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