Posted by Alan on August 22, 2010
First off we moved the few hundred metres through Wheelock to fill up the boat. Having not reached Hassall Green, the last day would be longer than planned. From here we were rushed through locks 66 and 65 buy a really unhelpful boat called ‘Stonewall’ who seemed to think everything was far to slow! So we moored up an ate the sausages bought in Middlewich the day before as brunch and let them steam by. The rest of the Wheelock flight plus the two locks at Hassall Green were finished in time to have a pint at the Romping Donkey.
Happy Ruth locking up
And then the sun came out! And after a quick pint we carried on up the final locks to Kidsgrove finding the Red Bull next to Lock 43. Excellent food and rather good beer. By now the light was starting to fall as we hit the last stretch back to the boatyard. Given our tendency not to rise early, it seemed wise to be as close to the marina as possible. The last lock, the Hall Green stop lock with just at 6″ rise put us back on the Macclesfield canal and within 15 mins we were moored inside the marina.
Mum working the boat
And so that was it – Sunday morning we had to hand back the boat at 9AM, so after some tidying we slept with alarms on for the first time in a week. It was my first boating trip in around 9 years – very enjoyable and Ruth is now hooked. Apparently if I get rich, I have to buy a narrowboat! 🙂
And so I sign off this series of posts with a very helpful sign on one of the locks: Keep boat forward of cill marker.
Keep boat forward...
Weather: fair with sunny outbursts
Destination: Heritage boatyard, Scholar Green
Locks: 25 (I think)
Posted in 2010 Narrowboat Holiday | Tagged: british waterways, Canal, cheshire, endevour, hassall green, kidsgrove, lock, narrowboat, narrowboat holiday 2010, ruth, trent and mersey canal, useful advice, wheelock | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on August 21, 2010
Another late start (oh yeah, love the boating timetable!) we cruised down the Dane Valley to Middlewich where we stopped for some supplies and a chance to walk about. Middlewich is a traditional town featuring a few local shops – we picked up more great sausages from a friendly butchers. However, the 00s disease was not far away – a giant Tesco looming over the town centre plus the additional Tesco Metro about 400 metres further down the road.
The Alhambra, Middlewich - currently a Chinese restaurant
As well as the plethora of Tesco, the town also has the very modern/60s affliction – an addiction to motor cars. Much of the High St was devoted to parking leaving little space for footpaths. In fact as we wandered down the street a queue built up to the point where people got out of their cars and started chatting to each other! Never mind, the pork & wild mushroom sausages were well worth it. After the 7 or so Middlewich locks we were back in salt country.
Friday was the wettest day, so we didn’t reach our intended destination – Hassall Green, instead mooring at Wheelock and visiting “Liz’s Plaice” for fish and chips where were very tasty (and proper – non of this silly southern skin on fish rubbish!). More cards and scrabble saw us through to bed time!
Ruth, windswept at the tiller
Weather: Fair to drizzle to miserable rain
Posted in 2010 Narrowboat Holiday, Uncategorized | Tagged: Canal, car addiction, cheshire, EOS 500D, narrowboat, narrowboat holiday 2010, salt, trent and mersey canal | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on August 15, 2010
A very late start this morning! We dispatched mum and Ruth off for some ‘ retail therapy’ at the farm shop, to which they obliged by returning with some excellent sausages and other treats. Since we were close to a boatyard we opted for pump out – despite extensively using on shore facilities there’s only so long you can last…
Boat and butty
We followed another boat through the final tunnel and back to the Anderton lift where we stopped for some liquid refreshment at the Stanley Arms, as well as filling up the water tank on Endevour. Mid afternoon we stopped close to ‘Broken Cross’ on the edge of Northwich. This part of Cheshire doesn’t fit the stereotype at all – everyone seemed to have a fag on, they had to razz around in souped up cars and the pub didn’t seem too friendly either. So we found a chinese before moving on.
Even the signets were stubborn!
After tea we sailed out back into the open countryside to find a peaceful spot to moor for the night – mostly to play scabble and cards!
Weather: Fair but overcast
Destination: Dane valley between bridge 181 and 180
Posted in 2010 Narrowboat Holiday | Tagged: 2010, Anderton, broken cross, cheshire, dane valley, EOS 500D, farm shop, narrowboat, narrowboat holiday 2010, northwich, stanley arms, trent and mersey canal | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on August 10, 2010
Today’s crusing started very gently with the short move back towards town bridge and a walk around Northwich centre to pick up breakfast and dinner. The town is very much more alive during the day time! Quality save and M&S brought forth various goodies inc. continental breakfast and anti-pasti for lunch. Moving on we headed back to Anderton to ascend back to the Trent and Mersey canal and head northwards towards Preston Brook.
Speed is an Illusion - Barnton Tunnel, Trent & Mersey Canal
This section is the canal winds along the contours and in places is virtually ‘single file’ as a result of the reed growth. There scenery is pretty serene and there’s lots of wildlife – we spent a good few minutes trying to creep up on a heron. Sadly I don’t have a zoom lens yet so it was quite challenging for Ruth to get a photo (I was on the tiller at this point). Then for some reason there’s an enormous light spot on all of them – not sure how she managed to do that!
Ruth's heron picture
Once through Dutton Stop lock we were officially on the Bridgewater canal and we travelled through the Preston Brook tunnel to the junction with the ‘Runcorn branch’. Having a walk around (hoping for a half pint in a pub and Ruth hoping for land based facilities!) we found a spar sitting on a pub sized plot of land and a quiet sleepy village. Luckily there was a boat yard where Ruth found some facilities (albeit dreadful!) and Dad bought an Anderson lift plaque to add to the collection marking the places Endevour has been.
Ruth get stuck into Dutton stop lock - a drop of less than 1' (30 cm)
Giving up on the heady delights of Runcorn, we turn around and it’s now my turn and I take control through the tunnel. It’s hard work – Preston Brook tunnel is around 1mile (1.6km) long so around 20 mins sailing at 3mph. Because it isn’t straight you can’t see the other end, traffic is controlled by entry times – you can enter heading southbound between xx:30 and xx:40 meaning that the northbound traffic should be able to enter at xx:00. You can’t faff about going slowly!
Me at the tiller - not in the tunnel!
We headed south to close to bridge 211, within walking distance of Bartlington and Little Leigh, eventually ending up for a pint in the Leigh Arms.
Posted in 2010 Narrowboat Holiday | Tagged: bridgewater canal, Canal, cheshire, dutton stop lock, EOS 500D, Heron, little leigh, lock, narrowboat, narrowboat holiday 2010, preston brook, preston brook tunnel, stop lock, trent and mersey canal, Tunnel, Wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on August 6, 2010
Stobart vs barge - the M6 seen from Lock 58, Hassall Green
AM: Awoke to drizzle, so slept in a bit. Carried on down the Cheshire locks through Hassall Green, mooring for lunch in the small village of Wheelock. Found a good pub for some lunch – the Nag’s Head. Not too long after we had finished eating, someone arrived into the pub… “Is your boat called Endevour? In that case I have some bad news…!” We rushed back to the boat to find the stern (rear) adrift – due to inconsiderate traffic roaring past at 4mph (ish – you should really drop your engine into tickover whilst passing moored boats). Luckily we were still attached at the bow (front) and could rescue the situation without any canal wild swimming!
Lock - Paddle open
PM: Weather still mixed as we carried on north-westwards towards the Middlewich flight. A bit of a queue in the other direction caused some confusion – lots of boats heading towards Chester and Llangollen, though it didn’t affect our progress too much. The final lock at Middlewich known as ‘big lock’ to its broadbeam (14′ ish wide) size rather than the narrowbeam (7′ ish wide) that feature along much of the Trent and Mersey canal. This gives name to the pub we will later grab tea from! We moor just around the corner next to a lagoon caused by salt mine subsidence – a fairly picturesque spot given the semi-urban environment the canal passes through here.
Sunset over the fields near Middlewich
See more photos from Monday
Posted in 2010 Narrowboat Holiday | Tagged: barge, Canal, EOS 500D, hassell green, inconsiderate boating, lock, M6, Middlewich, narrowboat, narrowboat holiday 2010, pub lunches, sky, sunset, trent and mersey canal | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Alan on August 3, 2010
Arrived at the boat yard around 11.45, close to Mow Cop just north of Kidsgrove, Staffs. The boat (Endevour) belongs to a boat club my dad joined through work. Endevour hasn’t been out for 3 weeks so everything needs checking thoroughly and the fridge needs a proper clean out.
Around 1pm ish Ruth’s parents arrive to join us for the first few miles, first lock and a short diversion to the entrance of the Harecastle Tunnel, one of England’s longest canal tunnels. Apparently our boat is too long to ‘wind’ (turn) in front of the tunnel at 52′ long (c. 16m) so we have to manually walk the boat back to Hardings Wood Junction where we can safely wind and head north west.
Ruth gets a driving lesson from my dad as Ruth's dad looks on, worriedly!
From Hardings Wood to our final mooring site that night, it is down most of ‘Heartbreak Hill’ (aka the Cheshire Locks) – 15 locks in total on the first day and we are already well ahead of schedule. This is a great opportunity for Ruth to learn to lock! We finished the day tired from the fresh air and small amount of manual effort… long way to go yet!
Double Lock - typical on Heartbreak Hill
Weather: Fair but cloudy
Destination: Somewhere between bridge 141 and “Chell’s Aqueduct”
Posted in 2010 Narrowboat Holiday | Tagged: Canal, cheshire, endevour, EOS 500D, macclesfield canal, narrowboat, staffordshire, trent and mersey canal | 1 Comment »