,not Sarcasim) Philip held a BBQ Party at their house for family and friends to come and celebrate our parents Anniversary. Another great night was had by all and it was so good to catch up with family and friends who we have not seen for many years.

IMG_7557Its not that often that the four of us get together like this , so I just had to do this selfie with number one Daughter Chloe and number one Son Jamie. At least you can now see where they both get their good looks from !.

After a few days back down in Devon it will soon be time to hit the road and head back towards North Wales where we will then leave the Llangollen Canal and start the next leg of our Summer cruise. 

                                                                                                          Happy Days

Friday, 19 August 2016

Leaving the monty


IMG_7470We needed to be at the bottom of the Frankton locks by mid day for our passage back up on to The Llangollen canal. We pulled ropes through rings at 08.55 and then went to the end of the canal to wind (turn) before heading back on to the service point at Maesbury. Being fairly new and with not a lot of use these are some of the best services anywhere on the system.

IMG_7483It’s then a food three hours back up to the bottom lock of the Frankton flight. At the Graham Palmer lock where the Girls take Inca in to the lock.

IMG_7486We arrived at the bottom of Frankton locks at 11.30 and had two boats in front of us waiting to go up . Both the top and bottom locks on this flight are padlocked and can only be used by a Lock Keeper.

IMG_7489When we came down the flight the Lockie wouldn’t let Carolyn operate the paddles ,but he was more than happy for her to help out on our passage back up the flight.

IMG_7512After a night in Ellesmere and a quick stop off at Tesco we pulled pins at 07.40 and after a few hours cruising we passed from England back into Wales when we once again crossed The Chirck aqueduct.

IMG_7519After passing through Chirck Tunnel we carried on for a further mile before entering Chirck Marina where Inca will spend the next three or four days while we hot foot it down to Devon.

                                                                                              Happy Days