Thursday, 17 October 2013

Acton Trussell to GH Marina

Post written 11 months late – part memory and part assumption.

5 hours engine

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Penkridge to Acton Trussell

Very wet morning, and were going to stay put, but cheered up the afternoon so we moved. Stopped off at Midland Chandlers to look at a 12 volt fridge. However, their opinion of how many amps it would use was not encouraging. A general discussion about the way the batteries run down overnight when the inverter is on led to their recommendation that I consult Clive Penney.

Tied up just beyond Acton Trussell. Running the engine a bit further in the evening.

3.5 miles, 4 locks, 4 hours engine

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Cross Green to Penkridge

Much better weather than yesterday. Still with a nip in the air, but no rain and some sunshine, especially later. A stop for lunch at Gailey. Penkridge moorings surprisingly full so we came through Filance lock and tied up just before the winding hole. Will run the engine for another hour tonight.

8.2 miles, 6 locks, 6 hours engine.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Bridge 8 to Cross Green

Horrible wet day, but relatively easy travelling. Water at Autherley Junction, and then tied up round the corner for lunch. Eventually moored at the Fox and Anchor, in order to have a birthday meal.

6 miles, 1 lock, 6 hours engine

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Brewood to Bridge 8

Café church in Brewood, and then lunch at the Bridge Inn. Were going to stay in Brewood, but the amount of bird poo on the boat made us change our minds, so we cruised down to the moorings between Bridges 8 and 7.

Ran the engine in the morning to get the voltage up for the day, then cruised and will run it again for an hour before 8 to see us through the night.

2 miles, 0 locks, 3 hours engine

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Gnosall to Brewood

Another grey day with intermittent rain or drizzle. Got to Wheaton Aston just after coffee, filled up with diesel from Turner's and bought a couple of 25 Kg bags of Wulfruna solid fuel (better than Excel, he said) for £10.50 each. Lunch on the moorings at Wheaton Aston, and then a straight run through to Brewood, tying up on the moorings just after Bridge 14. Timing below assumes an hour of engine tonight.

8.5 miles, 1 lock, 5.5 hours engine.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Bridge 47 to Gnosall

Very mixed weather-wise. Cold, wet and windy. Stopped at Norbury Junction for water. Tied up at Gnosall for a late lunch and decided to stay, tied on the 48 hour moorings between the two pubs. Deciding factor was a good Three signal, and good enough TV reception to watch England play Montenegro.

Engine in the evening.

7.3 miles, 0 locks, 4.5 hours engine

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Market Drayton to Bridge 47

Cold day, getting colder, but dry. Through the Tyrley locks and the Woodseaves cutting without problems. Decided not to go for Norbury so tied up at the the SUCS visitor moorings just before Bridge 47. Ran the engine for an hour in the evening. Used the orange tubucket half way along the boat to ease the banging on the shelf.

6.7 miles, 5 locks, 5 hours engine

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Market Drayton

Market day. Stayed put. Shower of rain as we ate our pork baps in the market. Much heavier rain around 4. Used Wetherspoon's to download an iPlayer programme. Went to Morrisons and back to the boat the shorter way.

0 miles, 3 hours engine

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Audlem to Market Drayton

Beautiful day with clear blue skies. Tied up at the visitor moorings in Market Drayton before bridge 63. Ran the engine for a further hour in the evening.

6 miles, 17 locks, 6 hours engine

Monday, 7 October 2013

Hack Green to Audlem

Thought about visiting the nuclear bunker, until we found the price. So pushed off up the Shroppie, and  stopped at the Shroppie Fly. The Bridge Inn has an acoustic session tonight, so we've decided to stay. Ran the engine in the evening.

3 miles, 3 locks, 3 hours engine

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Nantwich to Hack Green

Winded the boat before breakfast, to get some charge and hot water, and to be facing the right way to go back and get a pump-out and some solid fuel.

After church put undercoat on the swan-neck. It almost certainly needs another coat. Started out after a late lunch, and went back to Nantwich marina services for the pump-out and a bag of Excel. Managed to wind at the entrance to the marina with Margaret pulling the bows round from the bank. Just room to do it.

Tied up above Bridge 85 at Hack Green. Beautiful, isolated spot. Ran the engine again from 7 – 8 to charge for the night.

5 miles, 2 locks, 5 hours

Saturday, 5 October 2013


Ran the engine for a hour this morning, and that gave enough juice for the whole day. Then went into town and got some stuff from a vegetable stall in the market, and some steaks from the butcher. Coffee at the bookshop.

After lunch, Margaret did a great job of cleaning the windows on the left side of the boat, and I started on the painting of the swan-neck – rubbing it down and putting primer on bare bits. Decided to prime the long pole as well, as the tow-path here seems well set up for it to stay while it dries.

Running the engine again tonight.

0 miles, 3 hours engine.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Sykes Hollow to Nantwich

Cloudy but fine in the morning. Set off about 10, got a wash going and was able to fill up with water at Burbridge Junction – better pressure than I remember in Nantwich itself. Also was able to buy some CRT pump-out tokens at Midway Boats.

Tied up on the visitor moorings on a straight bit of the long curve at Nantwich. Got the washing out drying on the tow path until the rain started and we brought it under the cover. Walked down to Morrisons / Aldi in Nantwich once the rain had stopped. Ran the engine for an hour in the evening.

6 miles, 1 lock, 4.7 hours engine.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Middlewich to Sykes Hollow

Lazy start, but got up above the first lock by 11. Cloudy, but not unduly cold. Pulled in for lunch at Sykes Hollow Leisure Ares, and then the promised rain arrived, some of it in very heavy bursts. So we stayed put.

7.6 miles, 2 locks, 3 hours

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Stayed put in the boatyard overnight on Tuesday, so they could fit the Sterling AB12160 first thing. In the end, everyone was a bit late, but it got done. Much bigger job than the Sterling bumph and website suggest – mainly in relation to creating and siting the cables.

Moved up above Wardle lock again mid-afternoon. Ran the engine in the evening, though after being on a hook-up this probably wasn't really necessary.

0.3 miles, 1 lock, 2 hours engine.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


Brought Erin Mae down from above Wardle Lock to Kings Lock Chandlery for engine and Webasto service. All seemed to go very smoothly.

1000 hour engine service (new oil, fuel and air filters). New oil in engine and gearbox. Flushed out coolant system and replaced antifreeze. Adjusted tappets.

Standard Webasto service. Didn't need anything beyond the gasket set.

Replaced the water filter under the kitchen sink – vast improvement.

0.3 miles, 1 lock, 2 engine hours.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Aqueduct marina to Middlewich

Following phone calls, Kings Lock Chandlery seemed a much better bet for engine and Webasto service, so we booked in for tomorrow and went back to Middlewich. Tied up above Wardle lock, just through the next bridge. Washing went out on the drier on the BrollyMate. Tight fit.

Steve from Evesham marina sent through the details of the Sterling AB12210 device. I asked for a price for fitting, and details of where they could do it. No response yet.

Went to the White Bear to download yesterday's episode of "By Any Means". Their wifi seemed pretty good, and the BBC seem to have done something at last with the Desktop application for downloading and playing iPlayer stuff. No longer the old application and the new one said nothing about needing Adobe Air. We shall see.

Also did some database work in The White Bear. We're getting through the Three allowance quickly this month – possible the MacBook did an automatic download of the OS update.

6.5 miles, 1 lock,  3.5 hours engine

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Middlewich to Aqueduct marina

Intended going to Nantwich – good for the engine and the batteries. But what with one thing and another called in at Aqueduct marina for some diesel, and they said they would see tomorrow about doing a service to both Webasto and engine. So decided to moor up near at hand to wait for a phone call around 9.30. But we have the option of going back to Middlewich for the service.

40.5 litres of diesel

7.5 miles, 1 lock, 5.5 hours engine.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Marston to Middlewich

Lovely bright day. Little traffic until we hit the reed-beds. The short pound in Middlewich was suffering was silting up and some sluice problems, so getting across it was quite dodgy. Tied up between the first two bridges on the Middlewich arm of the Shroppie.

Running the engine a lot in addition to cruising to get as much charge as possible.

9.5 miles, 5 locks, 7 hours engine.

Friday, 27 September 2013

T&M Bridge 213 to Marston

Lovely sunny day for cruising. Passed the place where the breach occurred a year ago. Went through the twisty Saltersford and Barnton tunnels. Water at Anderton. Tied up at the Marston visitor moorings on the bend just after "Big Wood".

9 miles, 0 locks, 4.5 hours engine

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Lymm to T&M Bridge 213

Voltage down to 9.6 overnight – can't think of any reason for it. So we ran the engine early. But also found I'm way overdue the engine service. Thought about getting it done at Thorn Marine or Claymoore Navigation, but didn't like the prospect of that as we passed. In the end decided to get back to GH by the quickest means.

Tied up in the middle of nowhere, just south of Bridge 213, where the edging is a bit better than the site north of the bridge recommended by Nicholson's.

12. 6 miles, 1 lock, 7.5 hours engine.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013


Went for coffee and cake at The Terrace.

Then stayed put in Lymm for the day. Did a load of IT work.

0 miles, 3.5 hours engine.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dunham Woodhouses to Lymm

Went to see Dunham Massey house in the morning so started cruising after lunch. Filled up with water at Little Bollington, since we'd been able to get so little in at Waters Meeting.

Nice sunny afternoon for cruising. Tied up just after Lymm Bridge in the centre of the village.

3.6 miles, 0 locks, 3.5 hours engine.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Sale to Dunham Woodhouses

Met Office promised sun – failed to materialise, but at least it stayed dry. Ran the engine quite a while for top up and hot water. Mgt did a small shop in the Co-op in Sale, then we took off, glad to leave the King's Ransom behind on this occasion after a little trouble from guys exiting the pub at night.

Bridgewater wide and deep – good progress through Altrincham. Tied up at the aqueduct at Dunham Woodhouses, from which it's a short walk to Dunham Massey. Enjoyed the visit to the gardens. Ran the engine again for an hour to try to keep the batteries topped up.

5 miles, 0 locks, 5 hours engine.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Castlefields to Sale

Went to Christ Central church a.m. Lunch from the market, and set out about 3.  Took the north branch of the Bridgewater thinking that was where country-wine-Andy had said there was an unmentioned marina that would provide water. Had to reverse back to the junction when it became clear that was not so. Found the marina he'd obviously meant shortly after the junction, and stopped for water and a culpa.

Cruised in the sun down to Sale and tied up outside the King's Ransom.

6.5 miles, 0 locks, 4.7 hours engine time.

Saturday, 21 September 2013


Stayed put. Used the launderette in the YHA. Explored the science and technology museum.

3 hours engine.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Piccadilly village to Castlefields

Reasonably dry. Rochdale 9 really difficult in places. Tied up in the arm going round to Grocers Warehouse.

1.5 miles, 9 locks, 4 hours engine.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Portland Basin to Piccadilly Village

A bit concerned because the battery was down to 10.5 overnight, for no reason we can think of. If it happens again, we'll need to test by selectively turning off equipment overnight – assuming the new batteries have not failed.

Down the Ashton flight, mostly in the rain. Significant rubbish round the prop at one point – would have stalled the engine if I'd tried to drive. Half an hour to cut free something that at first looked like a tent, but probably wasn't.

6 miles, 18 locks, 1 swing bridge, 10 hours engine.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Marple Aqueduct to Portland Basin

Some sunshine today. Through the Hyde Bank and Woodley tunnels.

Called in at Portland Basin marina: pump out, gas cylinder. Tied up on rings just on the Huddersfield Narrow.

7 miles, 0 locks, 1 lift bridge, 6 hours engine.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Marple to Marple Aqueduct

Still raining, but not quite as bad as promised by the Met Office. Reversed back onto the Peak Forest, and after negotiations with a lot of traffic, set off down the Marple flight. Tied up for the night shortly after the aqueduct.

Finally found how to run the engine faster in neutral for battery charging.

1.8 miles, 16 locks, 5 hours engine.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Bugsworth Basin to Marple

Alternating sunshine and freezing rain. Wind very strong. Prospects for the next few days meant there was no apparent value in staying put a further day.

Couldn't decide whether to go back down the Macc or carry straight on down the Peak Forest, so tied up on the visitor mooring opposite Marple CRT yard overnight.

7 miles, 0 locks, 2 swing bridges, 2 lift bridges, 5 hours engine

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bugsworth Basin

Gales and rain. Stayed put at Bugsworth Basin.

2 hours engine

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Marple to Bugsworth Basin

Lovely day for boating. Spectacular surroundings for this trip. Whaley Bridge a disappointment, so back round to the basin after a quick trip to Tesco for steaks and Monday veggies. Really impressed with Bugsworth Basin.

Ran a wash and got it dried on the towpath at lunchtime.

7.5 miles, 0 locks, 2 lift bridges, 2 swing bridges, 5.5 hours engine.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Fourlane Ends to Marple

Still sleeping in. Must be the northern air. Brightish morning, and picked some hedgerow fruit. Lunch by Bridge 11 as the rain started. Gentle drizzle as we came through to Marple. Fillled up with water at the point there, but the flow was abysmal.

Tied up on the 48 hour section just round the corner onto the Peak Forest – it would be rather generous to call them "moorings" as such, with so much of the bank worn and falling in, rings in short supply, and the state of the bottom making it really hard to get near the bank. But tie up we did, in the rain.

Started the engine early for bread-making. Very slow travelling because of the depth of the canal, and ran the engine for an extra hour in the evening, to get some more charge into the batteries. Not sure whether running it on tickover puts much charge in.

5.6 miles, 0 locks, 7 hours engine.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Oakgrove to Fourlane Ends

Started out under clouds and with rain in the distance, but in the end it was a dry day's boating. Came through Macclesfield, and stopped to shop. Then on after a late lunch and tied up just before Bridge 18, near the Miners Arms.

9.4 miles, 0 locks, 1 swing bridge, 4 hours engine.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Bridge 52 to Oakgrove

Started the engine well before setting out, in order to run the bread-maker. Damp day, with a lot of drizzle. In the end we took Nicholson's guide's recommendation and tied up just past swing bridge 49, by The Fool's Nook.

1.7 miles, 0 locks, 1 swing bridge, 4 hours engine.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Dane Aqueduct to Bridge 52

Sunny day became cloudy, but the fine weather persuaded us to go up the Bosley flight rather than climb The Cloud. Going into the penultimate lock we encountered something with the stern gear that sounded really serious. In the end it was a length of fender cable and hanger, probably with the fender attached when we first met it.

Strenuous work going up the flight, so tied up just after the permanent moorings following Bridge 52. Washing went out on the towpath.

2 bags of SuperTherm from the Coal Boat at £10.40 a bag.

1.5 miles, 12 locks, 4 hours engine.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Congleton to Dane Aqueduct

Sunny morning squandered by walking to the Aldi in Congleton. Bus back up the hill. Three packages collected from Hightown Post Office.

Sunshine and showers – one extremely heavy. Tied up on the 48 hour moorings just before Bosley bottom lock.

4.7 miles, 0 locks, 2 hours engine

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Watery Lane Aqueduct to Congleton

Beautiful clear morning. Came just a mile and a half to the 48 hour visitor moorings at the basin at Dog Lane Aqueduct, so we could get down the bank and walk along Canal Street into the town. Ran the engine again in the afternoon.

1.5 miles, 0 locks, 3 hours engine.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Westport Lake to Watery Lane Aqueduct

Not an early start, and got to Harecastle tunnel shortly after a petrol-fuelled boat had gone through, so we had to wait. It was 2 hours with the operators' mandatory lunch-break. First in the queue meant we sped through in about 30 minutes, and then turned onto the Macclesfield canal. The stop lock at Hall Green is the first we've seen with a single gate at the bottom end and double gates at the top.

Mixed weather, with showers and sunshine. Tied up just after the winding hole after Bridge 81. Surprisingly good TV and Three signals.

7 miles, 1 lock, Harecastle tunnel, 4 hours engine.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Barlaston to Westport Lake

Rainy day, but very little wind. Waited for some heavier periods to finish and set out about midday. Used the full waterproofs from Christian. Was followed through the Stoke locks by a couple on a very trad load-carrier. He was cheerful and very helpful with some of the heavier paddles and gates. Stopped at Longport Wharf for a new mooring hook, since one seems to have gone missing.

Tied up on the visitor moorings at Westport Lake, where the towpath is high relative to the water. Rings and a wooden edging over the concrete. Quite chilly, so got the first fire of the season going.

8.5 miles, 6 locks, 4 hours

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Great Haywood to Barlaston

Hot / chilly day. We just kept going. Tried to get some neoprene window beading at the chandlery in Stone, but it's clearly a specialist item, peculiar to the window manufacturer.

Thought about going up to Trentham lock, but found a reasonable mooring at Barlaston. Long day's boating because we want to get t Congleton by Saturday evening.

13.8 miles, 12 locks, 7.5 hours engine time.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Jon & Michelle, 17th – 22nd August, 2013

Great Haywood – Ingestre Bridge – Fradley – Hopwas – Curdworth – Hopwas – Rugeley – Great Haywood

Probably about 60 miles, 26 hours.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Branston to Alrewas

Ran the engine early because we needed to do a wash. Cloudy day with a couple of short drizzly periods. Sam bored with the limitations imposed by his damaged foot. Decided to stop in Alrewas so we could post Elissa's letter home in the morning, and get something suitable from the butcher or Co-op

5.2 miles, 4 locks, 4.5 hours engine

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Branston to Horninglow and back

Cloudy with some sun. Stopped for lunch at Shobnall Fields before winding at Horninglow Basin and returning to Branston water park.

5.8 miles, 4 locks, 4.3 engine hours.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Bremerton to Fradley

Sunny day until a brief shower about 6.30. Queues at the locks but an easy run through. Pump-out at Kings Bromley wharf marina – £16 and would only do Green not Blue. Shallowness of the canal opposite the entrance made turning in difficult after overshooting slightly.

Tied up on the 48 hour moorings at Fradley.

5.3 miles, 4 locks, 5 hours engine.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Wolseley Bridge to Brereton

Stopped to do a shop in Rugeley. Did a wash load. Ted up at the Ash Tree. Play area very simple but Sam really enjoyed it.

4 miles, 0 locks, 3 hours engine

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Great Haywood to Wolseley Bridge

Queue at Colwich lock. Sunny day. Children were enjoying boating. Tied up just beyond Wolseley Bridge and had nearly three hours at the wildlife centre.

2.5 miles, 2 locks, 2.5 hours engine

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Otherton to Great Haywood

Really nice day for boating. Tied up for lunch in the shade after Bridge 98, and then home. Iain did most of the steering, except that he also did most of the locks with Glenys and Margaret! He brought Erin Mae impeccably round the GH junction, into the marina and round the moorings to our berth. I took her into and out of the locks, and then negotiated with a boat coming the other way through the narrow sections just short of GH.

11 miles, 7 locks, 6 hours engine

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Baswich to Otherton

Thunder storm in the night, lots of rain. Wet when we started, but dried up by late coffee time, and was a bit fresher. Walked into Penkridge to visit Jaspers, and also paid a visit to Mr Simm's Sweet Shoppe. Went down to Gailey, winded, watered and lunched, and then came back to tie up (nearly 8 p.m.) opposite Otherton marina. Long, fun day.

10 miles, 16 locks, 8 hours engine.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Great Haywood to Baswich

Picked up Iain and Glenys White from Stafford station. Headed out in the afternoon – very hot and muggy. Tied up just short of Bridge 98 on the Staffs and Worcs. Got covered in aspen seeds.

4.7 miles, 1 lock, 2.5 hours engine

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Housekeeping at Great Haywood

Thursday to Sunday were days for shopping, cleaning, washing and listening to the 2nd Ashes Test. Friday we went to the IWA Festival at Cleobury Park.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Gailey to Great Haywood

Hottest day of the year so far. Set out early so as to get to GH in one day. Alarm at Gailey Lock when, still rather sleepy, we left the top paddles open when we opened the bottom ones. The boat was thrown backwards in the turbulence, with a real danger of being caught on the cill. We dropped the front paddles just in time, with some help from a passing stranger, and apparently no damage to the stern tackle.

Long day, but largely uneventful apart from this. Tied up on our home mooring. A bit strange to be home.

Car battery was flat, in spite of the solar charger having been on all the time we've been away (11 weeks, 2 days). Called the AA, who came and got it going. Battery seems to be OK after charging. AA man had little comfort or a solution, and clearly didn't expect the solar panel to be effective over this period of time. Will need to look for an alternative solution.

13.6 miles, 12 locks, 7.5 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Shroppie Bridge 7 to Gailey

Another hot day once the thin cloud burnt off. Queued at Autherley Junction to get through the lock, and had a most unpleasant encounter with a boat coming in who didn't want to have to leave me enough room to turn left. Apart from that, all plain sailing. Tied up at Gailey with the bows just encroaching on the permanent moorings, so will probably need to ask the boat behind to move back a bit when they return.

10.9 miles, 1 lock, 4.5 hours engine time.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Shroppie Bridge 7 to Wheaton Aston and back

Up to Turner's for diesel at 76.9p for domestic. 153 litres. Also changed a gas cylinder. Reversed back through the bridge to wind, and tied up back at the same mooring as last night.

10.2 miles, 2 locks, 5.5 hours engine.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Pendeford to Shroppie Bridge 7

As agreed with Oxley Marine, took Erin Mae to them in the morning. Got there about 9.30. Philip replaced the tiller bearing, and then came down to Aldersley junction and back to give the drive train a health check. Saw a little wobble (about 1 mm) in the drive shaft, but thought that would probably not get any worse. We talked about quality of propellers and he showed me a variety of bent ones. Cleared a load of plastic bags and some rope pieces from the weed hatch. They also did a pump-out (£13 with blue).

Came up the Shroppie and tied up on the moorings between bridges 7 and 8. Beautiful spot, beautiful evening.

5.2 miles, 1 lock, 3 hours engine time.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Gailey Wharf to Pendeford

Great day with Kit and Angie. Filled up with water and winded at Gailey Lock first thing and came back on to the same mooring where we had been overnight, running the engine for a couple of hours. Came back to Pendeford after they had gone to be ready to get to Oxley Marine in the morning.

7.5 miles, 0 locks, 4.5 hours engine.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Pendeford to Gailey Wharf

Another beautiful day, not quite as hot as yesterday. Passed Dave on Anon, who put another few holes in Margaret's windlass holster belt. Thereafter very slow following NB Astra and another to Gailey. Tied up on the 48 hour moorings at Gailey wharf.

7.2 miles, 0 locks, 3.5 hours engine time.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Bratch to Pendeford

Hot day from the start. Stopped at Compton to visit the small Sainsbury's, and had lunch. Called in with Oxley Marine to arrange for fixing the tiller bearing. All very satisfactory.

Tied up in the shallow stretch at Pendeford before Bridge 67. Found a good-sized Morrisons in Pendeford, alongside a school, community centre and modern church.

7.5 miles, 6 locks, 5 hours engine.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Stourton Junction to The Bratch

Warm but rather cloudy day. A bit more traffic than of late. Tied up on the visitor moorings just above The Bratch.

7 miles,  11 locks, 5.8 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

BCN: Fens Branch to Stourton Junction

Extremely hot – thermometer in the cabin reads 31ºC after we tied up at 5.45 in the shade. Came down the Stourbridge flight, with most of them set against us, even after passing a boat coming up – not quite sure what happened there.

Before folding down the pram hood cover, took off the side pieces and the front window cover, and stowed them on the roof. Together with undoing the front side poppers that made it possible to fold the rest of it in such a way as to leave room for getting up onto the roof for working the locks. Putting up the cover at the end of the day, without replacing any of the parts I'd removed, took just a few minutes.

The last two days were, in prospect, the worst of the journey – a lot of locks through bandit country. Apart from being so hot, they've actually been OK. The mooring last night on the Fens Branch was uneventful.

Tied up on the 5 day moorings on the Staffs and Worcs at Stourton Junction, heading north.

5 miles, 20 locks, 6 hours engine time.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Netherton Park to the Fens Branch

Mark did the pram cover today, so we set out after lunch. Round the Dudley Nº 2 Canal to Park Head junction, then down past the excellent Waterfront development and down the Delph flight. Passed two boats coming up. Day very sunny, most of the landscape pretty depressing urban industrial, with lots of graffiti and signs of disaffection.

CanalPlan had suggested stopping at the top lock of the Stourbridge flight, and we have done so, retreating slightly up the Fens Branch. It feels a bit insecure, though it will probably be OK.

7 miles, 9 locks, 6 hours engine time (4.5 hours travelling plus 1.5 in the morning for electrons).

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Bournville to Netherton Park

Came through Birmingham centre on a very hot day, with people out enjoying the sun and the cafés. The BCN main line was much greener than we'd imagined, and the Netherton tunnel very straightforward. Decided to tie up at Netherton park shortly after the tunnel exit – opposite the CaRT 48 moorings and water station.

14.3 miles, 0 licks, 5 hours engine time.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Bournville to Shirley to Bournville

Met John and Becky, Martha and Lydia at Bournville moorings, and went down the Stratford to the winding hole just past bridge 9A. Came back to the same moorings at Bournville. Brilliant sunny day, and very good fun with them.

12.5 miles, 0 locks, 2 lift bridges, 6 hours engine time.

Friday, 5 July 2013

Hopwood to Bournville

Down to Alvechurch first to get a new pole. Put in 50 litres of diesel for safety's sake.

Very sunny day for cruising. Back through the Wast Hill tunnel, and then up to the winding hole at Selly Oak to visit Sainsbury's. Winded and tied up on the Bournville visitor moorings, opposite side to the railway station.

11.7 miles, 0 locks, 5.5 hours engine time.

Thursday, 4 July 2013


Stayed put in Hopwood to do cleaning and baking. Very nice sunny day. Only moved Erin Mae to go to the water point and back.

Went to Hopwood House Inn for evening food – two rump steaks for a tenner sounded very good value. But mine was appallingly fatty and stringy. The sympathetic Australian waitress gave us complimentary desserts, which were very good.

0 miles, 2 hours engine time.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Hopwood to Alvechurch to Hopwood

Cruised down to Alvechurch to see the sights, but it's a long way to the centre of the village. Co-op has no fruit and veg because there's a fruit and veg shop next door. St Laurence church closed. Tied up for lunch opposite the marina / boatyard, but decided not to ask them to change the tiller bearing.

Returned to the overnight mooring at Hopwood. Ran the engine for an extra hour in the evening.

5 miles, 0 locks, 3.5 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Warstock to Hopwood

Dave at Lyons Boatyard fixed the swan neck with the help of a blow-torch and upward pressure from MPI. Diagnosed the upper tiller bearing as definitely past it. Thought about getting them to fix it, but there were just too many uncertainties in relation to how long it would take and when it could be done.

At Kings Norton Junction turned right to explore the section where we'll pick up Becky et al on Saturday. Then winded and came back through Wast Hills Tunnel. Tied up at the 48 hour moorings just short of Bridge 67 on the Worcester and Birmingham.

11 miles, 0 locks (except for 1 open stop lock), 3.5 hours engine time.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Hockley Heath to Warstock

Late start under cloudy skies. Main problem was the shallowness of the canal, especially at the towpath when passing oncoming boats on a bend. Sun came out later. Stopped for lunch in the Earlswood area, and encountered NB Scorpio going to the Stratford festival.

Tied up opposite Lyons Boatyard. Should be safe because of all the company, though the general advice has been not to moor beyond Shirley.

8 miles, 1 lift bridge (electric), 4 hours engine

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Kingswood to Hockley Heath

Up the Lapworth flight. Hot day, and we pulled up at Hockley Heath at (late) lunchtime. So it was into the Wharf Inn for a carvery lunch for a fiver. For a fiver, good value. Afterwards it was a very sleepy afternoon.

Lift Bridge 28 is a nightmare, with its hydraulics only working with a bit of manual assistance.

3.2 miles, 19 locks, 2 lift bridges, 4.5 hours engine time.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Kingswood to Kingswood (!)

We elected to combine running the engine and turning Erin Mae in preparation for starting up the Lapworth flight tomorrow by going 3 miles up to the winding hole just beyond the Black Buoy Cruising Club, and coming back again. Lovely sunny afternoon for cruising. This time tied up on the 48 hour moorings just south of Kingswood Bridge.

6.5 miles, 0 locks, 2.25 hours engine time.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Lowsonford to Kingswood

Left about midday, when it seemed it might be dry for a few hours – and so it transpired. Turned right at Kingswood junction, to spend an extra day before going up the Lapworth flight. Mistook the main junction with the Grand Union for the one Nicholson's indicated there would be with the branch through lock 20, so started off down to Warwick, and had to reverse. Tied up just north of Kingswood Bridge. Good TV and Three signals. Ran the engine for an hour in the evening to guarantee being able to watch Murray.

2.75 miles, 9 locks, 4 hours engine

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Wootton Wawen to Lowsonford

Debated whether to stay an extra day at Wootton Wawen, but in the end decided to move, starting about 11.30. Nice morning for cruising, but came on to rain as we tied up opposite the Fleur de Lys.

Arranged with Mr Hinchley of the Lyons Boatyard to look at our tiller swan neck damage on Tuesday. Rang Wilson's to see whether they might delay making the pram hood cover until that is sorted (make sure the measurements are accurate), but Mark didn't ring me back.

4 miles, 8 locks, 3.25 hours engine time. 13.5 volts.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wilmcote Bottom Lock to Wootton Wawen

Really nice cruising weather. Early start, and up the Wilmcote flight by 10 a.m. Tied up at the Navigation Inn. Bad Three signal. Some TV so we could watch a bit of Andy Murray. Ran the engine in the evening to ensure the batteries stay charged, but it may not have been necessary.

5.1 miles, 12 locks, 5.5 engine hours.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Stratford to Wilmcote Bottom Lock

Went a.m. to the MAD museum. Set out about 1 p.m. up the Stratford canal. Batteries behaving nicely. Tied up just below Wilmcote Bottom Lock. Went to look at the moorings 3 locks up the flight, but the towpath side is thick with grass and nettles.

Pump-out (£15) at Valley Boat Services just past lock 52.

2.1 miles, 5 locks, 4.25 hours engine time

Monday, 24 June 2013

Stratford: Avon to Bancroft Basin

Mark from Wilson's came to pattern the pram hood, and Curtis from Evesham marina came to fit a new battery bank, both on the moorings opposite the RSC Theatre. The office accepted payment for one night's mooring there, since the free mooring up-river had never materialised. Then we went up the lock into the Basin again. Ran the engine to get the new batteries as charged up as we could.

4 Numax XV31MF 110AH sealed batteries.
Measured the diesel – about 50 or 60 cm on the stick.
Waste tank light came on this afternoon.

0.2 miles, 1 lock, 3 hours engine time.

Sunday, 23 June 2013


Stayed at the mooring on the river, ready for Curtis's call tomorrow. Serious drop in voltage during the day.

0 miles, 4 hours engine.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Stratford (Basin) to Stratford (River)

By the time I'd managed to wind in the basin to go down the lock, the restaurant boat had taken my place, so we had to wait. Nice helping hand on the gates and paddles from Martin, who'd worked with Heritage. Explored up-river. Turning was tricky, and the mooring place didn't exist. So we came back to the recreation ground area to tie up.

Having to run the engine far too much to keep the batteries topped up. Curtis should be here tomorrow with the new set.

4 miles, 0 locks, 5 hours engine time.

Friday, 21 June 2013


Stayed in Bancroft Basin. Rang Steve at Evesham marina, and he's agreed that Curtis will call in on Monday with a new set of batteries since he's over here anyway. Great that this avoids us having to do the return trip to Evesham. Clear from (a) the amount of engine time we need when moored up for a day and (b) the amount of charge they hold and (c) the rate of discharge with very little load, that the batteries really do need to be replaced. But they probably are 6½ years old.

0 miles, 4 hours engine time.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Weir Brake to Stratford-upon-Avon

Just one lock on the Avon, and then the turn through the first CaRT lock into Bancroft Basin. Where the 48 hour mooring will be free. Very strong currents at the entrance to the lock make turning in tricky.

Tied up in Bancroft Basin – really nice place to stop. Running the engine from 5 - 7.

1 mile, 2 locks, 4.5 hours engine time.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Bidford-on-Avon to Weir Brake

Ran Webasto and engine first thing. Fine, sunny day for cruising.

Emergency at W A Cadbury lock with the tiller bar rising under the steel walkway across the bottom gates and jamming. Managed to get the top paddles down and the bottom paddles up in time to prevent the disaster. Not a good experience. Swan neck bent down, and will need attention from a boatyard. Tiller function seems OK.

8.9 miles, 5 locks, 5.5 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Patterning at Bidford-on-Avon

Mark from Wilson's came to do the patterning for the pram cover, though in the event he was short of one or two parts for the frame and will have to return later. So we stayed put in Bidford-on-Avon.

Had to run the engine first thing and then in the evening for charging.

0 miles, 4 hours engine.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Evesham to Bidford-on-Avon

Curtis turned up at 8.30 instead on lunch-time to do the header tank. With the bad news that it would cost £105 instead of £65. And that's before VAT and his time. Gulp and take the medicine. Used the time while still hooked up to vacuum the inside of the boat and wash the floor.

Trailed Chris and Sue on NB Krystyna to the first lock, and shared it with them. They use a 120 watt solar panel with an MTTP controller, from MidSummer, and are very happy with it.

Tied up on the Avon Navigation moorings by The Big Meadow in Bidford-on-Avon. They were empty at 2 except for a Viking boat arriving as we did, but have now filled up a bit.

Sun came out, so I rubbed down the back rail and varnished it. Wanted to get at least one fresh coat on before Wilson's come to fit the pram hood frame. Used the orbital sander a little, which worked well off the inverter.

7.5 miles, 3 locks, 3.5 hours engine time

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Still Evesham

Stayed put in Evesham marina. Wind mostly dropped. Ran the engine for hot water this morning for showers. Interesting to see that there was not enough left by lunch time for the washing, so had to boil a kettle.

0 miles, 1 hour engine time

Saturday, 15 June 2013


Stopped in the marina. Ran the engine for an hour for hot water. Mistake. Should have run it later to have water for showers in the morning.

0 miles, 1 hour engine time.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Wyre Piddle to Evesham

Strictly speaking, it was Wyre lock rather than Wyre Piddle, but the name was too good to miss. Left about 8.30 and reached Evesham marina by 12.30. They were too busy to change the Webasto header tank there and then but will do it Monday. Negotiated a mooring with a hook-up for the weekend. Reasonable Three signal but no TV.

Went to see the battery section, who suggested getting Curtis to check the battery bank when he does the header tank. Numax batteries about the price of Midland's Lucas, with no maintenance type slighter cheaper than bog standard.

Cloudy morning, with some rain. Downpour early afternoon. Brighter evening.

12.4 miles, 2 locks, 5 hours engine time.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Comberton Quay to Wyre Piddle

Not much distance travelled. Lunch in The Angel at Pershore. We were going to move up to Craycombe, or at least Wyre Lock, but the wind got very strong, and we decided to stay on the visitor moorings at Pershore overnight. Left the engine running p.m. to charge.

Addendum: wind dropped a little and so we went up Wyre Lock, to speed our getaway in the morning. Tied up on the visitor mooring at the exit to the lock.

5.3 miles, 1 lock, 5 hours engine.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Tewkesbury to Comberton Quay

Morning stroll around Tewkesbury. Set out after lunch. First two river locks very different to anything else we've encountered so far. Comberton Quay mooring was empty, and idyllic. But the day was grey and the evening was squally. No sun. Tended to bump the mooring during the night.

10.2 miles, 2 locks, 6.5 engine hours.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Worcester to Tewkesbury

Early rain cleared quite quickly, so we set out at 10.30 and made it to Upton just after 1 p.m. Rang Evesham about the Webasto header tank, and it was clear we had to get there by Friday lunch time, or leave it till Monday. So we pushed on to Tewkesbury, mooring just above the lock. Really good speed throughout the day.

17.7 miles, 2 locks, 4.5 hours engine time.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Astley Burf to Worcester

Up before our kind neighbours. Got going as soon as we could to get to Worcester in good time. Cold, dry day, with very little traffic on the river. Locks were already set, so we made good time. Ran the engine again in the evening.

10 miles, 2 locks, 5 hours engine time.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Stourport to Astley Burf

Stourport Baptist a.m. Lunch and water-tank in the basin, and then on to the Severn down the two staircase locks. Tied up at the Hampstall Inn – good mooring.

2.8 miles, 5 locks, 5 hours engine time.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Kidderminster to Stourport

Started the engine early for power. Trip took longer than expected – even longer that CanalPlan suggested. The paddles on the top gates of all the locks have anti-vandal locks. The canal is very shallow in places, which made picking up Margaret quite tricky in places. However, another beautiful day.

Tied up for lunch at the 5 day moorings after Bridge 5A, and went off to find a capo. After walking down to inspect Stourport basin, we took Erin Mae down, and tied up outside the old office building.

60 litres diesel from Limekiln Chandlers. (Pump-out would have been only £12, but we don't need one)

4 miles, 4 locks, 5 hours engine time.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Wolverley to Kidderminster

Intended to be a short stop in Kidderminster for Wilson's to come and start the pram cover fixing, but they were too busy, and in the end we did a saunter round the centre and a Sainsbury's shop – right by the 5 day moorings above the lock.

2 miles, 2 locks, 3.5 hours engine time.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Kinver to Wolverley

Two hours engine in the morning. Went to see Wilson's about a pram cover for Erin Mae – with Craig we had the first really sensible conversation we've had with anyone about how to do it in a way that would suit. Ended up ordering it.

After lunch went up to the Holy Austin stone houses. After concluding the deal with Wilson's we set out, and tied up in Wolverley, just before the 48 hour moorings above the lock.

4.5 miles, 2 locks, 4 hours engine time.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Kinver to Kinver visitor moorings

After a walk up Kinver Edge, took Erin Mae down to the visitor moorings, filling up with water on the way. Ran the engine first thing, and left it running for a while after the move.

1 mile, 2 locks, 4 hours engine.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Kinver Day 3

Another sunny day staying put.

3 hours engine time.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Kinver Day 2

Stayed put. Walked down to inspect the village and the visitor moorings, and do some shopping. Ran the engine in the afternoon while the sun shone.

0 miles, 0 locks, 2 hours engine time

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Bratch to Kinver

Long day today, in part because towards the end it was hard to find somewhere suitable to moor up. Stewponey moorings were full, and a great deal of the towpath edge was still uncut. In the end came through Dunsley Tunnel and tied up just round the corner before Hyde Lock.

10.2 miles, 13 locks, including 1 staircase (Botterham), 7.5 hours engine time.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Wightwick to The Bratch

Ran the engine early for showers and charging, though the battery voltage was better than usual, at about 12.3. Morning visit to Wightwick Manor. Travelled after a late lunch. Beautifully sunny. Very little traffic. Tied up around 5.50 in an isolated stretch between Awbridge lock and The Bratch, overlooking fields. Ran the engine for an extra hour.

3 miles, 3 locks, 5 hours engine time.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Park Bridge 8 to Wightwick

Late start while we talked with IK about database stuff. Beautiful sunny day. Water at Autherley Junction, and tied up for homemade vegetable soup (definite improvement on the nettle variety!) just round the corner. Wightwick Mill lock had a gusher which made the floor under the open side hatch very wet. Moored below Wightwick lock, above the bridge.

6.8 miles, 4 locks, 6 hours engine time

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Wheaton Aston to Park Bridge 8

Ran the engine early for a shower and electric. New gas bottle from Turner's. Audlem George's lamb and sundried tomato sausages for lunch. But the doubled yolked eggs bought to go with them turned out to have only a single yolk.

Weather clearing. Park Bridge moorings seem to have a good Three signal.

5 miles, 1 lock, 4 hours engine time.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Norbury Junction to Wheaton Aston

Sunny morning. Ran the engine early for Margaret to make bread. She also made stinging nettle soup – very healthy but opinion not quite unanimous. Tied up at the visitor moorings opposite Taylor's for lunch, but when the rain started decided to stay put.

7.5 miles, 0 locks, 5 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Market Drayton to Norbury Junction

Nasty, soggy day, but without yesterday's wind. Fun and games with the by-wash at Tyrley bottom lock. Good time, really, though it seemed we'd never get to Norbury Junction with all the boats moored along the route.

Self pump-out at Market Drayton (16 days). Also tried to fill up with water, but the tap was really slow. Winded once to get the left side to the tow-path for the pump-out, and again afterwards. Made the mistake the second time of taking the stern into the winding hole – it's very shallow and escaping involved Margaret holding the bows onto a moored boat while I brought the stern round.

183 litres of diesel at Norbury Junction (76.9p for the domestic part), 2 bags of Taybrite, 1 second-hand anchor, 4 metres of chain, 10 metre line of Hempex. Moored up near the end of Norbury Junction visitor moorings, and ran the central heating for an hour while the fire got going.

11 miles, 5 locks, 7 hours engine time.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Audlem to Market Drayton

Set out early to beat the anticipated queues up the Audlem flight and the rain that was expected later. Nice travelling in the sun, though a bit chilly at times. Tank light still not on – that's over a fortnight now since the last pump-out.

Ran a wash, and kept the engine running to finish it off. By then the rain had started – not heavy, just unpleasant – so we lit the fire, hunkered down and listened to Test Match Special on the DAB.

6 miles, 17 locks, 5 hours engine time.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Stayed put at Audlem

Some good festival acts, a sunny day, a great mooring and probably enough diesel in the tank to be going on with persuaded us to stay put. The Bridge stage is just across the canal, and the water separates us from the crowds.

2.5 hours engine.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Nantwich to Audlem

Beautiful day. Ran the engine to re-charge following an hour's TV the previous evening. Coffee, market and shopping in Nantwich. Lousy internet connection in the bookshop when I tried to download the demo version of Finale 2012. Had to do it on the boat.

Finally decided to go south, so set out mid/late afternoon. Queues at Hack Green locks. Sausages and double-yolked eggs at Audlem lock 15. Audlem festival meant it was very crowded but we got a mooring on the 5-day section opposite the Bridge Inn just before lock 12. Venison, bacon and wild mushroom pie from Nantwich market for tea.

7 miles, 5 locks, 5.8 hours engine time.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Wrenbury (Bridge 22) to Nantwich

Same windy, wet conditions as yesterday. Lunch break at Burland – useful convenience store. Said good-bye to the Llangollen. Tied up on the 48 hour moorings south of the aqueduct.

9.6 miles, 7 locks, 3 lift bridges, 5.5 hours engine.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Whitchurch to Wrenbury (Bridge 22)

Very windy, with strong, squally showers. Can't turn right out of the Whitchurch arm, so winded at Bridge 31A. Very shallow, and the wind made it very difficult until I used it to bring the bows round while holding the stern on the tow path.

Down the Grindley Brook staircase without drama.

6.5 miles, 10 locks, 1 lift bridge, 7 hours engine time.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Whixall Moss to Whitchurch

Caught up another boat so we could follow them through a couple of lift bridges, to share the work. Got 50 litres of diesel at the Whitchurch Viking base – 1.04 for domestic, same as Ellesmere. Tied up at the end of the Whitchurch arm, after winding and reversing with difficulty because of the gale that was blowing. Homemade soup and bread, and a walk into Whitchurch.

Leaving the TV off and running the engine enough seems to be getting the batteries to a slightly better state.

4.5 miles, 0 locks, 3 lift bridges, 4 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Ellesmere to Whixall Moss

Ran the engine for 2.5 hours in the morning because (a) battery was very low, and (b) I wanted my shower. Set out after shopping in Ellesmere. Reversed out of the arm. Cold, windy journey, sunny at times.

Detoured down the Prees Branch to Whixall Marina to see the price of their diesel, but they were closed. Lunch on the cut at the entrince to the marina. In spite of Nicholson's, the second lift bridge on the branch was worse than the first.

Tied up on CaRT moorings on the straight after bridge 44. Internet connection weak – needed to connect direct to the computer

10.3 miles, 5 lift bridges, 6.5 hours engine time

Monday, 20 May 2013

Frankton to Ellesmere

Dry day, but mostly cloudy. Early start to be first in the queue up Frankton locks. Chatted with Amy the lock-keeper, and her predecessor of 37 years who wasn't keen on my landing on his "garden". After apology, we had a good natter.

Tied up in the Ellesmere branch. Launderette for all the bedding, and good internet in the Black Lion for some IT work.

4.5 miles, 0 locks, 3.5 hours

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Maesbury Marsh to Frankton

Left Maesbury mid-afternoon and came slowly up to Frankton. Moored up at the Weston arm services, below the four locks to exit the Monty.

6 miles, 4 locks, 3.5 hours engine time.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Moored at Maesbury Marsh

Stayed on the mooring under the Navigation Inn. Ran the engine in the morning.

0 miles, 0 locks, 2 hours engine time.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Aston Locks to Maesbury Marsh

After a late start,  a very nice, gentle amble to Maesbury, and the run was just long enough to do a wash. Winded beyond Crofts Mill Lift Bridge, at Gronwen wharf, and stopped at the CaRT service wharf for water on the way back. Tied up opposite the Navigation Inn, and set up the whirligig clothes-line on the tow path.

3.5 miles, 2 locks, 2 lift bridges (same one, both ways!), 3 hours engine time.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Ellesmere to Aston Locks

Booked a passage through Lower Frankton locks, and got to the junction about 12.30. One boat going down in front, but three to come up, so we had to wait. Roger and Mirjana helped us and the lock keeper with the locking, and then we tied up at the Weston Branch for lunch and a natter.

Rang CaRT about broken lock on the services building at the Weston Branch, and booked a passage up the flight for Monday.

Made it slowly down past Queen's Head and tied up after the first of the Aston locks. Mixture of sunshine and hail.

8 miles, 6 locks, 3 hours engine time.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Chirk to Ellesmere

Went north for half a mile to wind, and then ambled to Ellesmere. All the central moorings were taken, so winded at the junction and tied up 400 yards back towards Frankton. Tesco shop. Checked the diesel prices at Blackwater Meadow – they were appalling, with domestic at £1.04.

12 miles, 2 locks, 6 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Staying put at Chirk

Visit to Chirk castle meant we stayed put in the cutting. Ran the engine to charge the batteries and heat the water. Rainy evening.

0 miles, 0 locks, 2.5 hours engine time.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Moreton to Chirk

Lazy lie-in after the business of the weekend. Walked up to Rhoswiel to get Mgt's veggies for tea, and found we had to go right through Weston Rhyn to get to the local stores. No veggies. About a 3 mile round trip.

Late afternoon we left Lyon Quays to go to Chirk, to facilitate an early start tomorrow when we visit the castle. Tied up at the north end of Chirk tunnel. Walked into Chirk for the veggies, thinking the shops would be at the near end of the town. They were at the north end, so we did another two miles overall, but got some veggies from the Co-op. Ran the engine to charge batteries.

2 miles, 0 locks, 2.5 hours engine time.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Moreton to Froncysyllte and back

Accompanied by Steve, Una, Joel and Ruth. Not bad for travelling, and Joel and Ruth did well on the tiller. One very bad tree-trunk across the cut that ran us sideways, unexpectedly, into the concrete canal wall. Had to leave it as I could not see what we could do about it.  Winded just after the Froncysyllte lift bridge.

Good pump-out for £15 at Chirk marina.

8.5 miles, 0 locks, 1 lift bridge, 5 hours engine time.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Moreton to Trevor and back

In the company of David, Jo, Lewis and Charis. Wet in parts and still very windy. Lost the rain hat in the canal on Chirk aqueduct.

Winded above the Anglo-Welsh moorings at Trevor, which were very crowded. Had to wait an age for   convey to come across the Pontcysyllte before our return crossing.

10.5 miles, 0 locks, 1 lift bridge, 6 hours engine time.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Llangollen to Moreton

Much drier day than Thursday. Walked to Horseshoe Falls and back. Then Ivan walked the narrows to check the way was clear for us. Not quite the difference in speed coming back that I had expected – it must be the shallowness as much as the current which limits the speed.

10 miles, 0 locks, 1 lift bridge, 5 hours engine time.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Moreton to Llangollen

Ran the engine to support the bread maker. Ivan and Irene joined us at coffee time. Appalling weather with high winds and rain, but the two aqueducts negotiated safely. Tunnels not scary after experiencing the Harecastle. Parts of the stretch from Trevor to Llangollen very shallow, but manageable. Virtually no other traffic.

Dry when we arrived at Llangollen. Marina in the basin is quite good, but the pontoons are very short, so we winded and tied up at the visitor moorings up from the wharf. £6 a night, but that includes an electric hookup and your own water tap. Evening meal at the Bridge End Hotel.

10 miles, 0 locks, 1 lift bridge (and 1 which is left up), 7 hours engine time.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Hindford to Moreton

Ran the engine early to allow kitchen activity. By the time we started, out after lunch, the weather was getting chilly and windy, and eventually a bit wet. Tied up at the Lyon Quays Spa / Hotel, where we've arranged to meet Ivan and Irene tomorrow. Friendly place, happy for boaters to moor up.

3.3 miles, 0 locks, 4 hours engine time.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Bettisfield to Hindford

Another hot, sunny day. The meres around Ellesmere were looking stunning as we passed. Stopped in Ellesmere for a Tesco shop and to fill the water tank. No locks today – the canal follows the contours and does considerable meandering, presumably as a result.

Tied up, as intended at the Jack Mytton pub in Hindford, only to find that they are closed today. Ah well, that means they can't really criticise us for using their moorings which are strictly for "today's" customers. A good spot, and very nice gardens to the pub. Seems a reasonable Three signal. Haven't tested the TV yet.

Ran the third wash in three days, this time doing towels. The Candy is generally working pretty well, though we haven't quite got the detergent level right.

9.2 miles, 0 locks, 5.5 hours engine time.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Bradeley Green to Bettisfield

Late start up through Grindley Brook locks. Difficulty in getting into the middle lock of the staircase because we hadn't let enough water in. After that, no locks, but 4 lift bridges which are harder work.

The canal shallow in places. Tied up between bridges 49 and 50 looking across the valley towards Welshampton on a lovely sunny evening.

10.3 miles,  6 locks (including the 3-lock Grindley Brook staircase),  4 lift bridges, 5.5 hours engine.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Hurleston to Bradeley Green

Some parts quite shallow, making it difficult in the wind. Other parts fine. Cloudy, windy, chilly morning, but no rain. Stop for lunch just short of Church Bridge at Marbury. Sunny afternoon. Not much traffic. Tied up just above Povey's lock. Good TV and Three OK.

10 miles, 9 locks, 2 lift bridges (+1 left permanently open, it seemed), 5.75 hours engine.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Audlem to Hurleston

Down through the remainder of the Audlem flight. George the butcher was rather understocked – no double-yolked eggs and no Stilton sausages. Very good speed from Audlem to Nantwich. Did a wash as we travelled, and filled up with water at Nantwich basin. Wind very difficult at the junction with the Llangollen, and crunched the rudder a couple of time on underwater concrete. Waited alongside a boat that would go up the Hurleston flight first. Tied up at the first rings along the pound. Very quiet and a great view across the fields. Good Three signal.

A day ahead of schedule.

9.2 miles,  9 locks,  6.5  hours

Friday, 3 May 2013

Market Drayton to Audlem

Morning in Market Drayton, sorting out bank payments. Lunch on the move to the Adderley flight. Very annoying side wind most of the time, blowing us onto the towpath side between locks, preventing slick transfers, and making getting into the locks more hazardous than usual. Tied up at first above lock 12 in Audlem, but the shelf was problematic, so we moved down and tied up for the night below lock 12, on the wharf.

7.5 miles, 17 locks, 5 hours engine time

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Gnosall to Market Drayton

Good progress in the sun, so we were able to have a very nice peaceful break for lunch. Filled up with water at Norbury Junction – saw Bruce and Richard. Now probably two hours ahead of CanalPlanAC's schedule.

14.7 miles, 5 locks, 6 hours engine time.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

S&W Bridge 67 to Gnosall

Started at 9.15 and picked up the stove door from Oxley Marine (just a fiver!). Reversed back up to Autherley junction and headed up the Shroppie. Stopped at Brewood for lunch. Bought new batteries for the NW card reader, but seems it is the reader itself which is faulty.

Held up at Wheaton Aston lock, because the boat in front was stuck on a large log someone had tossed into the entrance. But then we picked up diesel from Turner's garage – 20% declaration because of all the central heating we'd used in the Autumn and Spring. 73.9p / litre, with 49.2p surcharge for propulsion. Made very good time under generally sunny skies, with very little traffic. Tied up on the visitor moorings at Gnosall, just before the Boat Inn bridge. We're about an hour ahead of CanalPlanAC's 10 day, 5 hours per day schedule, in spite of yesterday's alternator trouble.

15.8 miles, 2 locks, 6 hours engine.

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Gailey to Bridge 67

Overnight, the battery voltage had dropped to 10.5. Set out from Gailey at 9, but by the time we got to Hatherton (?40 minutes) it was only up to 10.6. Decided to turn around, go back to Gailey and ring engineering, since it was was possible they might do a home visit. John confirmed it was an alternator problem, because it was 10.6 even while the engine was running. Allan on NB Pengalanty was moored near, and recommended Oxley Marine. They sent Philip, who replaced the regulator on the domestic alternator. He also took away the fire door to complete the repair to the glass-holding-screw holes.

Ran down from Gailey to just short of Autherley junction – a beautiful spring evening. Didn't meet any boats coming the other way, and there was very little earlier.

Total distance: 14 miles, 0 locks. 5.5 hours engine time.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Great Haywood to Gailey Wharf

Very cloudy, windy, spots of rain, cold. But very good time – never come this far in one day before except, possibly, coming back from Middlewich last summer.

Most systems seem fine. Domestic batteries do not seem to have charged as much as they should during the long day's trip. Showing 12.6 volts.

Squirrel stove's repair not good. One of the new machine screws holding the glass seems to have sheared about half way down, and its hole appears to have been drilled out too far  at the top. Contacted  engineering to see what they say. Meanwhile, heating on this cold evening is courtesy of Webasto.

14 miles, 12 locks, 7 hours engine time.