Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Castlefield to Boothstown

Very hot, sunny day. John Rylands in the morning. Then reversed out of Castlefield basin. Saw Emmeline Pankhurst going down the lock on to the MSC.

Pump out (£15 inc blue) and water at Stratford Marine, and stopped at Trafford Park for screws and washers for the insulation. Annoying that B&Q didn't have exactly what I needed. May order off the internet and get a refund.

Tied up on the rings by the Fayre and Square pub at Boothstown. Pudding in the pub!

9.9 miles, 0 locks, 4 engine hours.

Monday, 29 June 2015


Cloudy day with some sunny intervals in the afternoon. Solar panel kept the batteries at the same level, but we needed to run the engine in the evening.

Visit to Salford Quays.

0 miles, 2.5 engine hours.

Sunday, 28 June 2015


Stayed put. Went to Christ Central church a.m. in the Comedy Store. SmartGauge read 44% in the morning, so ran engine for about an hour and a half, and again in the evening.

0 miles, 3.5 engine hours

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Dunham Woodhouses to Castlefield

Bright and sunny as we got under way shortly after 8.30. As ever, the long haul up through Sale must be one of the most dreary parts of the network. Got to Castlefield mid-morning, and found there was very little room. Tied up at first on the southern side, but were able to move across to the northern side for the sake of the solar panel when the Fender Boat (our pigtailed friend) left.

Did a wash in the YHA launderette. They're busy setting up the open-air theatre area for a music event next Thursday. Posted the blog from the pub up from the YHA.

10.3 miles, 0 locks, 3 engine hours.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Runcorn to Dunham Woodhouses

APC van arrived early with our sound insulation panels, and fortunately the BMBC guy had just gone up to open the gate. So we were able to leave before 10. Weather dull, with occasional very light shower. Stopped in Lymm for a quick Sainsbury shop, using (for just 30 minutes) one of the mooring reserved for a boat coming to the Historic Boats weekend there. Also got diesel from the diesel boat Ariel, who was tied up opposite. 95.5 litres @ 72p.

Then came on through to Dunham Woodhouses and tied up nearest to the Bridge – several boats already here. Heavy rain shower shortly after arriving, but cleared up for a fine evening.

17.5 miles, 0 locks, 5.5 engine hours.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Dutton Bank to Runcorn

Ordered the sound insulation panels from T W Marine. Got them sent to the BMBC, so came to Runcorn to wait overnight for them to be delivered, hopefully in the morning. Stopped at Preston Brook Midland Chandlers for a new centre line.

Plenty of room at BMBC when we arrived at 1 p.m., but the gaffer was relieved we only wanted to stay one night as they have some sort of Commodore's festival with boats arriving tomorrow.

Fitted the fuse for the shower pump, and renewed the PTFE tape at the shower / pump junction.

7.1 miles, 0 locks, 3 engine hours.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Bramble Cuttings to Dutton Bank

Set out at about 8.30 – fine and sunny at first, a bit overcast later. Got the second wash through in two days, and still ended up on nominal 97% SOC by the time the sun went in.

In touch with TW Marine by phone and measured up the deck for insulation. Bridgwater Motor Boat Club at Rincorn said I could get the panels delivered there, and CanalPlan suggests I can get from there to Castlefields in the time available before Saturday night.

First time we've got a mooring on the rings at Dutton.

12.9 miles, 0 locks, 5 hours engine.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Middlewich to Bramble Cuttings

Did some shopping at Morrison's before setting out. Very sunny and hot. Ran a wash on the way down, so kept the engine going after we tied up. Got a mooring in the sun at Bramble Cuttings, and at 2 p.m. the solar was putting about 20 amps in.

1.5 miles, 0 locks, 3 engine hours

Monday, 22 June 2015

Middlewich (Shroppie) to Middlewich Big Lock

Reversed from our mooring half a mile back to Wardle Lock, because of the queue going up the canal which would have resulted in several hours delay before we could wind.

Tied up a couple of hundred yards below Big Lock, on the first corner.

1 mile, 4 locks (1 backwards), 2.5 hours engine

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Friday, 19 June 2015

Thursday, 18 June 2015


SmartGauge showing about 60% this morning. Day was rather cloudy in the morning, but a bit sunnier in the afternoon, and it had built up to 65 by the end of the day, which included 45 minutes of watching Andy Murray.

Bought a cylinder of gas for £26.25 from a floating trader who passed as we came back from the shops. It smelled a little, and the top screw was slightly undone so hope it hasn't lost too much of its contents.

0 miles

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Wheelock to Middlewich

Another early (ish) start, with a trip to the water point first because we'll be nearly 5 days on the next mooring. Much chillier day than yesterday. Only 5 locks down to Middlewich, and we'd have been tempted to moor well above Kings Lock where the boats started, if it weren't for needing a pump-out. Got that at Middlewich Narrowboats (£15 including blue) and in the end that served us well as we reversed back to the junction, went up Wardle lock onto the Shroppie and got a space about half a mile out of town. Middlewich is already lotado for the festival.

6.7 miles, 6 locks, 5.5 hours engine

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Westport Lake to Wheelock

Got going at 7.30 to get to the front of the Harecastle queue. Sunny day for travelling, quite hot, and very long before of the target we had set ourselves. Came down the Cheshire locks in convoy. Got a mooring just before the water points in Wheelock – with a plastic-bag-flagged chain round the gate post to hold the stern mooring line.

Italian restaurant in Wheelock still functioning, and a table-full of boaters seems to have had a good meal.

10.1 miles, 25 locks, 8.5 engine hours

Monday, 15 June 2015

Caldon Canal Bridge 21 to Westport Lake

Very quiet night above Engine Lock. No hurry in the morning – got going about 11. Sunny day, with some cloud later on. Solar panel worked in tandem with the engine on the slower sections, but dropped back to zero when the alternator was giving more.

Tied up at Westport Lake,  and sat out in the sun. Used the umbrella attachment for the tiller to put up the whirligig. Worked well – not enough wind to give any alarms with washing getting detached.

8.3 miles, 4 locks, 1 lift bridge (auto), 4.5 hours engine.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Leek to Caldon Canal Bridge 21

Nice late start from Leek. Weather cloudy, with a touch of drizzle later, but not too cold. Tied up above Engine Lock, just past the second the two lift bridges. Very quiet mooring.

6.7 miles, 4 locks, 2 lift bridges, 4.5 hours engine.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Caldon Canal Bridge 49 to Leek

Decided to try floating slowly across the slight breach in the obstruction – with a good result. Weather continued to be drizzly as we came up to the junction and turned right. Moored up at the end of the Armco in Leek. Shopped at Morrison's – but it's an awful hike into town from the moorings.

Discovered that this is still the River Churnet, so it obviously doesn't start where I thought it did, somewhere just below the Hollybush.

7.8 miles, 7 locks, 5 hours engine.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Caldon Canal Bridge 49

Stopped the whole day and for a second night because of the obstruction.

Peter and Jane were taken to Leek by an extremely kind and thoughtful native.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Hollybush Inn to Caldon Canal Bridge 49

Another very sunny day. Went down to Froghall where we winded and tied up for lunch. Then back up to Consall Forge and moored up by the lime kiln.

In the evening discovered that a tree had come down and was completely blocking the navigation about 500 yards north of our mooring. A local angel volunteered to take Peter and Jane back to Sheffield if we were still stuck the following the day.

BBQ on the tow path – first time we've used the Weber on Erin Mae.

8.5 miles, 6 locks, 5 hours engine.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Milton to the Hollybush Inn

5.4 miles, 8 locks, 2 lift bridges (manual), 4.5 hours

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

T&M Trentham lock to Milton Bridge 18

Dry weather. Went past the Etruria junction to get a pump-out (£15 without Blue) at the Festival Park Marina (Black Prince Yard). Stopped for water and lunch at the CRT services by the museum. Then headed up the Caldon – pleasantly surprised by the new housing developments along the early section after Hanley Park.

Milton seemed OK so we tied up there in spite of the warning from the guy at the marina. We were joined by two other boats, and had a safe night.

10.2 miles, 8 locks, 1 lift bridge (auto), 6 hours engine.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Stone to T&M Trentham Lock

Moved Erin Mae to the 48 hour mooring just below Stone's bottom lock, and picked up Peter and Jane at the bus stop outside Morrison's. Lunch when they arrived, then straight on with the journey.

Tried to get a pump-out at Stone Boatbuilders, but the person who does that was "on holiday". Seems it's a truck service, so only one person does it. So we pushed on north and tied up on the moorings just below Trentham lock. No other boats there.

4.5 miles, 8 locks, 3.5 hours engine.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Great Haywood to Stone

Sorted out what we want to leave in the car and got going about 9.30. Weather fine and generally sunny, but still pretty windy. Big hold-up at Weston Lock with someone who allowed a line to foul prop and bottom gates and nearly sank his boat.

Got to Stone mid-afternoon and tied up about 400 yards below the bottom lock.

9.3 miles, 4 locks, 6 hours engine.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Kings Bromley to Great Haywood

With a reasonably early start we made it to Rugeley by coffee time. Very windy, though with sunshine most of the time. Shopping in Rugeley, then stopped off for diesel from Dave Freeman – 88.5 litres. Much more traffic in the afternoon with queues at locks. Home by about 4.30.

12.4 miles, 2 locks, 6 engine hours.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Mercia Marina to Kings Bromley

Longest ever day's cruising – first of the three legs from Mercia to Stone. Mostly ideal weather, with just a touch of drizzle under dark clouds for 10 minutes in the afternoon. Tied up just north of Wood End Lock (20), the stern on Armco with a sprung line, the bows a long way off the bank but held tight with a long line.

16 miles, 14 locks, 8.5 hours engine

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Mercia Marina

Three windows re-seated by Aqua (2 bedroom, 1 in the living area). 6½ hours total: 4 for Ian and 2.5 for Lyndon.

Looked at sound insulation in Midland Chandlers. 1000 x 600 panels, self-adhesive, for £35 is a bit cheaper than TW. however, the TW catalogue implies theirs are 5 Kg each, which MC's certainly are not. More research needed.

Bought a padlock for the BBQ, a tin of International Yacht Primer and 10 metres of window tape.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Mercia Marina

Fine day with the wind steadily dropping. Got up late. Walked into Willington in the afternoon.

Watched a new Collingwood (Liverpool) Boats boat being craned from a lorry into the water, and learned that New & Used are agents for them as for Aqualine.

Phoned Wesley windows to chat about possibilities for replacement. They do 75mm, 85mm and 100mm radii. They only supply, don't fit. Aqua's Ian confirmed ChannelGlaze's gripe that Aqualine's Polish window manufacturers simply chose their own (non-standard) radius, so nothing standard is likely to fit.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Mercia Marina

Wet nearly all day long, so work on the windows was not possible. Justin advised us that it would probably be Thursday since they had a busy day planned for Wednesday.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Branston to Mercia Marina

Still cool enough for wet weathers. Set out in time to get to Mercia for a late lunch.

Checked in with the Aqua Boats office, and got a hook-up.

7.9 miles, 2 locks, 3 hours engine.