Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stone (again)

Well I am back at stone after leaving Red Bull this morning. I misjudged the amount of locks I had to go through by one, but it made me a little late for the journey back through Harecastle. It did however give me the chance to have breakfast and do the washing up.

I was first in the queue, so was able to hit the top of Stoke flight before the boat behind me. Just above Festival Park the fireman where having a practice rescue from a bridge..

Its the saying how many fireman does it take to.....

I made great process through the flight as everything seem to be coming up. Which meant either boats where just leaving the lock or they where coming up to it so I could leave the gates open. This is even happened at Trentham Lock

Today seemed to be a day of miscounting as I completely forgot a flight of four locks before I hit Stone. Even those I meet with other boats who gave me a hand. As my luck was in I thought I would tackle Stone flight even though I had been going 6 hrs.
As I was going down I saw a working pair on a long line, which is unusual..

I managed to get through the flight, but had to tie up way down the moorings. So after a long day I having a night in.

I do however include a few photos for friends, hope they can guess which one is for whom


Today was a lazy day, however I achieved a lot during the day. Red Bull has one of the local offices based here and also the full range of services, this includes washing facilities and a shower. I did two loads of washing, filled the water tank and hovered the inside of the boat. I also indulged in a long hot shower, in a room half the size of the boat and not having to worry about water usage, ah it was bliss. After a late lunch I took my customary afternoon stroll and a pint on the way back,after I had picked up supplies in the local shop..

I saw this, to me it looks like a old school bell tower but I can’t be sure.

This made me chuckle too so I had to include it..

This is the wharf where I stayed for an extra day...

This is the pub we enjoyed a few nice pints of beer...


We had much discussion on where we wanted to be at the end of the day. We decided to have an early start and early finish as Mike and Maggie had to head back and pick the car up before they could make it back home. Wheelock was a likely stop and so at 8 am we pushed off and headed up the T&M.

The canal follows the main road as you head out of Middlewich, as we left the edge it gave us a reminder of what the area is famous for..

The canal itself takes a long meander with a few locks here and there and also with others closer together. Some parts are known as Heartbreak Hill , or the Chester flight. In fact from Middlewich to Kidgrove over 12 miles there are 28 locks.
To tease you some have two lock side by side. Some are fully operational. Some have fallen into disuse whilst others have simply disappeared over the years.. However they do produce some lovely views as you can see

As we planned to stop at Wheelock, when we finally got there at 12 it was a little early.. We meet another boat coming down and they has said they had left lock 42( at Kidsgrove) and it had taken them 4 hours. I was beginning to hope we could do most of the locks back to Kidsgrove and then off back through Harecastle Tunnel the following day..
We did however encounter the slightly uglier side of boating. As we were happily chugging away a boat which was already to go, pulled out in front of us, with out a bye or leave. It was the Sunday driver of the waterways. When approached at the next lock a working double, they seem surprised at our attitude to them, even after explaining they still couldn’t see what they had done wrong.

We ploughed on leaving them behind. We finally made lock 45 just before 3pm,but we had a problem shutting the gate and also the paddle was missing of one of the gates. We went for tying up at Red Bull, by the BW offices. As the tunnel entrance moorings a little dire. I informed BW of the problem and we settled in at the Red Bull Hotel for a well earned pint after doing 40 lock miles in a little under 8 hrs.

Mike went to retrieve the car whilst Maggie packed and cooked dinner. The birthday girl turned up soon after Mikes return and we headed to the pub for another quick pint to celebrate.
To top the evening off, as we left the pub just before dinner a passing working boat was offering coal and diesel as I need both I was happy to purchase both and let him go on his way soon after we were tucking into a feast of a roast dinner. All people left happy and tummies full.

I am now on own again till next weekend, I decided to have a day of rest tomorrow before setting off to Stoke and beyond.

I have also added a pic for a couple of people they know who they are…..

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sunday and Monday

I am sorry I am struggling to keep an internet connection, so Sunday and Monday posts will have to wait

Saturday, September 26, 2009


We made good time this morning and hit Preston Brook tunnel bang on time...

As we hit Northwich it showed the old and the new, the first being the old salt works, while the latter the Chlorine plant. It was very slow going as there was so many boats moored up.

I had to include this as it was almost like a piece of art along side the canal

As you pass into Middlewich the church dominates the skyline

As well as the infamous big lock

We have now tied up at the top of the Middlewich flight for the night. It is a little noisy as we are along side the main road. We are off tomorrow up heartbreak hill and hopefully to the meet the birthday girl when she comes back down from Macclesfield for dinner....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Preston Brook

I think the last few days of hard boating and a few late nights finally caught up with us.As we spent a lovely cheese and wine evening with Robert and Mary. I struggled to get out of bed and Maggie was not up till gone midday.However I did manage to get going just after 10am and push back down the Bridgewater and back on the main line south and heading back towards the T&M.
Like many parts of Manchester, parts of the Bridgewater remind you of what it use to be, with its old warehouses.

Something else you notice is every few miles a hand crane with stop planks. As the Bridgewater doesn't have any locks if there was ever a breach they would need the planks to prevent losing all the water in the canal.

The more south we travelled the more canal like it became, we lost both the width and the depth as so we made slower process than planned. There where plenty more boats moored up and boatyards as we got closer to the end of the canal.

We finally moored up at Preston Brook the site of where the IWA festival took place a few years ago. We have several tunnels and a trip towards Anderton tomorrow.

We are awaiting the arrival of Mike and then dinner a glass of wine and then off again in the morn, not sure where we will be tomorrow evening.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Rochdale and Beyond

I forgot to show what a lovely mooring we had overnight. It was lovely and quiet, which was a good thing as we both had rather thick heads after the evening in the Marble Arch.
Roberts our extra crew member joined us for bacon butties and coffee before we set off down the Rochdale 9, a set of wide beams locks that take you down on to the Bridgewater canal.

All the paddle gear is locked up due to some of the local kids playing and draining the pounds. We had no problems with that today as water kept flowing over the top gates.

Also with it being quite tight in places the lock beams had to be shorter and so had a odd pulley/winding system to open and shut the gates.

The canal flows down through parts of the old city which still has not been over developed yet, but in some places there where hints of it with new bars springing up along side the canal.

We then headed off the Rochdale and onto the Bridgewater where the canals all began. The bridgewater canal is like a river, wide and deep, but with the flooding. We could really wind the engine up and make good time. We decided to take a diversion and head to Worsley. This is where the first canal was founded and you can just see the delph where all the underground canals where built and the bridgewater then constructed to take all the coal..

There is even a little board describing what happened. The town itself is lovely and we had a nice stroll and ended up having a pint the Barton Inn.

Robert and Mary then joined us later on, where sat having cheese and wine and having a pleasant evening. They are both great company and have been a real help in either helping to crew or doing some washing for me.. I know a little cheeky..

Am off back down the Bridgewater and back on the Trent and Mersey tomorrow, where Mike will join for the weekend..

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ashton Canal

We set off from Portland basin this morning before 9am. The Ashton canal reputation proceeds it as a druggie infested, lightfingered locals... That was far from it, apart from a pair of cheeky lads who offered us £40 and a bottle of blueberry breezer for the boat.
The Ashton apart from its lack of depth and the amount of large stones, got stuck several times,again. Is quite a pleasant canal. It is a great way of showing what Manchester was and is becoming.
Mags and I plugged away at the 18 locks that took us into Manchester...

The junction.

The contrast of old and new is everywhere, from pound to pound to buildings right next door to each other.

We finally hit Ducie street and have tied up after 6 hrs 6 miles and 18 locks, of hard slog, well slog for Maggie I was just steering....

We are off to meet friends in Manchester at the Marble for a pint or two tonight. I think Maggie more than deserves it and prob a late start with a thick head, will keep you posted..

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Well another day on the Macclesfield,it started off with us stuck on the bottom and taking 15 mins to get off, so didn't really start till 10am. We took a slow chug up, in fact we didn't have much choice as it was so shallow.

It wouldn't be a canal trip without the customary pic of a heron.

However at High line we did see something a little strange, next to a load of boats

We made slow process to Marple locks on the Peak forest canal, where we met a friend of Mags, Robert, who has boated many times and was an added bonus pair of hands for the Marple flight( 16 locks).

The Marple is a lovely flight

The locks however are quite small and if you're not careful apart from sitting on the cill, you can have an unexpected shower as well.

Once we got to the bottom of the Marple flight we passed over the aquaduct, it is listed as an ancient monument, this is looking at the viaduct across the valley

As we entered the edges of Manchester we passed the family of the Admason warehouses, founders of the Manchester Ship canal....

As yesterday I have know seen the eighth wonder of the world, Mags getting before me for two mornings in a row

Monday, September 21, 2009

On the way to Bollington

With Mags arriving we set off early, before 9 and headed up the Macclesfield. It is full of wonderful sights, the problem is the camera never does them justice.
This is one of the better ones looking over the valley

The other thing that follows you near the 12 Bosley locks in something called the "Cloud" a fell over 1000ft high, watches you all the way up the flight.

There is something unusual about the locks at Bosley, they are the only set of locks, except for the stop lock, it was the fashion of Thomas Telford to group them all together. They also featured mitred top gates instead of the usual one gate like on many other canals.

Will finally made it to our destination of Bollington and tied up just by the magnificent Clarence Mill. It is one of the many old silk mills that are a common sight.

On a slightly different tangent. I have seen the golden beaches of Bali, been up the Victoria peak in Hong Kong, but I have never seen Mags get up so early and that was even before I got up and made her coffee.... one for the record books I think

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Congleton Wharf

I am waiting for Mags to arrive. We then are setting off again. I hoping to get to at least to Anderton, which is back on the T&M

This is Congleton Wharf, a typical example of an old building being turned into flats.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Congleton Wharf

The beer I was drink yesterday was cook-a-hoop, the prob was that I could Cock-a-doodle do not much else afterwards. So it was a very ealry night.. I woke up with a slight hangover at 2am.
Suprisingly I awoke quite late on in the morning, after the usaul hangover cure of coffee and a bacon sarnie I set off just after 11am. Today was another short hop of a couple of hours to the old Congleton wharf moorings.
The trip us was full of lovely scenery

I also spotted this fencing, which is quite unusual

Most of the turnover bridges here are locally known as snake bridges.When boats where pulled by a horse if meant they could cross the bridge and change sides on the towpath without unhitiching the horse

Even the mile markers are a little different from the norm

I took my usual wander into the town of Congleton, it is full of little shops, it had a market on as well as the usual high street shops. I did find however something a little left field

I wonder if you can guess what is being used for now, answers on a postcard or in the comments section....

The town itself was renown for its Silk Mills this is an old one which has had several attempts to have renovated

Well I shall await the arrival of Mags tomorrow and we shall press on up the Mac and into Manchester...