Bleeding Air from the Swim Tank

Lovely sunny pastoral day moored up in the Bank Holiday sunshine and my mind wandered back to an article in the C&RT newsletter,

‘Bleeding the Swim Tank’. Made me think about the engine smelling warm when pushing upstream, we even put the salon heater water pump on during the last cruise to increase the cooling capacity of the system. Worth investigating, so after breakfast I went ‘down the engine ‘ole to check it out.

Followed the instructions contained in the C&RT article, eventually found the ‘bleed screw’ and released it. No sound of escaping air or signs of coolant escaping. Tried to introduce water into the bleed hole without much success so I refitted the plug. Hmmm, not truely satisfied I sat and thought about what was happening, then the lightbulb moment arrived. Release the coolant filler cap and try again. This time when removing the bleed screw the sound of air was heard escaping, lot’s of it! Eventually coolant began to escape but not before the coolant tank had be replenished with 2 litres of water!…….Bleed Screw replaced, job done.

Will now add this item to the other routine maintenance tasks aboard Cyan.


AGM Batteries ‘Depth of Discharge’?

Since purchasing and installing four new ‘AGM’ batteries for our domestic bank I have been puzzling as to what their level of charge, or discharge is. They came with a 5 year warranty, but I suspect that is conditional on how they are maintained, or abused!

Firstly at what point are they requiring to be re-charged, or in other words ‘How Low Can You Go’…?

The supplier states that:

AGM Leisure batteries can be drained using 80% of their capacity. They can also be re-charged almost 3 times as fast as a conventional standard wet flooded leisure battery.”

But what is 80% capacity, and how is it measured?

The state of charge is measured by the voltage of the battery bank, and this chart shows battery condition vs voltage reading.

We are recommended to:

Remain in the ‘Green’ zone to maximise the batteries life although occasionally dropping down to 11.66V is permissible.” 

Secondly what is the maximum rate of charging they will accept…?

Fast re-charging is very useful, but at what rate? I am advised to set the charge controller as follows:

  • Max charge current 30A
  • Max voltage 14.30V
  • (set charge controller to AGM or GEL batteries)

That’s all there is too it… so I am told.

Since their installation our battery overnight voltage, has been held above 12.10V; despite demands from lighting, TV, water pumping, and fridge freezer.

Long may it continue.

Time to Fix the Stove.

Summer maintenance of the multi fuel stove is a task most boat owners put off, like me, until the last minute.

The flue was swept on an earlier sunny day so it remained to replace the firebricks and the broken glass in the door.

The door glass accidentally cracked, to be fair the glass was due for replacement as it had started to look like crazy paving which is a sign that the glass could shatter at some point. The bricks were worn and cracked and replacements were purchased end of April, from a canal side chandlers at the Middlewich/Trent & Mersey junction.

I enquired about a replacement glass and was staggered to find locally a small piece of glass  priced at almost £40.00!

Boaters who C.C. understand the problems related to goods shipped to an address when cruising the network! I spoke with the staff at Skipton Post Office and confirmed I could have a package delivered to the Post Office for colection.

During yesterday morning I sourced a replacement glass from  in Aberdeen, at half the local price with free 1st class postage. A user friendly website,  easily identified the glass for our stove and placed my order. Gave Fast Glass the address and waited….

This morning a mobile call from Skipton P.O confirmed the package was with them!  Ordered at 1.20pm from Aberdeen and delivered to Skipton by 11.00am the following morning………..Well done the Post Office! Well done Fast Glass Direct!

While the rain *issed down this afternoon the glass and fire bricks were installed, …..out of the rain a little sunshine..etc..job done! (I will give the stove a clean tomorrow)


Wet dog in a narrow boat!

Well looks like we have missed the summer here in Yorkshire, The rain gods have taken to thoroughly washing the area. It has not stopped raining hard for 24 hours and there is more forecasted.

We are moored in a convenient spot with access to the town and country park, but with everywhere awash and the towpath under water attempts to keep the inside of the boat dry are challenging……Even more so, when needs must Rusty has to step outside. The only folk in the park are other dog owners all faced with similar problems……Joggers and baby buggies are all absent.

Returning to CYAN and avoiding transfer of rainwater and mud from the deck into the salon is a problem, add to that Rusty shaking hard to dry his coat is a nightmare! He then ventures into the boat and finds a suitable place to dry out, all 40 kgs of him…………Just hope the sun will return soon to Yorkshire…….

Looks like we will need to light the fire tonight…..ahhhh thats another story.

A Scramble Up The Diggle Flight…In The Rain

Classic boaters dilemma, we need to be at the Standedge portal by 11.30 a.m. Wednesday, but it is hissing down, and we are at the bottom of the Diggle Flight….Hmmmm.

Stay put and hope for ‘better’ weather tomorrow for an early morning dash up the flight? Or do we bite the bullet and scramble up the flight in the rain, with a promise of a hot shower and an overnight near to the portal?

After a morning walk with Rusty in the rain I felt  it was worth pushing on today, after all we both returned wet through…..

As we left our overnight mooring, below lock #24, the Greater Manchester weather gods decided to show what they could do!

The clouds covered most of the views of Saddleworth Moor as I walked the flight of 9………poignant and fitting; following the news about the demise of Ian Brady. The rain was relentless……

Jen and Rusty stayed on board while I wielded the windless, the locks are so close together it is easier to walk than jump on and off the boat.

After 2+ hours we reached the top, and the aqueduct mooring before Standedge Portal beckoned.

Weather note, once we had secured CYAN the rain promptly stopped!

CYAN snuggled up on the aqueduct….


Saddleworth revealed at last, feels like we are on top of the world

The Standedge Portal at Diggle awaits…..tomorrow

Amazing portal gates securing the tunnel access


The tunnel rules and advice

Another wonderful achievement by Thomas Telford

Mayday Bank Holiday- staying put!

Early this morning it was ‘misling’ but mild. After dog walking it was decision time. Soon there was water traffic in both directions and our overnight neighbours prepared to set off. That’s it then, no point in joining the bank holiday scramble so we were staying put…….’cause we can! Time to catch up on emails and other tasks while the world rushed by…..then……the phone rang!

‘Where are you?’ It was Ian and Denise gongoozling at Bosley lock flight which is only about 8 miles by road from our mooring in Scholar Green. ‘We are about 2 days from you but about 20 minutes by road’……See you soon then….

Quick scurry around CYAN to tidy up, as you do,  then there was a knock on the side of the boat, Ian, Denise and their dog JoJo had found our mooring. Great to see old friends again.

Brief tour of the boat, well a walk from one end to the other is brief, then off to the ‘Rising Sun’.

Sat outside with drinks and dogs being on best behaviour, then the sun made an appearance. Gloriously warm sunshine and banter with friends on a bank holiday, what is there not to like! The food was soon delivered and all consumed, 5 stars to the chef’s…………

All to briefly they had to leave and we returned to the boat with a promise to meet up again when we get to Marple Top Lock.

Post lunch Snooker on the TV followed by Liverpool v Watford completed a super day……..back out on the cut tomorrow, once the waterway has quietened down, heading north towards the Pennines.

0 Locks 0 miles

Left The Monty On A Soggy Wet Day

We stayed put last night as it was raining from 3pm. Today it was softly raining from early light, and continued until well after 3 pm! Typical bank holiday weather……..

We had a travel slot for today; we had to be at the Welsh Frankton locks by 12.00 noon to get up the flight, and onto the Llangollen again. Nothing for it but to push on in the rain…… Stopped off at the services arm to water up, and deposit the rubbish in the C&RT skip. The challenge is that on this arm off the Monty, there is no place to wind (turn around) the boat, the only way out is to reverse the way you came in.

Those who boat know that reversing is an art form, and when other boats are nearby they prove to be a magnet or collision hazard. As I was being observed closely from behind twitching curtains the nerves were jangling…..

Madra Mia…….without touching the sides we moved slowly backwards to the main channel, and headed off towards the lock landing to await our passage onto the Llangollen, with chest out and a sense of pride in not hitting anything or anyone!

We found others waiting in the rain, we were number 5 in the typical British queue……that’s one thing we can teach the world….how to form an orderly queue!

It was impossible to get close to the bank due to low water in the canal, so Jen held onto the centre line (in the rain) while Rusty and I maintained a management position on board!!!!!!

After some delay we moved forwards to take our turn at ascending the lock flight. The locks are fairly deep and water cascades past the gates……while the boat is at the bottom! It was great to reach the last lock and make contact with the Volunteer Lockie Chris, handling the staircase locks.


Back onto the Llangollen and heading off towards Ellesmere moorings…….Tesco’s tomorrow for provisions!

Fair Exchange Was Robbery!

After April 1st when her indoors felt we needed to ‘exchange’ duties, i.e. “Your turn to work the locks!”, my shoulders recovered well from the 5 locks down at Adderley that day. “Are you fit to continue?” she asked!  Yes Mam ready to go again. I should have known that there was a catch….hmmmm. Just about a mile from our overnight came the first of 15 locks in the Audlem flight! Male pride, ego, stubbornness or what, this was a challenge not to be passed over!

The sun was up as we reached the first lock which was set against us, the chamber had to be filled before we could descend to the lower level. Lots of windless twirling later we were off….. Another lock, and we came across a boater coming UP the locks….., so we now had lock chambers full, no need for windlass twirling before descending, great!

Under Bagley Lane Bridge (#76) the full extent of the Audlem flight came into view. Oh my giddy aunt!

Windlass twirling is a very sociable occupation, I met several ladies, doing ‘men’s work’, pausing for a chat, tips on best lock technique, things to observe during our planned voyage. There was an ‘Honesty Box’ half way down the flight, with free range eggs and cakes for sale. Just leave the money in the cashbox……..

I had started the day with 3 layers of clothing, but by now I was down to tee shirt and jeans. As the locks are fairly close together it is impractical to ride, so walking to the next lock is the norm…….., I didn’t realise I would be walking the mile and a half to Audlem as well as windlass twirling. It was at this point I realised the exchange of duties was robbery!

Under Audlem bridge before lock 13 there appeared a pub! The Shroppie Fly, I insisted we moor up and take some well earned refreshment, well it would be rude not too 🙂

Oh no the pub was closed?

Change of management or something, but it was securely locked on a gloriously sunny Sunday lunchtime!

Fortunately there was an alternative source of refreshment, the Bridge Inn was serving Marstons……..

Suitably refreshed we returned to CYAN and ready to take on the last 3 locks. As we were about to board a stranger approached us, enquiring about the boat, how long had we been on the network. All the usual questions boat owners like to talk about! This polite, neatly turned out gentleman (John) was from the ‘Friends of the Canal & River Trust’. It was like the moment at motorway services when the ‘AA’ man asks you ” Are you a member sir?” We were hooked!

Twenty minutes later we were signed up for a £5 monthly donation to the trust and given badges, books, leaflets and magazines. Well it is for a good cause eh……., well done John, excellent sales technique ……

The final 3 locks were accompanied by several Gongoozler moments, it was warm sunshine, a Sunday afternoon, and they were a friendly lot. One couple had just moved to Audlem and didn’t know there was a canal nearby! We discussed the history and engineering and they vowed to take out a hire boat to try boating for themselves!

Completed Audlem Locks

At last Lock 15………yes. Now for some TV footy and a relax with a can or two

Aston Marina What A Great Place To Moor Up!

Motored on the Trent & Mersey for  2 miles, reaching the entrance into Aston Marina. We had reserved a berth from 10th till 14th December. Wow what a great place to moor up! The 7 day reception was warm and friendly, lovely farm shop and bistro. Everywhere clean and tidy, mooring pontoons ample, non slip and secure. With large areas to exercise Rusty. Top marks for a top marina.

Once again Mr Tesco found our location and delivered, on time….

Weather has been mixed, and I just had to include an image of the sun setting over the marina on Sunday 11th December, nature is always capable of springing a surprise and it did not disappoint.



Jen has used the excellent laundry facility to get our washing dry. Always a problem on board when outdoor drying is not possible.

Meanwhile time to get decorations up, on-line shopping finished, and Christmas cards written and sent before we head off on Wednesday.