Friday, 14 November 2014

Diesel use

Calculation from Middlewich - Liverpool - Norbury Junction

Liverpool: 100 litres
Norbury Junction: 186.5 litres

Total: 286.5 litres

Engine Hours (09/09/14 - 14/10/14): 127.3
286.5 / 127.3 = 2.25 litres per hour

This seems high, even given that a significant amount was on the River Weaver or broad canals allowing a good cruising speed. Especially because quite a lot was also battery charging. The last check (09/09/14) shows 138 litres for 81 engine hours: = 1.7 litres  / hour – much better.

Engine hours calculation show the Kings Lock Service was done 246 hours after the 1000 hour service last year.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

GH Marina

Day for packing up. Washed the roof and sides and polished the left side. Bought a bag of Supatherm from the marina (£12 as against £8.50 from Rennaisance).

Got away about 5.30 and were home by 8.50 or so. Easy run down.

Friday, 31 October 2014

GH Marina

All the plans for clearing up disappeared – a very lazy day. Met Scott on NB Thistle Patch next door.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Acton Trussell to GH marina

Mild day for this last journey of the cruise. Took it steadily and stopped in Tixall Wide for lunch.

When we arrived, I said hello to Steve, and bought a £10 electric token. Checked the car. It didn't respond to the the key fob button, but as soon as I opened the door manually all the dashboard lights came on, a warning began to sound, and then the alarm started. Starting the engine stopped that. After 5 seconds or so I stopped the engine and checked the battery voltage at the cigar lighter. It read 12.58 on the clamp meter. I also used the meter to check charging current to the battery – about 20Amps. Conclusions: (1) the solar panel has worked well at maintaining the battery while we've been away for 11 weeks. (2) the car's response to the key fob is one of the things that is eventually shut down when it's not used for a while.

New neighbours: Chalico and Thistle Patch.

7.2 miles, 2 locks, 3.5 hours engine

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Gailey to Acton Trussell

Very grey day, quite chilly but only occasional damp in the air. Got water at Gailey Wharf – one of the taps was missing a brass connector. Took a long time to fill, but that may be the time since Norbury. The journey itself was straightforward. Tied up out in the country north of Acton Trussell, between the village and Bridge 94.

6.8 miles, 10 locks, 5 hours engine

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Autherley Junction to Gailey

Lovely warm day for cruising. You can't hurry on this stretch and we didn't try. Tied up on the 24 hour moorings at Gailey, just clear of the trees.

Did some measurements with the clamp meter to confirm the odd behaviour of the alternator currents, and then posted the results on canalworld forum.

7.7 miles, 0 locks, 4 hours engine

Monday, 27 October 2014

Shroppie Bridge 8 to Autherley Junction

Nice day for cruising. Got down to Autherley Junction around midday, and dropped in on Oxley Marine for them to fix the fire grating fittings, which had arrived from Ely Chandlers. It was easier than I'd thought – Phil didn't have to drill out the old machine screws, and re-used them.

Winded at the junction with the Wolverhampton flight, and tied up just north of Autherley Junction

4.5 miles, 1 lock, 4 hours engine

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Brewood to Shroppie Bridge 8

Went to the morning service at Brewood, and then had a proper Sunday dinner in the boat. Set out mid-afternoon for the moorings by Bridge 8. Cruised with the hood up all the way, as I thought the bridges would allow it (which they did) and it saved having to drop it and then put it up again shortly after.

Turned off the inverter last night. Even so, the voltage dropped from 12.4 to 12.1 overnight – there should have been nothing on at all. Hope that doesn't imply that the batteries are fading, as getting them replaced under warranty would be a real hassle. Charging current first thing was just under 70. By the time we got to Bridge 8, it was showing 16 Amps on the battery lead. Didn't check the spread between the two alternators.

Ran the engine for an hour and a half in the morning, left it running when we arrived, and then gave it another hour last thing.

1.7 miles, 0 locks, 4 hours engine

Saturday, 25 October 2014


Stayed on the visitor mooring at Brewood while I did the first current analyses with the new clamp meter. Initial results show:

a) the alternators produce a charging current even at tick over;
b) minimal difference between 1000, 1200 and 1400 rpm;
c) charging current seems to drop quicker than I'd expected to around 20 amps;
d) inverter's standby current about 2 amps;
e) both TV and fridge take 5 - 6 amps when running, while TV on standby is minimal;
f) the relative currents from the domestic and engine alternators were not what was expected, and will need further investigation. Especially need to check that the domestic one is OK – this is the one whose regulator was changed in April / May last year.

0 miles, 4 hours engine

Friday, 24 October 2014

Norbury Junction to Brewood

Got the engine going at 8, which meant batteries getting a charge and, after 30 minutes, me getting a shower. The morning was less rainy than promised, with just an occasional spot of light drizzle.

After tying up in Brewood by Bridge 14, walked to the Post Office in the Co-op to collect the clamp meter. Then sat in the warm in the Lion Hotel downloading some iPlayer stuff – very comfortable. Finally, did a small shop, including discovering the butcher's / veggie shop, which seemed an excellent place.

Turner's were selling diesel at 69.9 – a full 10p cheaper than Norbury junction. Still not sure if I would have come down for it this time if I'd known, because of the rumour of quality problems I heard in Middlewich.

Ran the engine again in the evening.

10.7 miles, 1 lock, 7 hours engine

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Market Drayton to Norbury Junction

Rang Brewood Post Office at 9 to check they would accept a delivery, and then ordered the clamp meter from Amazon.

Ran the engine from 9 and set out about 10. Ran a standard wash-load. Not especially cold first thing. Made it through the second bridge in time to just jump a hire boat, who followed, a bit slower. The Tyrley flight was straightforward for us, but a boat waiting for us to come up the first lock got stuck on the shelf. They had just about got clear when I went back to help as we were coming up the second lock, but that meant a long wait for the hirers behind us and we never saw them again.

The run through to Norbury seemed very long – probably because there is now not a lot of novelty in this stretch, the wind became colder, and there seemed an awful lot of online moorings to pass.

At Norbury we got a pump-out (£18 w/o blue) and filled up with diesel, after putting some diesel bug treatment in the tank. 186.5 litres, to fill up from a 20 cm dipstick measurement. Then we filled the water-tank.

11.5 miles, 5 locks, 6.3 hours engine

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Audlem to Market Drayton

Not quite as dry as promised, but only a minor sprinkling of rain. Filled up at the water point below lock 13 – very good pressure, and then started up the remaining 13 of the Audlem flight. Some boats coming the other way helped at some of them, but not much traffic. In a couple of the locks, when I remembered, I put the engine into neutral at 1200 rpm to keep the charging going, given that tick over speed appears to be no more than that at which the alternator cuts in but delivers virtually no current.

Tied up at our usual spot in Market Drayton, with the shortest walk into town. Tried, without success, to find a shop that sold a clamp meter. After a Morrison's shop went into Wetherspoon's to download a couple of iPlayer programmes, but the connection was incredibly slow, and we gave up.

Checked the diesel level – getting a bit low so we will probably fill up at Norbury Junction.

6.5 miles, 18 locks, 5 hours engine

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


The hurricane duly arrived this morning, with the strongest winds in the middle of the day. The rain came and went, and has been very heavy. So we just stayed put.

Tried to phone Harworth Heating several time yesterday and today to order the Morso parts, but Vicky is constantly away from her desk. Getting to the point where they may not be in time to be sent to Oxley Marine for fitting when we get down to Autherley Junction.

In addition to the engine for the batteries, ran the central heating for a couple of hours. Batteries were down to 11.9 this morning. Run the engine again in the evening.

0 miles, 5 hours engine

Monday, 20 October 2014


Staying put in Audlem today. Walked up to the Post Office to collect the pressure cooker lid, and to confirm that the folk session is on at the Bridge Inn tonight.

Occasional slight shower, but with a little sunshine.

0 miles, 3 hours engine this morning

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Nantwich to Audlem

Church at St Mary's, coffee in the bookshop, lunch on the move as the promised wind got up. By early afternoon the wind was getting pretty strong. We thought it best to push on to Audlem to tie up for the next couple of days rather than overnight at Hack Green.

Drizzly rain started shortly after we stopped at the 48 hour moorings above the second lock.

5.7 miles, 5 locks, 4 hours engine

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sykes Hollow to Nantwich

Cleared lots of wet leaves from the roof before we set out.  Mostly cloud, tiny bit of drizzle which soon cleared, and occasional sun. Doubled back at Barbridge Junction after taking on water, to try and get a photo of Lionheart No 2, which we'd passed coming up, but she must have left. Winded above the lock, came back, turned left and tied up on the Nantwich embankment moorings after the aqueduct.

8.5 miles, 1 lock, 4 hours engine

Friday, 17 October 2014

Sykes Hollow

Another day of staying still, with lots of reading and some on-line forum discussion. Rang Oxley Marine to check they would have a go at fixing the broken bits of the Squirrel, and to see what their advice would we about probably leaking left bedroom window. They agreed to the first, and said we'd have a conversation about the second when w got there – they prefer to use rivets than machine screws, but that has implications for ease and timing of painting.

0 miles, 3 hours engine at 1000 rpm.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Sykes Hollow

Stopped at Sykes Hollow, just running the engine for the batteries.

Posted a question on Canal World forum about engine speed for battery charging. Some surprising answers, including some which suggested that at idle speed the alternators should probably be producing no output at all. Since this does not appear to be the case, I shall need to investigate further.

0 miles, 4 hours engine

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Middlewich to Sykes Hollow

Kings Lock finished the service first thing, changing the fuel filter, checking the separator, and making sure that the new water pump was behaving itself. I would have bought some of their particular diesel bug treatment, but they'd run out. They mentioned a relatively recent incident with Turner's diesel, which had not been as pure as it should have been. But I think we'll still call in there. Keith also tried and failed to see how to remove the fluorescent light cover in the bathroom.

Cool day, with one period of intense sunshine. Tied up at Sykes Hollow. Tried Nantwich, Venetian and Midway marinas for three nights mooring with a hook-up, but none of them could oblige – for Nantwich it was their turn-around period; Venetian only do a week at a time, if they have room; Midway don't do hook-up. So we may decide to do a little extra cruising in order to be in Nantwich for Sunday morning.

Water pump: Part + diagnosis and fitting (68 + 42): £110
Oil filter £8.10; Fuel filter £15.13; Labour for service £42

7.7 miles, 4 locks, 3 hours engine

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Bramble Cuttings to Middlewich

Drizzly day, but relatively straightforward run through the four locks to Middlewich junction.

250 hour engine service at Kings Lock, though the fuel filter only came late afternoon and will be fitted tomorrow morning. Checked engine mountings, alternator belts. Nigel diagnosed the water pump issue as failed seals in the pump itself, so that was replaced. Confirmed that water / coolant running through the central heating header tank all the time the Webasto is on is normal behaviour.

Stayed tied up at the chandlery overnight, with an electric hook-up. Need to check engine coolant in the morning.

2.7 miles, 4 locks, 2 hours engine

Monday, 13 October 2014

Dutton Bank to Bramble Cuttings

Got up late, but a quick breakfast meant we got away in time to get to Saltersford tunnel in time for the 9.30 – 9.50 passage. Stopped for water at Anderton, but not again until we tied up at Bramble Cuttings. Should be a short run through to Middlewich tomorrow for the engine service.

12.8 miles, 0 locks, 4.6 hours engine

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Lymm to Dutton Bank

Having booked a service at Kings Lock for Tuesday, we need to get to Middlewich on time. They don't have a fuel filter in stock so we thought about mooring at the Preston Brook Midland Chandlers and getting one first thing Monday morning. But in the end we pushed on to tie up at Dutton Bank. If they haven't got one in by Tuesday, we can probably stay at the junction overnight to do the service on Wednesday.

Combination of sunny and chilly. Didn't set out till the afternoon, what with joining with Lymm Baptist Church and then watching the Grand Prix over a sandwich lunch. But made it to Preston Brook tunnel in time for the 5.30 passage, and that got us tying up shortly after 6.

Bit strange to be back on the narrow canals.

12.7 miles, 0 locks, 4.2 hours engine

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Castlefield to Lymm

Delayed start because of the things I found to explore and photograph on the way to buy one or two things at Sainsbury's, and which found their way onto the Erin Mae blog.

When the sun was out it was quite hot, but we also had a lot of cooling cloud, and eventually some showers. Stopped near Dunham Massey for lunch, and then pushed on to Lymm. We want to get the engine serviced in Middlewich, but we are just to far away from there to have made it in two long days, so we stopped a little earlier than planned to give us two runs on Sunday and Monday.

Tied up between the bridges in the centre of Lymm, on the left hand side.

14 miles, 0 locks, 4 hours engine.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Wigan to Castlefield

Left the canopy up again this morning, but didn't need it until well after we had taken it down to get through the bridge in Leigh at the meeting of the L&L and the Bridgewater. It stayed down.

Sunny morning, showery afternoon. Made very good time and filled up with water at the boatyard just south of Waters Meeting. We also bought 2 bags of SuperTherm (£8 each) and winded there, to get back into the middle of Manchester for the night.

Tied up the other side from where we have before, in the arm next to the YHA, to make it easier to use their launderette. Good facilities in the Castlefield Hotel.

Long cruise, but again very good for the batteries.

20.3 miles, 0 locks, 1 lift bridge, 6.5 hours engine

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Burscough to Wigan

In view of the promised rain, left the canopy up, for the first time. Took off the side panels and the front and rear windows. Worked a treat for keeping us relatively dry and a bit warmer while cruising in the rain. All bridges fine – but only an inch clearance at L&L Lock 87 pedestrian bridge.

Stopped at the Mill gallery in Parbold, then visited "Yours is the earth" over the road.

Came through Wigan without mishap, though some of the locks were awkward. Tied up at Scotman's flash 200 yards before Bridge 2. Extended cruising meant the batteries were in fine fettle overnight.

12.5 miles, 8 locks, 3 swing bridges, 3 defunct swing bridges, 7.5 hours engine

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Aintree (L&L Bridge 9) to Burscough Bridge

Under way by 8.20 – forecast promised best of the weather in the morning, and so it proved. Stopped at Scarisbrick marina for a cylinder of gas. Intended to go on to Parbold, but after we emerged from Tesco at Burscough it was pouring, so we stopped.

Changed gas cylinder – £27.25.

14.6 miles, 0 locks, 11 swing bridges (2 permanently open), 5.5 hours engine

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Liverpool to Aintree (L&L Bridge 9)

Said farewell to Salthouse Dock at 10 a.m., after a delay for a boat leaving Albert Dock for the sea. John and Robert saw us through all the locks and the two swing bridges.

Heavy rain for quite a lot of the journey, so (a) a very late lunch, and (b) we tied up just after Bridge 9 instead of pushing on as originally intended. Several groups of youths sheltering under bridges as we passed, in various states of inebriation and/or friendliness.

12 miles, 6 locks, 2 swing bridges, 5.2 hours engine

Monday, 6 October 2014

Salthouse Dock to the rowing club and back

A short cruise in the pleasant evening light, exploring the docks south from Salthouse. We could probably have gone beyond the rowing club, but by the time we'd seen that we were already turning, and the light was beginning to go a bit.

1 mile, 0.5 hours engine

Friday, 3 October 2014

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Aintree (L&L Bridge 9) to Liverpool

Convoy time – several boats had arrived by 9 a.m. for the trip through the Liverpool canal link. Weather initially fine, with a shower and then more prolonged rain later.

CRT people really helpful in getting us down the first four locks, and then the final one into the basin. Tied up on pontoon S2. Found that the electric hook-ups are broken, which means we get free electricity. The Albert Dock info centre kindly refunded the £4 I'd paid for a 10 KwH card.

Went for a stroll through Liverpool One once it had stopped raining.

12 miles, 6 locks, 4.6 hours engine

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Heaton's Bridge to Aintree (L&L Bridge 9)

Lovely morning for travel on this last day of September – needed my sun hat. Land very flat and rather uninteresting, except the wood around Scarisbrick Hall. Made good enough time to delay lunch until we'd tied up, just before Bridge 9, beyond which you need permission to travel.

Checked the diesel level after travel – 29 cm. Figures from 2011 were:

31cm - 41 cm:  50 litres
57cm:  Full
Put in 137 litres from 31 to 57 cm

Manual gives the tank capacity as approx 40 gallons, but that's about 180 litres, and I know it's bigger than that. If the shape of the tank is uniform below 40 cm, that implies we have about 150 litres. If it's tapered (as the figures suggest) it could be only 50. So need to keep an eye after we emerge from Liverpool.

Weed hatch inspection, and removed a mixture of cloth, plastic and weed from the prop.

11.5 miles, 0 locks, 7 swing bridges (including 1 permanently open and 1 open but malfunctioning with a lady stranded on the off-side), 5 hours engine

Monday, 29 September 2014

Rufford to Heaton's Bridge

Got a pump-out for only £8.50 in St Mary marina in Rufford, following a sizeable discount because I hadn't complained when told we would have to wait a couple of hours because they were very busy on this Monday morning. So we set out pretty late to get back onto the main line of the L&L. Weather OK for the most part, but got very dark later on, so we tied up a bit earlier than expected.

Good visitor mooring at Heaton's Bridge, though a bit noisy early evening from traffic on the bridge, even though it's marked as only a minor road.

7 miles, 7 locks, 4 swing bridges, 6 hours engine

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Rufford to Tarleton and back

Voltage at 11.9 in the morning so ran the engine for an hour. Visited Rufford Old Hall when it opened at 11. Played the Broadwood! No time to walk in the gardens as we needed to get moving.

Pleasant day for travel, with the sun coming out a bit later. Winded after the swing bridge at Tarleton, just before the boatyard. Got round with about 2 feet to spare at the second attempt – at the first attempt I encountered a bit of the onside band sticking out just too far.

7.6 miles, 0 locks, 6 swing bridges, 5.7 hours engine

Saturday, 27 September 2014

L&L Bridge 32 to Rufford

Got the paperwork for the Liverpool link application sorted out at Burscough library. Then down the Rufford arm. A totally new mixture of gate / paddle apparatus for us. Tied up just after Bridge 7.

4.5 miles, 7 locks, 2 swing bridges, 4.8 hours engine

Friday, 26 September 2014

L&L Bridge 34 to L&L Bridge 32

Early rain – we waited until things were clear to start moving, but ran the engine for a while before then. A widebeam charity boat (Rose of Parbold) came through so we followed and they did Glovers swing bridge 33 for us both. Pulled in at the Rufford arm junction for water (very slow fill).

Needed to shop, so we moved on half a mile to Purbold, and went to the Tesco. Initially thought it would therefore be best to push on to Liverpool rather than go up the arm, but a phone call indicated we would need to email an application form in order to travel in on Sunday. There wasn't time, so we decided to go up the Rufford arm this weekend, and send in an application to go to Liverpool on Wednesday.

This meant going through two swing bridges (32 and 31) to wind, and then returning through them, but 32 was faulty on our return, and we had to ring engineering. They fixed it after about an hour, but it was late so we tied up just after going through.

3.3 miles, 0 locks, 5 swing bridges, 5.5 hours engine

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Parbold to L&L Bridge 34

Ran the engine in the morning. Wendy came at coffee time and we spent most of the day catching up. After she left we decided to go on down to the junction with the Rufford arm, but stopped short of that when we encountered the 24 hour moorings by the Ring o' Bells. Bit short on engine time for the batteries, but can't be helped.

Strong lateral wind when we were negotiating swing bridge 36 made things a bit tricky, and at first we couldn't get the key out of the mechanism because of the Stop warning arms had not clicked home completely.

2.5 miles, 0 locks, 1 swing bridge, 2.8 hours engine

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

L&L Bridge 4 to Parbold

Cold though fine for cruising. Came through all the locks with Steve and Wendy on NB Goosemoor, which was a real help. Surprised to find no mooring points in Wigan centre. Nowhere before Parbold really appealed as an overnight mooring, apart from Crooke. Parbold's CaRT visitor mooring seems quite good. It all made for quite a long day's travel.

11.5 miles, 9 locks, 1 swing bridge, 5.8 hours engine

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Boothstown to L&L Bridge 4 (Dover Bridge)

Grey start, sun coming out occasionally later, bits of drizzle from about 3 p.m.

No easy mooring to stop for the Astley Green colliery museum – might try on the way back. Didn't seem worth stopping in Leigh, where we joined the L&L. Thought about a walk at Pennington Flash, but it looked as though it would take a long time to walk down to the lake, round a bit and then back, and we wanted to moor up before the promised rain arrived.

Plank Lane swing bridge is now unmanned, but very easy to operate.

8.3 miles, 0 locks, 1 swing bridge, 4.5 hours engine

Monday, 22 September 2014

Castlefield to Boothstown

Checked with the Ship Canal office first thing about the closure of the Barton swing aqueduct. Transpires it had its maintenance in March, with the next one due last two weeks of March 2015.

Sunny but chilly for cruising. Up the northern arm of the Bridgewater, not knowing what to expect, but it was fine. Passed the Trafford Centre shopping centre, so tied up and went to take a look. Could hardly believe our eyes, but the toilets were spectacular. The swing aqueduct was more interesting than spectacular. I couldn't quite work out how the difference in levels between the two canals had come about.

The stretch beyond Worsley was suddenly very rural. The mooring at Boothstown is good – opposite the marina on the east side of the bridge over to the pub "The Moorings" (Fayre and Square).

9.5 miles, 0 locks, 3.5 hours engine

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Dunham Massey to Castlefield

Battery voltage was a bit down when I came to get my shower this morning, so the engine went on for an hour before we set out.

Mixture of sun and cloud. Passage to Waters Meeting was slow as we followed two other boats, so we pulled in for water just before the junction.

Uncertainty about whether the Barton swing aqueduct is open, where we might moor up on the northern arm of the canal, and how long it would take to get there all meant we headed for Castlefield, and moored up on the east bank of the main arm.

Ran the engine for a while in the evening.

10.4 miles, 0 locks, 6 hours engine

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Moore to Dunham Massey

Another grey day, though not too cold. Stopped in Lymm, but didn't find an ice-cream to suit! After tying up on the rings by Dunham Town Bridge we walked to Dunham Massey to see the way it was set up as a 1st World War hospital.

Ran the engine in the evening because we were anticipating watching quite a lot of TV.

11 miles, 0 locks, 5.3 hours engine

Friday, 19 September 2014

Runcorn to Moore

Nice quiet night in Runcorn. Plugged into their electric hook-up all night. Filled the water tank this morning.

Today was very cloudy and grey. A bit chilly. Stopped at the junction to get some things from Midland Chandlers.

Mooring chain
Security chain for chimney
Tin of hull blacking

Tied up just beyond the shop in Moore. Walked along to Walton Hall for an amazing afternoon. Walked back to the Red Lion for our evening meal. Starters excellent, mains a bit iffy.

7.2 miles, 0 locks, 2.5 hours engine

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Dutton Bank to Runcorn

Got to the Preston Brook tunnel just in time for the hourly 10-minute slot. Then on and turned left onto the Runcorn arm of the Bridgewater. First few miles much greener and nicer than anticipated.

Tied up at the moorings of the Bridgewater Motor Boat Club. Steve couldn't have been more welcoming. So, unexpectedly, we are staying the night in Runcorn. There is even a hook-up with a small amount of electricity available, and WiFi from the clubhouse!

8 miles, 1 lock, 3.2 hours engine

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Devil's Garden (Weaver) to Dutton bank (T&M)

Got going in a hurry once the two other boats left their moorings, so we wouldn't miss the lock, and caught them up as they were going into Dutton lock. Weather fine all day long after the early mist cleared. Carried on at the boat lift to do some shopping in Northwich and fill the water tank. Back at the boat lift we were the only ones in the queue, though we eventually found ourselves waiting quite a long time for a straggler.

On the T&M went aground as we wriggled through Bridge 200 – forgotten how shallow it is. Also took longer than expected to get to Dutton Bank. Several boats here using most of the rings, but fortunately one boat left so we didn't have to try using a pin – not sure how successful that would have been.

By far the longest day's boating we've done in a long time, but very good for the batteries.

15 miles, 2 locks, 1 boat lift, 8 hours engine

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Devil's Garden to Weston Point and back

Beautiful day in the sun. Explored as far as we could get on the Navigation. Found some official visitor moorings not mentioned in Nicholson's – at Rocksavage and Sutton Bridge. Tied up against a couple of boats to get off and have a look at Marsh Lock and the MSC.

Whole trip took just the morning.

11 miles, 0 locks, 3.5 engine hours

Monday, 15 September 2014

Barnton cut to Devil's Garden

Turned out we were not on the official Barnton cut mooring after all. That was a few hundred yards further on round the corner, with bollards (and more boats).

Trailed behind another narrowboat after the first lock (Saltersford). It was frustrating because he was going so slow that I couldn't get the engine up above 700 rpm, yet it didn't seem polite to overtake. In the end I stopped for  while, so that when we did get going, I could allow the engine to run freely and charge the batteries properly. We caught him up at Dutton locks with hardly any delay.

Noted that there are visitor moorings at both Acton bridge and Dutton lock – useful to remember.

6.5 miles, 2 locks, 4 hours engine

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Vale Royal to Barnton Cut

Cloudy start but the sun came out later on. Rowers out between the locks. Shopping and fill the water tank in Northwich.

Tied up on the mooring at Barnton Cut. No rings but easy to get the pins in . Very quiet spot, but with a riverside path running through it.

6 miles, 2 locks, 3 hours engine

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Vale Royal to Winsford and back

Grey to start with, warm sunshine later on. Down to the Red Lion mooring at Winsford. The end of the navigation is marked on the first bridge, by the pub, not on the second as Nicholson's guide seems to indicate.

The pub mooring was not very attractive, so we returned to Vale Royal.

Getting up speed on the river means travel time is a little less, so not sure what the effect on the batteries will be.

5.8 miles, 0 locks, 2 hours engine

Friday, 12 September 2014

Anderton to Vale Royal

Cloudy but dry. Down the Anderton lift and turned left up the Weaver. Stopped briefly in Northwich, courtesy of the marina in the centre, to put a package in the post, and then continued upstream to Vale Royal visitor moorings. No one else here and very quiet.

1600 rpm produced 5 – 5.5 mph upstream and the engine loved it. Need to continue to monitor the effect on battery charge.

Got bitten on the leg by something last night. Seem to be one or two mosquitos around.

4.5 miles, 1 boat lift, 2 locks, 3.5 hours engine

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Bramble Cuttings to Anderton

Bacon and eggs! Another nice day for travelling. Problems with the Anderton boat lift mean we won't go down until tomorrow, so tied up on the 24 hour moorings.

Tied the knots to attach the new length of anchor line, and hauled the anchor out of the front locker ready for the river.

Noticed that yesterday's shorter travelling time still gave us enough charge for the night, including an hour watching a video on the TV. So far the Sterling unit seems to be serving us well.

8 miles, 0 locks, 3.5 hours engine

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Middlewich to Bramble Cuttings

Picked up parcels from Middlewich Post Office, so a bit late starting. My lenses arrived, and so did Margaret's new fleece, but there's a damaged seam so it's going back.

Beautiful day for travelling. Stopped for lunch at Bramble Cuttings, and decided to stay for the night. Kept the engine running for a while,  and will need to decide this evening whether to run it again. First real test of the charging system.

Applied the first coat of blacking to the chimney collar and wooden support.

2 miles, 1 lock, 2.5 hours engine

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sykes Hollow to Middlewich

Another lovely day for cruising. Pup-out light came on in the morning. Church Minshull was £21 + Blue so we went on to Middlewich. Kings Lock Chandlery gave me the 30 litres of diesel they'd promised as part of filling the tank.

138 litres diesel (81 engine hours). Pump-out at Middlewich Boats: £15 including blue.

Went through the first three northward locks and tied up on the 48 hour moorings before the recreation ground.

Calculated 160 engine hours since last engine service (Oct 2013 / 1000 miles).

8 miles, 6 locks, 5 hours engine

Monday, 8 September 2014

Tattenhall marina to Sykes Hollow

Mixture of cloud and sunshine. Lot of traffic coming the other way. Put some preservative on the wooden chimney collar support before we left and again in the evening.

10.3 miles, 7 locks, 6 hours engine

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Chester to Tattenhall marina

Came up the Chester staircase and the next 5 locks with NB No Brass. Stopped to fish for their dropped windlass. Weather mixed, with a little sprinkling of rain at the start. Let the engine running while we stopped at Tesco and again when we looked for the windlass.

9 miles, 8 locks, 7 hours engine

Friday, 5 September 2014

Ellesmere Port to Chester

Sunny morning, grey afternoon. Finished going round the rest of the museum, and tried to see Dawn, but she wasn't there today. Filled up with water at the museum tap – that meant having to move the trip boat.

Masses of weed for the first part of the trip. Lunch at Bridge 134. Tied up in the basin at Chester, deciding not to go up the staircase tonight.

9 miles, 2 locks, 4.5 hours engine

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Shroppie Bridge 134 to Ellesmere Port

Another good day for travelling. Booked in with the Museum personnel and tied up in the lower basin. Explored quite a lot of the museum and went for a walk to see the Manchester Ship Canal.

5 miles, 2 locks, 3 hours engine

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Chester to Shroppie Bridge 134

Nice day for travelling, and came down the Chester staircase with Tony and Karina on NB No Brass. Hardly any traffic on the Shroppie. Tied up just before Bridge 134 to meet up with Alastair and Sue.

4.5 miles, 3 locks, 2 hours engine.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tattenhall marina to Chester

Lovely warm, sunny day. Shared the locks down into Chester with NB Chief. Moored up on the 48 hour moorings in the centre, trusting everything will be OK here. There are five or six other boats here, so a measure of shared security.

7.5 miles, 5 locks, 3.5 hours engine

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Tattenhall marina to Wharton's lock and back

David and Jo, Lewis and Charis came for a sunny Sunday afternoon's boating, with food. Great time. Tried three times to moor up on the towpath on the way back to cook the evening meal, but couldn't get near enough without grounding.

6.3 miles, 2 locks, 4 hours engine

Friday, 22 August 2014

Sykes Hollow to Tattenhall Marina

Mostly cloudy, occasional shower, a little sun. Started at 8.30. Even so we were pushing it a bit to get to Tattenhall in time to complete the rest of the journey home.

Some of the gates / paddles on the wide locks on the Shroppie were appallingly difficult.

10 miles, 7 locks, 5 hours engine

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Middlewich to Sykes Hollow

Early phone calls to Tattenhall and Leightons indicated (a) we could stay at Tattenhall marina, no problem; (b) it was not imperative to get the eye tests done immediately, but my lenses probably needed to be replaced – one of them is four years old. We decided to go home to have all that done, which probably means leaving Erin Mae at Tattenhall for about a week. So instead of calling with Kings Lock Chandlery today, we came straight on up the Middlewich Branch.

Grey day with occasional spots of rain. Most of the traffic against us except for one very slow learner / hirer in front for the last hour before a late lunch opposite the Aqueduct marina. Only one other boat tied up at Sykes Hollow when we arrived.

7.5 miles, 2 locks, 3 hours engine

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Wheelock Lock 61 to Middlewich

Up early to prepare for getting through the problem pound and lock, but first rumours were that it wasn't going to happen. So ran the engine from 8 as a battery charging measure. However, CaRT going us all moving reasonably quickly, even though the pound was still low.

Rain at lunch-time, but a sunny afternoon, so came on to Middlewich. All that meant the engine did a good stint today. Wanted to moor before Kings Lock, but there wasn't a lot of room, so came round on to the Middlewich branch of the Shroppie. Nice 48 hour mooring just before the second bridge.

7.5 miles, 12 locks, 8 hours engine

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Rode Heath to Lock 61

Horrible morning forecast (and realised), so got up late. Set out at 11 as the showers were beginning to die away. Usual mixture of straightforward and horrible lock gear. Nice sunny afternoon.

Encountered a stoppage due to failure of lock 63, so ended up in a long queue above lock 61, to wait overnight. Went down to see CaRT working on the lock, and we're promised we'll be on the move in the morning.

3 miles, 8 locks, 3.5 hours engine

Monday, 18 August 2014

Westport Lake to Rode Heath

Sunshine and showers as we came through Harecastle tunnel and down the Cheshire locks to Rode Heath. Some of the paddles were really stiff. Wind was a problem when trying to navigate some of the short pounds. An oncoming boater emerging from lock 52 was very slow. At the same time the bywash suddenly increasing from the pound above took Erin Mae's stern, and drove the bows right across the pound and almost into the oncoming boat.

Moored up just short of the winding hole at Rode Heath. Nice spot with a good view across the valley.

6.5 miles, 12 locks, 6 hours engine

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Barlaston to Westport Lake

Windy, sunshine and showers, some very heavy. Late lunch at the top of the Stoke locks before the final hour to the Westport Lake moorings. Wind made some manouevering very tricky.

8 miles, 6 locks, 5.5 hours engine

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Weston to Barlaston

Woke up to find the gas had run out – the spare, to my surprise, was also empty. That meant a quick start to get up to Stone for replacements.

2 gas cylinders from chandlery in Stone. Late lunch above the 4th lock. Then decided to push on through the Meaford flight, and tied up just after bridge 103 in Barlaston.

10 miles, 10 locks, 7 hours engine

Friday, 15 August 2014

GH Marina to Weston

Bought a new mooring line from GH Marina.

Phoned Ribble link office, who advised that the earliest date for north passage would be 23rd September, so change of plan needed. Will probably try to traverse the Pennines via the Leeds and Liverpool, since Nicholson's says the locks are 60 feet.

Setting out, went via Anglo-Welsh and bought a spare throttle / gear cable. Keith gave me a plastic cover he had for the Morse control lever hub.

Having set out late, only made it just north of Weston lock before tying up for the night.

3 miles, 2 locks, 3 hours engine.

Thursday, 14 August 2014


Ribble link website advised certain items were mandatory, so bought lifejackets and extra length of anchor rope from MC in Penkridge. Also bought stainless steel chimney and a galvanised liner. Discussed paint for the chimney collar and concluded hull blacking paint would do.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014


Clear up after children. Pump out at the marina.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Wolseley Bridge to GH Marina

Home on a very rainy morning.

3 miles, 2 locks, 3 hours engine

Friday, 1 August 2014

Wolseley Bridge to Wolseley Bridge

Went up to Rugeley for ice-cream. Winded and came back to Bridge 70. Another visit to the wildlife centre.

6 miles, 0 locks, 3 hours engine

Thursday, 31 July 2014

GH Marina to Wolseley Bridge

With Elissa, Sam and Theo. Moored at Bridge 70, and went with the children to the Wildlife Trust Centre

3 miles, 2 locks, 3 hours engine time

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Tixall Wide to GH Marina

Painted the bottom of the LHS paint locker with Rust Exit, Red Primer, Bilge Paint. Patched the blacking at the front of the hull, with Rust Exit and Midland Chandlers Blacking.

1 mile, 0 locks, 0.5 hours engine

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

GH Marina to Tixall Wide

Down to the Wide to do some repair work on the blacking.

1 mile, 0 locks, 0.5 hours engine