Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Cruising To Middlewich

The last of the duplicate locks before Wheelock

Back to single locks at Booth Lane Locks

Leaving our mooring after a quiet night above Wheelock (the water in the pound went up  not down so the boat stayed level), then down the last two pairs of  duplicated locks to get some water and  do the other things at the services. 

Then we were on our way towards Middlewich. The site of Northwich Boats/ Carefree Cruising had a big sold sign on it as they are now trading from King's Lock. Lots of new housing along this stretch of the canal too often sandwiched between the railway and the canal.

Four locks to work through  on the Trent and Mersey Canal and then Wardle Lock taking us onto the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. We found a space and moored up as Eric wanted new weed hatch sealing tape to replace the damaged one. I popped to Tesco's for some fresh stuff to keep us going until we get back to Whixall Marina. 

Lots of people walking their dogs along the canal earlier but it's quieter now.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Nearly Done 'Heartbreak Hill'

A quiet night at Rode Heath and up and away with twelve locks planned for today as we wanted to get them done. Duplicate narrow locks  have an advantage in that one lock of the pair is usually ready for an oncoming boat. I think we seemed to work quicker in going down locks.

It  was just as well  I was walking with Ben the dog  because some of the pounds between the Wheelock Locks were low and  Eric had to stay in the middle until I opened the lock gates.

Tired after heavy gates and paddle gear I did steer the boat and let Eric do some of the locks. The gunnel's will need some touch up paint once we've  gone up Grindley Brook on the Llangollen Canal as the side weirs get us every time.

We're  moored on pins in the long pound two locks up from Wheelock. Here you can't  hear the noisy A road as much  as you can on the Wheelock  Visitor Moorings. As you can see on the pictures  we're  low down as this pound is down too, let's hope  we don't  fall out of bed in the night if the water level goes down any more and tilts the boat.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Can't Get In The Weed Hatch!

The Broughton  Arms at Rode Heath
We  started off going well down the locks from Red Bull to Church Locks, then something got around the prop. No problem  you would think but the weed hatch cover had been painted by Aqueduct Marina and was sealed solid. It took 20 minute to break the seal.

But more surprises when we opened it, we paid for the whole boat to be shot blasted and painted or blacked  including the bottom and have just found  out that the weed hatch itself hadn't been touched  while it was out of the water, so something  else they missed which we assumed would be done.

They  also forgot to  shot blast and paint the gas locker too but we noticed that and it was then treated  with Comastic while  we stayed  a few extra days in the marina.  We also found the water filler cap painted shut and the air vent hole blocked for the water tank which was sorted before we left.

I must say we love our paint job but it's the little things missed  that we find particularly annoying!

Our day did get better as we climbed down the duplicated locks to Rode Heath and found a space to  stop and go and have a late lunch in The  Broughton  Arms. I had steak and chips  and my friend  Ben the dog enjoyed it too!  He wasn't  interested in Eric's  fish and chips.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Through Harecastle Tunnel To Kidsgrove

Harecastle Tunnel southern portal

Harecastle Tunnel northern portal

Approaching a duplicate lock
This morning we left Westport lake behind and headed for Harecastle Tunnel. A much cooler day to start and decidedly cold in underground delights of the tunnel. We were lucky as we arrived to no queue and went straight in the tunnel after the safety briefing, When the doors closed and the fan came on drawing out the fumes  it was like being in a fog and incredibly noisy. Soon we were going through at a good speed and looking out for the lower roof sections where Eric needed to duck.

Ben the dog wasn't bothered about tunnels he just settled down to sleep at the bottom of the steps. Forty minutes later we emerged into the light. the difference in the colour of the water never ceases to amaze me with the orange colour due to minute particles of ironstone rock according to Pearson's Canal Companion.

Duplicate narrow locks  with the occasional single narrow locks are the feature of the Cheshire locks  known as Heartbreak Hill  probably because they come thick and fast. Usually one chamber is ready for you but you don't know until you get there which one. Just after the junction with the Macclesfield Canal  we met the start of the locks taking us down to Wheelock. 

We pulled in at the Red Bull Visitor Moorings in the last available space ready for our appointment with Chris Jones a Beta engineer as it's service time again. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Up The Locks To Westport Lake

At the top of Stoke Locks 
Today we climbed the locks up to Stoke on Trent  and it was unbelievable hot. The gates were heavy as they are deep locks and the paddle gear was stiff so I'm melting!

Heading for West port Lake to moor up.....hope there's room to moor  up. Yes there was and another boat moved up a bit so the solar panels  were in the sun

Monday, July 17, 2017

Up The Locks To Barlaston

The Star Inn alongside Lock 27 (Stone Locks)

First  job of the day was topping up the  water tank  then it was up the first of eight locks planned for today.  The Star Inn was shut so we didn't have an audience as we did the lock. Ben  waited patiently for his walk tied to a bench as there were lots of cyclists on the towpath today.

We stopped for diesel at Stone Boat Building Chandlery. Leaving with an A4 piece of paper confirming the split I chose  as well as a receipt. I noticed  the boat's name was spelt   incorrectly  despite repeatedly spelling it letter by letter, but it didn't matter the number was correct. Next job the cassettes needed emptying so we were  soon moored up below the next lock  to  use the Elsan.

Ben and I walked up to the Meaford Locks and worked  through those. Lock 33 was unbelievable slow to fill but had a notice that C&RT were aware. Boats coming down the locks as we came up them so time to have a chat to the crew.

We moored up on the outskirts of Barlaston, you can't really get away  from the noise of the trains with the Stafford to Stoke line running  alongside the canal. Never mind the sun is shining , the sky is blue and all is well onboard NB Bendigedig

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Weekend In Stone

Welcome to Stone
On a mission this morning to moor at Stone so we left a little bit  earlier  than usual at 9.30 am. By eleven we were moored up at the end of the visitor moorings.  The first place we came too.

Just Aston Lock to work through so a leisurely morning. Ben  had his walk when we walked into town to have a look at the shops in the town and do a food  shop in Morrisons.  I should have said look at the charity shops as there were more charity  shops than anything else.

Food shopping done while Eric had a coffee and a sausage roll in the cafe with Ben the dog. They have seats and tables outside which was good. Ben enjoyed  a bit of Eric's sausage roll. He's  now fast asleep on his furry mat.

We're  staying put tomorrow  as we don't  need to be the other side of Harecastle  Tunnel until Friday when the engine is being serviced by Chris  our friendly Beta  engineer  hopefully  at Red Bull.