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