Sunday, June 27, 2010

Going Potty

Friday 25th June. 0 miles, 0 locks.
Today was a day of walking the streets finding pottery factory shops.
Royal Stafford, Moorland, Dudson - closed down, Moorcroft, Burleigh & William Edwards.
An interesting fact: All the potteries close at the same time for 2 weeks holiday. Guess when they are? No factory tours for us although the Moorcroft Heritage visitor centre did put on a video which did a good job of showing what they do.

Saturday 26th June. 7 miles, 3 locks, 1 lift bridge.
We headed off south to the junction of the Trent & Mersey with the Caldon Canal. Visited the Industrial museum which is based around a Flint & Bone grinding mill. We now know why some pottery is called bone china. Bone is added to the clay. Spent some time trying to stock up on food as there were no supermarkets within easy walking distance form the canal.
Up the canal through a 2 lock staircase and then Diana was confronted with a "Lift Bridge". This requires her to stop the traffic, lower barriers both ends of the bridge and (Lucky her) push a button to electrically lift the bridge. To close repeat in reverse order. This canal is narrow with some very tight corners especially with 70 ft to get around. I'm a bit concerned how far to go as the two winding holes I have passed so far, I doubt I could turn in. Dave has done it before, just hope it wasn't in the shorted boat he used to have. parked up across from some nice canal side homes, went to the pub and then bed.
For those who want to have a better Idea of where we are I'll add a post code of the nearest pub so you can find it on Google earth. Tonights is ST2 7DU

How good is it with an IT son.

Now how did I manage to get photos on?
Richard in Sydney picks up photos sent out by Diana and adds them for me.
Thanks Richard.
One day, maybe, I will work it out.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Proud to fly the NZ flag on English canals

Tuesday 22 June. 5 miles. 5 locks.
Another pleasant day in the country. Very hot with no shade until 1400. Found the only tree overhanging the canal and stopped for lunch (2 hours) then moved on when it cooled down. Spent the night at Wheelock, the bottom of what is known as Heartbreak hill.

Wednesday 23 June. 5 miles, 20 locks.
An interesting day as we climbed up the hill. This was our first experience of paired locks. Independent locks side by side so you have double the chance that one will be "set" for you. In our case empty as we are going up. Worked pretty well as 15 out of the 20 were set. spent the night at a quiet spot just before Kidsgrove. 6 locks short of the tunnel.

Thursday 24 June. 5 miles, 6 locks, 40 minutes underground.
Climbed the last 6 locks, passed under the Macclesfield canal. Been told by many we should do that canal. Next time? Had lunch at the Harecastle tunnel entrance while waiting for the northbound traffic to come through, one way. Then around a very tight turn for a 70ft boat into the black hole. The further in the narrower it got, the fumes were thicker and the noise from engines an fans got deafening. Kept looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and eventually saw a shaft of light. Looked like light from a ventilation shaft. Next minute out of the gloom comes a big "STOP" sign which had me confused, then full reverse, end of tunnel, doors closed. Diana says Bang I say small nudge. Tunnel keeper was saying al sorts of things I couldn't hear. doors open. Brilliant sunshine. Make peace with Keeper and park up a mile down the canal beside a lovely Westport lake. Off to find a pub to watch All whites. First 2 pubs didn't have football on. 3rd was watching Italy but were more than happy to watch the All Whites since we were there. After 20 minutes of trying to tune the TV to ITV4 we watch Italy miss out on going through. Only then did we hear that we had ended ahead of Italy on points.

Photo is: "Trent & Mersey Canal........John entering a lock. Diana is closing the gates & winding the paddles to fill the lock."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Heading south

Saturday 19 June 8 miles, 2 locks (Manned)
A beautiful morning and a gentle cruise up the Weaver with a stop at the "Farm shop" We were there on thursday so had to go back and buy some more bread, cheese and Pontefract cakes. (The original Liquorice). arrived at Anderton Lift about 1600 but no more slots today so booked one for the morning and parked up close by next to an extensive park with bird life and bush so went walking for a couple of hours.

Sunday 20 June 6 miles, 1 lift
Up the lift at 0930. Moored at the top and went through the exhibition about the lift and watched the process from outside. Very simple operation. Clever engineers back then. Spent an hour or two at a British Waterways Service Centre. Water available, rubbish disposal, S..t
disposal and a washing machine and dryer. The boat got a wash down as well. At least one side did. Off then towards Middlewich where there had been a boat festival. We would have liked to have been there but didn't make it, stopping about 5 miles short in a big lagoon full of bird life.

Monday 21 June 5 miles, 5 locks (1 was a double)
Another beautiful day where I flew the flag and pointed it out to a couple of Italians. Middlewtch for supplies and then the DIY locks. A bit of a delay caused when someone before us left all the paddles open and caused a huge flood. We didn't see it just the results. We are now on a part of the Trent & Mersey canal that we haven't seen before heading off to wedgwood/pottery country. many locks ahead and another engineering feature. The Harecastle tunnel is the longest canal tunnel in the UK.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Planes & Boats & Trains &

Sunday 13 June 0 miles 0 locks.
Decided to visit the Salt Museum in Northwich but it wasn't open till the afternoon. The 3 of us wandered into town looking at the swing bridges and variety of house architecture. A bit of unplanned redevelopment with old and new and not so old and not so new in a higgelty pigelty pattern. Murray shouted us to lunch at the Old Post Office, now a Wutherspoon's Pub. On the way to the museum we stopped at an old Pumping station but the very keen retired engineers couldn't get it started. Museum was good in that it told of the salt industry in the area and that is why there is a water way to enjoy. Rained on the way home and the lock keeper had gone home again so another night under the lock and a railway viaduct.

Monday 14 June. 6 miles, 2 locks (big and manned) 1/2 a million litres of water used to raise a 20 ton boat.
Went up the Weaver to Winsford. As far as you can take a narrow boat. Parked outside the Red Lion Pub. Walked around Wharton which is on the east of the river. Found the railway station so Murray could find out the best way back to Glasgow on Tuesday. A visit to the supermarket had Murray introduce us to Morrison's Cafe. A big meal for a very reasonable price. This has been noted for future reference. Latter in the day we went walking down the Weaver Way, a series of walking/cycling tracks. Very pretty. As time was getting on called into a pub and they had such a good meal deal we enjoyed their Carvery before continuing the walk back to the boat.

Tuesday 15 June. 2 1/2 miles, 0 locks.
Today was to look around Winsford on the west of the river. Nothing special about this town, just another town in the salt industry. Had lunch on the boat and the Red Lion was showing world cup games so Murray & I went to watch the second 1/2. Makes us proud that the Kiwi flag is flying on the back of the boat. Now its off to the station again so Murray can head home. Back to the boat and up river a bit into a shallow lake so we could turn around. By now all the lock keepers had gone home so stopped at a lovely spot just short of the first lock down and had tea on the tow path enjoying the nice weather and peaceful place.

Wednesday 16 June. 9 miles, 3 locks.
Motored down stream and went through the first lock with 3 others. second lock not as big so 2 went through and we followed through on the second drop. Passed a large barge coming other way. Continued down the Weaver past the Anderton lift through another large lock to Acton swing bridge where we are to meet friends tomorrow. So noisy we went further down and stopped before the next lock. went for a bit of a walk through the country side following a public path. Thought about an hour would do it but with photo stops, talking to locals, climbing over styles that were a bit high for a short person and a stop at a pub we got back to the boat 4 hours later.

Thursday 17 June. 6 miles 0 locks.
Headed back up river to Acton swing meet Lala & John. They are a couple we happened to get in conversation with in a Greytown cafe while we were traveling in February and they were on holiday from Bristol. As you can tell contact has been made since we got here and they were going to be in the area. Took them up river as far as the lock and had lunch on board. Didn't have time to go through the lock so came back down to drop them off again at the bridge while we continued down to the same spot above Dutton lock. No walk tonight.

Friday 18 June. 11 1/2 miles, 1 Lock.
Down the Weaver to the Manchester ship canal. A beautiful part of the river almost all the way. Last mile is beside a huge chemical plant. Stopped for lunch. It rained. Turned around and headed up river again. Very gentle trip as we knew we wouldn't get to the lock before closing. Early closing fridays. It's great that one minute you are in the centre of industrial England then around a corner and all there is, is water and wild wife. Stopped several times to photograph different birds. Parked up at Devils garden with 3 other boats. just a river bank and a grass paddock.

Planes, Boats, Trains.
For the last week or so we seem to park up under railway viaducts or near the railway line that carry the fast trains to the north. We have also been under the flight path for planes arriving at Manchester.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Anderton Lift

Friday 11 June. 7 1/2 miles, 6 locks.
Meet some Aussies on the tow path and chatted for an hour before heading off to the end of the Middlewich Branch where we turned left to head down the Trent & Mersey. Restocked from the supermarket at Middlewich and then through the last double lock for a while. Spent the might at an isolated spot next to bridge 176 near Bulls Wood.

Saturday 12 June. 10 miles, 1 lift.
Headed off in brilliant sunshine through the industrial outskirts of Northwich. Went to look at a salt works museum but it is being renovated so continued on to arrive at the Anderton Lift about 1500. Next available slot was 1645, last of the day, so had a cuppa and waited. The lift was no great drama but great to be able to travel on this historical engineering marvel. Took about 45 minutes to get into the lift and go down the 50 ft.
Now we are on the River Weaver. By the time we got onto the river all the moorings in Northwich were full so we continued up river to the first lock. Couldn't go any further as this is a BIG lock and is operated by a lock keeper who was just on his way home for the day. At least there is no lock work for the crew.

Photo is: 'Exiting at the bottom onto the River Weaver. The whole process takes about half an hour.'

Friday, June 11, 2010

Castle or Ice Cream?

Wednesday 9 June, 10 1/2 miles, 6 locks.
Set off with the intention of looking at a working mill at Bunbury and to visit Beeston Castle. Made it as far as Tattenhall and the sky was looking black so we turned in to look at a new marina to see what you got for your money. Well it .issed down. Luckily we were moored by then. When it stopped raining we talked to the marina people and she mentioned there was an ice cream farm just over the road. The choice was Ice cream or castle, bearing in mind the castle was a 500ft climb the ice cream was a winner. Great ice cream. It then .issed down again so we waited and now there was no way we could make the mill either. Trundeled on down the canal and parked up just below the last double width locks.

Thursday 10 June. 7 miles, 4 locks.
A short run, a left turn and onto a new canal. Middlewich Branch Shropshire Union Canal.
This is a pretty canal that takes us across towards where the Anderton Lift is. Stopped at Church Minshull as this was a place near the canal with a bus service. Today Murray, Diana's 1/2 brother from Glasgow joined us for a few days.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Chester Tuesday.

Sunday 6 June. 8 1/2 miles, 0 locks.
Rained last night and drizzled in the morning. Spent 4 hours looking around the Boat museum. All associated with the canals. Gave a good in-site into building canal boats, the different types, how they were used and how people lived. We were so impressed that although we got free entry we were happy to pay the OAP price. Headed back to Chester in the afternoon and moored below the 3 flight staircase locks. We'll think about them later.

Monday 7 June. 0 miles, 0 locks.
Walked around Chester. Visited the Cathedral & John the Baptist church, Feed squirrels in the gardens. Crossed the suspension bridge to see what was on the other side. then back to the boat. with plans for a 8 mile day tomorrow.

Tuesday 8 June. 1 1/2 miles' 6 locks.
Raining so we waited to see what the weather would do. Went in to the supermarket to top up supplies as it is a few days before we reach a town again. By 1500 the day had brightened up a bit with no rain so decided to get the 3 staircase locks out of the way while it was fine. Another drama as a number of boats were going through. Water was a bit short and every one was an expert on how to get things done. I did it my way without incident but took the best part of an hour. We are moored up just outside Chester with only 2 locks to do tomorrow.
Chester was full of boats today. There is a rally of boats that have Russell Newbery engines at Ellesmere Port Museum this weekend. About a dozen or so rafted up 3 wide in the basin . Also Chester must be the Tuesday stopover for hire boats as there was heaps of them to negotiate in some tight spaces.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Thursday 3 June. 2 1/2 miles, 5 locks.
From the pleasant village of Cristleton just outside Chester we descended the five locks and parked outside the city wall. Walk on down the tow path to check out any safe moorings for the night and also to look at the 3 lock staircase we have to negotiate. Couldn't find a better spot than where we were so decided to see what it was like. It was not far from a big pub. Walked the chester wall then back to the boat for tea and sleep. Pub was noisy but at 11 o'clock at all stopped and had a peaceful night.

Friday 4 June. 0 miles, 0 locks.
Into the centre of Chester to look at the buildings and shops. Found a new camera to replace the underwater camera. It has two straps so I hope this one will be used only for above water photography. By mid afternoon I had had enough of shops so Diana went off on her own and I went back to the boat.
That evening the pub was just as noisy but expected it to quieten down at some stage. I went to bed and Diana stayed up doing photography things on the computer. Next I heard was Diana yelling at someone. They had got on the front of the boat. They then got off very quickly and that was that, except now Diana can't sleep.

Saturday 5 June. 9 miles, A 3 lock staircase.
The staircase was at the beginning of the day and an interesting engineering design. I've drawn myself a picture so if you really need to understand how it works, ask me when you see me. Reasonably simple with one boat only but one boat was coming up as we went down so passed them in the second lock. meantime 2 more boats came up together which required a change sides passing manoeuvre. With 1 a 70ft boat, 1 a 68 foot boat and the 3rd a 60 footer in a couple of locks 72 feet long there is not much to spare. 9 miles latter we are moored up outside the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port. We will visit there tomorrow. While sitting here a reasonably big ship went passed a matter of a few yards away on the Manchester ship canal. We can also look across the Mersey to Liverpool

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Wednesday 2 June. 81/2 miles 2 locks.
Day started with fog in the valley. Made the canal look a bit airy. Headed into the Beeston market. mainly agricultural stuff going under the auctioneers hammer. A few things like NZ markets like fresh veg, fish and meat plus the usual lines of cheap imported junk. Bought a cold Pork Pie, not something I have thought much of in the past but have got a bit of a taste for now.
Rushed off down the canal towards Chester where we think we will spend a couple of days or more. Made it to the outskirts at Christleton so we can had a good go at the 3 miles & 8 big locks tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bank Holliday

Sunday 30. 3 miles, 2 locks.
Holiday weekend and all the boats are out. Moved about 500yds to the first lock of the day. # 6 in the cue. now a cue of 6 doesn't seem many but for every boat that goes down, one comes up. 90 minutes latter we are down the lock and on our way. no further delays as all the boats are now evenly spaced. Moored up at Nantwich. lovely town with such a variety of buildings. Elizabethan, Tudor, Georgan and up to modern day. Excellent for photos as almost all shops shut and very few people about late heading back to the boat so Italian tonight.

Monday 31. 0 miles, 0 locks.
Spent some time in the morning on boat maintenance then lucked in with a visit and tour Dorfold Hall, a lived in Jacobian house. Only open because it was bank holiday monday. Beautiful gardens.

Tuesday 1 June. 8 miles 4 locks.
A day of drifting along. Drizzle in the morning but fined up after lunch. Feature of today was our first acquaintance with double locks. They are twice as wide so two boats can go through together. Not too much drama here except the gates are bigger and heavier and you need twice as much water. Moored up between the Beeston Stone and Iron locks. Went for an evening walk and came across a pub (Beeston Castle) so another night dining out. How sad.