Saturday, 28 October 2017

GH Marina

Ran the Webasto in the morning (3.5 hours). Packed up.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Fancy Bridge 73A to Great Haywood marina

Cold even for a 10.30 start, but a really nice, sunny day. Went down to Dexta for diesel (170 litres @ 64p), then winded at Bridge 68, stopped for lunch at the Shugborough bridge again, and came back to the marina in time to get a pump-out (£19 with Blue).

7.3 miles, 3 locks, 4.5 engine hours

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Carr House Bridge 89 to Fancy Bridge 73A

Generally fine for travel, albeit cloudy. Came down past the marina, the junction and Haywood lock, and tied up just after the Fancy Bridge, looking out over Shugborough. Good TV signal (but not much to watch) but intermittent broadband.

8.2 miles, 4 locks, 4 engine hours

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Barlaston to Carr House Bridge 89

Fine, sunny day, though a little chilly first thing. great for cruising and not much traffic. Stopped in Stone on the mooring we stayed overnight on the way up, in order to do a bit of shopping and then pushed on through the remaining locks and Aston lock. Tied up just before Bridge 89 – relatively isolated and just a bit of the sound of the main road coming across the fields.

5.9 miles, 9 locks, 4.1 hours

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Milton to Barlaston

Weather forecast had been terrible and we'd thought about staying in Milton for the day. When we got up at about 9 it wasn't raining and the forecast was better, so we decided to go after all. Encountered some rain but not a lot.

Travel was mostly OK but had its moments. Had to wait for an extra boat to come up the Bedford Road staircase locks. Then we had some excitement in Stoke top lock, with not dropping one of the top paddles. Swept Erin Mae back towards the cill and the prop wouldn't drive her forwards. Felt dangerous and scary, though the stern gear was probably just clear of catching the cill. Mgt had to drop the bottom paddles, while I climbed up and opened the top paddles to float Erin Mae. That was when we realised the paddle had not been dropped. The gates were very heavy and the whole experience not good. However, it feels and sounds as though no damage has been done.

Meanwhile we'd gone up to Bridge 117 and found the GT Autogas store where they sell 13Kg bottles of gas for £21. Winded at the Toby Carvery.

The rest of the locks were OK and we ended a long day at the Wedgwood moorings between Trentham and Barlaston.

10.6 miles, 9 locks, 1 lift bridge, 6.9 engine hours.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Hollybush Inn to Milton

Grey day, bit of drizzle at times. Came up the three locks to the junction and then took on water at Endon Bank. Moored up on the best bit (the first bit) of the Milton armco so we were out of sight of Bridge 18.

5.2 miles, 9 locks, 2 lift bridges, 4.5 engine hours

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Hollybush mooring

Kit & Angie's Golden Anniversary weekend. Ran the engine in the morning for charging and hot water. Peter & Jane picked us up around 10.30 and took us over to where the family was staying. Becky's plans for it to be a surprise worked a treat. It was a brilliant day. We got to walk on the Tissington Trail before afternoon tea at Callow Hall. After getting back to the house, we had a lot of music with everybody, including the children, before eating. A huge amount of fun was had.

P&J dropped us off at Erin Mae afterwards at about 10 p.m.

0 miles, 2 engine hours

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Hollybush mooring

Wet and windy day. We decided that, if necessary, we would ask forgiveness for staying put. Ran the engine in the evening as there's very little from the solar.

0 miles,  1.5 engine hours

Hollybush Inn to Oak Meadow Ford Lock and back

Tim and Chris came for the day. Rain died away as they came, so we had a good day's boating, even if it was a bit chilly. The Churnet gauge was in the red at Oak Meadow Ford Lock, so we had lunch and then winded for the return journey. Tied up outside the Hollybush in the same place, but facing the other way.

7 miles, 6 locks, 6.6 engine hours

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Leek to the Hollybush Inn

Cool to start with, and rain before we arrived, which came on heavy after mooring up just short of the Hollybush Inn.

3.5 miles, 3 locks, 2.6 engine hours

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Milton to Leek

Set out just after 10. Cool but mostly dry day. Picked up water at Endon Bank. Canal very shallow and slow – with the water stop added almost an hour to the CanalPlan estimate. Winded before the Leek moorings and reversed into place.

7.5 miles, 6 locks, 2 lift bridges, 5.4 engine hours

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Barlaston to Milton

Very windy last night – took the aerial completely off the roof to stop it bouncing. Otherwise a good night.

Today was chilly but sunny. Got away around 9 and made good progress through the locks. Only the last two of the Stoke flight were against us. Water at Etruria. Then up the staircase. Trouble with the offside paddle on the very top gate meant the top chamber wouldn't fill until we realised what was wrong. After that, things were straightforward. Took the chimney off at Etruria in preparation for Bridge 9.

Canal very shallow, and leaves tended to gather round the prop. The lift-bridge now has a control panel on the towpath side, which makes everything easier. Nice to see more housing development along the canal in Stoke, including one estate with two kilns left as heritage-markers.

Tied up just beyond Bridge 19 in Milton, as usual.

10 miles, 9 locks, 1 lift bridge, 6.7 engine hours

Monday, 16 October 2017

Stone to Barlaston

Hurricane Ophelia day. Some rain overnight, and a bit more cloudy and blustery than promised. The third lock on the Meaford flight took a very long time to fill, with a lot of leaking. Tied up south of the bridge for the Wedgwood factory. It's a bit exposed to the wind, but not too and, and the TV signal is good.

Extraordinary sun / cloud combination at lunch time – got some good photos with a tripod.

3.8 miles, 6 locks, 2.8 engine hours

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Great Haywood to Stone

Wed 11th October: Drove to Bransgore
Thursday 12th October: Mgt's dental appointment + lots of washing
Friday 13th October: Drove back to Great Haywood

Today went to Shugborough for a celebratory birthday coffee and to get some honey for P/J & K/A – which they didn't have, so bought some Staffordshire honey from the Canal Farm Shop instead. The Shugborough Danish pastry was yummy!

Left the marina at about 12.30, and reversed out from the mooring because of the wind. Then a dry and sometimes sunny run to Stone. Boater who helped us through the first Stone lock told us of a space behind his boat on the Chandlery's moorings, where no-one would mind us staying over the weekend, so we tucked it in there, above the second lock.

9.6 miles, 6 locks, 4.7 engine hours

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Acton Trussell to Great Haywood

Nice day for travel, and stopped at Tixall Wide for lunch. Boater behind complimented me on the steering to moor technique! Got back to the marina mid-afternoon and got a pump-out (£19 with Blue, so £3 cheaper than Anglo-Welsh).

7.6 miles, 2 locks, 3.8 engine hours

Monday, 9 October 2017

Penkridge to Acton Trussell

Cloudy day, a bit of sun later. An oncoming boater said there was a tree across the cut at Radford, so we decided to stop at the "Marsh Harrier" field, above Deptmore lock. Nice relaxing afternoon, with just a bit of the M6 in the background.

3.8 miles, 5 locks, 2.5 engine hours

Sunday, 8 October 2017


Joined with the parish church – intriguing mix of evangelical theme and high church ritual. Went for lunch at the Star, and then stayed on our mooring for the day. SG was reading around 70 at 6 p.m., so figured there was no need to run the engine (65 by bedtime, 51 in the morning).

0 miles, 0 engine hours

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Cross Green to Penkridge

Cool, cloudy day for cruising. Very little traffic. Stopped at Gailey for water, came down five locks and moored up just after the Cross Keys pub, between Filance bridge and lock. Walked down into the village for some supplies and to see where we might have a roast dinner.

7.3 miles, 5 locks, 4 engine hours

Friday, 6 October 2017

Bridge 8, SUC to Cross Green

Largely fine day for travel, with a few spots of rain but also some sunshine. Called at Oxley Marine to get a 250 hour service done. We're only just over 230 hours, but we were passing so it seemed wise.

People cleaning hire boats at the Autherley Junction stop lock were completely blocking the landing. And then, while we were tied up at Oxley Marine, NB Marquis stopped for fuel and thought nothing of bumping us quite heavily.

Moored up just short of the Fox and Anchor Inn at Cross Green.

6.3 miles, 1 lock, 2.7 engine hours

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Norbury Junction to Bridge 8, SUC

Wrapped up well for this trip, but actually had a reasonable amount of sunshine.

The storm last night was not too bad. Rain in the evening but cleared up. The wind overnight sounded a little scary, but didn't bump Erin Mae around at all, partly because of the sheltered mooring. There were masses of leaves on the boat in the morning, which we cleared up after mooring up at the Bridge 8 VM.

12.5 miles, 1 lock, 5.3 engine hours

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Market Drayton to Norbury Junction

A long day – got cold. We wanted to find somewhere safe with a storm due overnight. Tied up on the 24 hour visitor moorings at Norbury.

Much trickier coming up the Tyrley flight than going down it. The bywash at some of the locks made getting into them without some bumps very tricky.

11.4 miles, 5 locks, 5.6 engine hours.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Audlem to Market Drayton

Went down to Moss Hall Winding Hole below Audlem Bottom Lock, winded and came back up to the water point to fill the tank. Then up the Audlem flight in fair weather than alternated between too hot and too cold. Decided to do the Adderley locks as well, so came all the way to Market Drayton, tying up on the Ladybird moorings as usual. Walked to Morrisons for a shop. Knackered!

6.5 miles, 22 locks, 6.8 engine hours


So windy, it was easy to justify staying put, which we wanted to do because of the Shroppie Fly folk session. That was a good evening.

Ran the engine for an hour morning and evening for hot water and charging.

0 miles, 2 engine hours

Sunday, 1 October 2017


Stayed on the mooring. Dull day with rain in the afternoon. Methodist church, Shroppie Fly for lunch, folk session to be Monday. Did not run the engine, but the SmartGauge was down to 56 by 10.30 p.m., so will need to run the engine in the morning.

0 miles

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Adderley to Audlem

Cloudy day, with  little sun. Got down to the moorings just as rain began. Found Adrian and Dawn on Chalico, and Adrian helped create space behind them for us, just below lock 13.

2.7 miles, 13 locks, 3 engine hours

Friday, 29 September 2017

Market Drayton to Adderley

Set off late morning, once the overnight rain was over. Dawdled the three miles to Adderley, came down the flight and tied up on the moorings at the bottom. After lunch we were going to go for a walk to the village, to see it and to find a spot with mobile signal or a WiFi hotspot, but the rain came on again heavy for a while. Eventually went for our walk about 4.45. Found a BT hotspot among the houses, and posted to the Erin Mae blog.

3.6 miles, 5 locks, 2.4 engine hours

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Gnosall to Market Drayton

With sun promised all day, but rain tomorrow and Sunday, decided to do a longer run than usual. All very straightforward, though we had to wait more than once for hirers to negotiate a bridge hole or a narrow section as they approached us. Tied up at "the Labybird moorings" in Market Drayton.

14 miles, 5 locks, 5.8 engine hours

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Bridge 7/8, Shropshire Union to Gnosall

Cloudy, grey day, but only started to rain as we tied up. Coffee / cake (The-Mess Bistro) and shopping in Brewood. Coffee was good at a good price, cake was nice but a little dry. Ham salad batons from the bakery were very good.

Water at Wheaton Aston, then diesel from Turner's (68.28 litres @ 58.9). That makes about 1.6 litres /hour on this trip (ignoring Webasto use, which would probably account for 4 litres or so).

10.1 miles, 1 lock, 4.1 engine hours

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Calf Heath to Bridge 7/8, Shropshire Union

Lots of traffic early on, but leaving later we missed most of it. Very pleasant in the sun. Came through the narrows north of Autherley Junction without meeting anyone. Overall, made very good progress.

9.1 miles, 1 lock, 3.5 hours

Monday, 25 September 2017

Teddesley Park to Calf Heath

Went to Midland Chandlers first thing, to replace some stolen fenders and get a second aluminium windlass. Stopped briefly in Penkridge for a visit to Jaspers and one or two other places, and because we were going to be stuck in a queue for the lock anyway.

When we returned, a boat coming down the lock prompted us to get going in spite of slight drizzle. Came through to Gailey with some help from other boaters on some of the more difficult locks, took on water, and kept going until just after Long Moll's Bridge, 76 (passing "Substance Inside" on the way!). The extra time will help to give a bit of leeway for getting to Audlem by next Sunday evening.

6.3 miles, 8 locks, 4.5 engine hours

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Radford Bank to Teddesley Park

Carvery lunch at the Radford Arms  – much better than last time some years ago. Then an easy cruise to Park Gate Lock, ready for a visit to Midland Chandlers in the morning.

4.1 miles, 3 locks, 2 engine hours

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Great Haywood to Radford Bank

Water at GH, pump-out from Anglo-Welsh (£20 with blue), then a steady cruise to Radford Bank so that  on Sunday (a) we could have a carvery for lunch, and (b) we would have a reasonable bit on Sunday afternoon to the Penkridge Midland Chandlery lock, where we wanted to stop overnight.

5 miles, 1 lock, 3 engine hours

Friday, 22 September 2017

Little Haywood to Great Haywood

Came up Haywood Lock and tied up a hundred yards after. Kept the engine running for a while as we doing a wash load. Early sun made us think we might dry it easily, but it rained intermittently in the afternoon.

Picked up lenses from the PO, replaced the 2032 batteries for the scales, bought more kindling for £3.99. The chain locker had a inch of water, so cleared that out.

0.5 miles, 1 lock, 1 hour engine

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Rugeley to Little Haywood

Rain promised, so we started earlier and did 3½ miles to a spot overlooking Shugborough. Rained for a bit but not much.

Got 3 bags of SuperTherm from Auriga (25kg for £12).

3.3 miles, 1 lock, 1.4 engine hours

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Fradley to Rugeley

Mostly dull but dry. A fair bit of traffic meant we queued at Wood End Lock and to get through the narrows. The most awkward moment was passing NB Sanity Again moored up, with a difficult bend, not a lot of room, and a boat coming the other way. I cleared them by about three inches, and only realised who they were afterwards. Glad we didn't touch!

Stopped to shop in Rugeley, and then used on to the 48 hour moorings by the aqueduct over the Trent – our first time to tie up here. Two of our neighbours had experience of going up to Lechlade and said that mooring on the Thames was not really too difficult.

9.2 miles, 3 locks, 1 swing bridge, 4.5 engine hours

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Whittington to Fradley

Lovely day for cruising but we decided to make it relatively short and tie up at Fradley – in the event, before the swing bridge – so we could eat at the Swan tonight. Andy and Helen Tidy came by, so we chatted and bought some product, and then went for a walk in the woods.

SmartGauge on 88 overnight, but up to 98 by Fradley.

3.4 miles, 0 locks, 1.5 engine hours

Monday, 18 September 2017

Fazeley to Whittington

Stayed on the Fazeley mooring Thursday afternoon to Monday morning, without needing to run the engine for the batteries. SmartGauge down to 59 by Monday morning.

Reversed back to Fazeley junction and took on water. Mostly fine, with some sunshine. Just before King's Orchard marina the rain began to come down heavily, so we stopped and had a late lunch inside.

7.7 miles, 0 locks, 3.6 engine hours

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Fradley to Fazeey

Sunshine and cloud, with just a spot of rain at one point. Coventry Canal not very busy, but as usual we met at least two boats underneath awkward bridges. The canal is shallow, which makes for erratic steering. One incident pushed us underneath blackthorn bushes which damaged the aerial.

However, generally made good time and filled up with water at the junction before coming round the corner to moor behind NB Sonflower by the bridge that led to St Paul's.

11.2 miles, 0 locks, 4.3 engine hours

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Rugeley to Fradley

No storm damage last night. Sunshine this morning for the first hour or two of travel, and then showers. Queues at the locks lengthened the journey considerably. Tied up at the end of Fradley's visitor moorings, after filling the water tank.

7 .5 miles, 3 locks, 1 swing bridge, 4.6 engine hours

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Great Haywood to Rugeley

Very windy getting out – had to reverse up our arm of the marina. Mostly sunny, a little bit of drizzle, but when that went it got quite hot. Tied up on Rugeley visitor moorings at a point where we shall hopefully have some shelter from the wind expected in the night.

5.5 miles, 2 locks, 3.5 engine hours

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Tixall Wide to Great Haywood

Beautiful overnight stay at the Wide. Then we gently cruised back to the marina, got cleaned up and came back to Bransgore.

1 mile, 0 locks, 1 engine hour

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Great Haywood to Tixall Wide

Needed to get a pump-out, so went over to the wharf about 2 p.m., though we had to wait for Shropshire Blue. Then decided to cruise down to Tixall Wide for the afternoon, and ended up staying the night since the weather is great – a good way to check that the electrical systems are functioning well in the wild.

Halsall came round the corner as we emerged from the marina, so we bought another bag of SuperTherm @ £9.25 for 20Kg.

2 miles, 0 locks, 1.5 engine hours

Monday, 8 May 2017

Great Haywood

Speedy reply from Prestolite confirmed the alternator has 12 poles. While fiddling with the iPhone tachometer app I realised I'd miscalculated the ratio of the pulleys. For some reason I'd been working all along with 1.33, but the crankshaft pulley is 5 inches and the alternator pulley 3 inches. So the calculation is 5/3*12/2 = 10 pulses per revolution. I'd used 8 first time around. Once that was in place I got an idling speed of about 800 rpm. That's a bit higher than the speed registered by the old tacho, of about 600, but it should be accurate, if my pulley measurement was correct.

At this point another problem arose. With the constant moving of the control panel, a lead had come adrift – a female spade connector on the red core of a thick 2-core cable running down into the engine compartment, and not part of the wiring loom as such. It was not obvious where it should be connected. The engine started, but now would not stop with the stop switch, so I had to locate the emergency stop lever on the engine itself. The warning buzzer was not coming on.

The cable was labelled in orange marker pen "supply to Q2". Q2 is shown on the Aqualine wiring diagram as a master RCB switch controlling the supply to the horn and headlight, and is located in the electrical cupboard. Its powered end is shown as connected to the "engine ignition switch". It transpired the other (blue) core was attached to the red one at the bottom terminal of Q2, so returning 12 volts back up to the control panel area. It is connected to two white leads which feed (a) the stop switch, and (b) the domestic alternator warning light. That explained why the stop switch did not work.

The engine manual shows which connectors on the ignition switch are active under which conditions, and from that it became clear that the lead should probably be attached to pin 54 (live under Run, Heat and Start). 58 (live under Run)was also a possibility, but seemed less likely, especially as it offers only 4 amps. Making that connection restored all functionality.

I used self-amalgamating tape to tidy up the wires on the tachometer adapter harness, and re-seated the tachometer with silicone grease. The rubber sealing ring doesn't fit very well, and we shall have to see whether the combination stops water ingress. I used the Sikaflex substitute from Kings Lock to seat and seal the panel back in place on the column.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Great Haywood

Wildwood church in the morning, and Robin and Helen invited us to lunch – a very good time.

Back at Erin Mae I soldered the new, crimped extension piece, covered it with self-amalgamating tape, fitted a new ring connector and attached it to the alternator. This time I got a reading on the tachometer, but it was showing 1000 rpm at tickover, which I didn't think could be right.

The calculation depends on the pulley diameters and the number of poles in the alternator. I put up a post on CanalWorld forums asking about the poles, and got a suggestion about an app that would turn a phone into a strobe tacho. Then it occurred to me to email Prestolite and ask them. In the meantime found an iPhone app that would run on the iPhone 4, but by now it was too late to test it.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Great Haywood

Completed the construction of the switch device for configuring the tacho. The procedure went well.
However, when I started the engine the reading stayed at 0 rpm. Traced the problem to a broken wire at the alternator W lug. Got down to Maplin in Stafford to get some stuff for repairing the link. That included a 40W soldering iron set.

The wire was difficult to work on because the engine coolant hoses were in the way, stopping me getting easy access with the crimper. Eventually I stripped down a connecter to its metal core, and was able to crimp it with the small electrical pliers. That enabled me to extend the wire with a short length of the red core from 18 amp ring mains cable.

Back was killing me by the time that was done!

Friday, 5 May 2017

Great Haywood

Arrived about 6 p.m. In the evening I fitted the audio isolator transformer between the AudioCast and the Lepy amp. This resolved the noise issue, so clearly had been an earth loop problem.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Great Haywood

Came up for a single night.

Fitted the AudioCast device, but found there was a lot of noise when both it and the amplifier were connected to the same 12v power socket. Assessing that took up a lot of time.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Great Haywood

Came up for a single night. De-winterised – all the water systems seemed fine. Fitted new filter cartridge. The new one is flowing slower, but possibly that means the old one was not seated properly.

Gas took a little while to get flowing to the burners at full rate. Perhaps we need to turn off the supply nearer to the cooker over winter.

Fitted the Lepy amplifier, connecting it to the front L & R speaker cables. It's clear that it would be straightforward to connect the sub-woofer, if we had an amp with a separate bass channel.

On Saturday we cleaned / polished the floor with the Osmo stuff.