Spending Time At The Anderton Lift Visitor Centre

Not sure about the weather, the BBC forecast says it’ll be dry until 6:00 p.m., but who can trust what the weather forecasts say these days? The weather is very unpredictable. When we set off it was ‘long sleeves, and a jacket’ type of weather, but it wasn’t long before the jacket came off.

We wanted to fill the water tank before we entered today’s two tunnels, Cyan handles much better when her tanks are full. ¬†We gave up that plan when we saw how many (hire) boats were moored in the area, making it difficult to get to the water tap.

Though the weather’s dull, we did enjoy the scenery, even glimpsed the Dutton Railway Viaduct.

Cruising along; we caught up with a family on a hire boat, ‘Dad’ was cruising very slow, meaning we followed at tick-over pace, hanging back so we didn’t appear to be ‘bullying’ him.

It wasn’t long before we were at the entrance to Saltersford Tunnel. We arrived at 25 past 10, so we only had to wait 5 minutes until we were allowed to enter the tunnel at half past the hour. Rusty fared a little better in the tunnel, but that was until the teenagers in the hire boat in front of us decided to make ghostly noises. I hugged him all the way through trying to reassure him. Saltersford has a kink in the middle, which made the passage interesting.

The pic below was taken when we left the tunnel, you can just about see the ‘lane’ at the top of the tunnel where the barge horses walked over the length of the tunnel, while the barge was obviously legged through the tunnel.

Almost immediately we were entering Barnton Tunnel, though not before leaving a bit of space between us and the hire boat. There’s almost a 40 deg turn to enter the tunnel, and it’s not easy to see the entrance to ‘line up’ the boat. Whoops, John managed to catch the chimney on the roof, scraping chimney’s ‘hat’ along the ceiling. Luckily the ‘hat’ stayed on. Don’t know exactly what happened to the hire boat in the tunnel, but somewhere about the middle we heard a crashing noise, a bit of shouting, and Cyan was put in reverse to stop us banging into them. They must have sorted themselves out, as they were soon on their way again.

Rusty would be happy if he knew we’ve no more tunnels planned for a while.

We sailed past the Anderton Boat Lift entrance, and then moored up. We might be chilling for a day or two while we explore the visitor’s centre. Or we might not, the world’s our lobster so it’s said!

 

Today we’ve cruised 5 miles, sailed through 2 tunnels, Moored where WiFi is 8Mg, and Digital TV is OK.

Our start postcode: WA4 4LQ

Our moored postcode: CW9 6AQ

Through Preston Brook Tunnel

Yesterday we left our mooring by ‘Matthew Corbett’s house’ (thank you Pip and Carol) and gently wound our way to Stockton Quay Bridge #15.

Once moored, we got ready for Sunday Lunch with good friends we hadn’t seen for a while, Sue and Matt. They arrived with gifts too, a gorgeous port pie, a pot of caramelised onion chutney, and a pot of piccalilli, all from ‘The Pork Pie and Pickle Company, Great Sankey, Warrington’. You’re right Sue, the pork pie was amazing! Boy did we enjoy it, we had some for supper last night, and the rest for lunch today. (Thank you for yesterday, we had a great time! X)

With being moored only metres from Thorne Chandlery & Boat Services, and being low on water, we half filled (because the flow was slow) Cyan’s water tank. Then we were on our way, after registering Thorne’s diesel price was 69p litre.

But before we left, we had a brief chat with Nigel from Thorne who explained the requirements for Boat Safety Certification. He was very informative, and we discovered the location of our ‘Fuel Tank Vent’. Under the cap on the top of the red dolly is an anti-flame filter that must be inspected, and in place to prevent a flash fire. You learn something new every day!

I know we shouldn’t be nosy, peeking into passing gardens, but just had to snap this sculpture of an eagle or a hawk, carved out from a tree trunk. (Wish our camera was better!)

We passed slowly through a fishing competition, and it looked very competitive too judging by the black looks we got from the fishermen. “I’ve been ****** double boated twice today!”, exclaimed one competitor. I prefer this type of ‘fisherman’ below!

As we were passing, we called into Midland Chandlers which has got quite a good selection of cookers on display. Cyan’s galley doesn’t really work for us, but we said we’d live with it through the summer before finally deciding exactly what we want. It’s now getting pretty desperate as the burner in the oven packed up a couple of weeks ago, resulting in NO ROASTS! So while we were passing, I thought it would be good to see their range ‘in person’.

(Anyone handy that would like an oven that needs a repair? The grill works fine. The model is Country Leisure Midi Prima).

It was high time we bought a spare sealer for a Thetford cassette (just in case), a tube of silicon grease for the sealer, and two brass ‘T Studs‘. I hate watching John climb onto the bow to secure the mooring rope. Being over 70, he doesn’t ‘bounce’ like he used to, though he won’t admit it! I’ve finally talked him into buying two T Studs, and having them fitted on each side of the bow for easy access. They are the bolt on type, so expect there will be the sound of happy drilling soon!

We’ve now ‘cruised’ out of the Bridgewater, and are back on the C&RT’s Trent & Mersey. What a beautiful canal the Bridgewater is, we’ve really enjoyed its company!

This is us passing out of Preston Brooke Tunnel.

Rusty did his normal ‘jelly’ impression in the tunnel. I held him tightly and rubbed his chest, while he trembled. We’ve got 2 more tunnels to pass through tomorrow. In comparison, Preston Brook Tunnel is 1239 yards long, tomorrow we’ve Saltersford Tunnel which is 424 yards long, and Barnton Tunnel which is 572 yards long.

We’re now moored just past Dutton Wharf Bridge #212 on rings.

Today we’ve travelled almost 8 miles, through a 1239 yard tunnel, and one stop lock. WiFi is 25Mg, and Digital TV isn’t very good!

(For the benefit of Sue and Matt, because they find it difficult to keep track of our journey, we’ll add postcodes. ūüôā )

We started today at postcode WA4 5BH, mooring at postcode WA4 4LQ.

 

Delights Of The Macclesfield Canal

We left the C&RT mooring, after filling up with water, and John still ‘complaining’ he was feeling sore after the locks. Like a dutiful wife I told him I’d do all the locking today! Our plan of manoeuvring through four locks seems¬†a doddle after the twenty odd from yesterday.

Our first lock (#43) was straight in front of us.

At Lock #42 we took this picture:

Take a note of what looks like¬†bridge,¬†it’s really not a ‘bridge’, it’s Poole Aqueduct on the Macclesfield Canal. We shall be doing a ‘loop’, which will take us over this Aqueduct. ¬†Below is a picture we snapped taken from the Aqueduct, looking down on the Lock #42. We couldn’t see the locks below because of the wall, so with arms stretching up, we snapped the camera and hoped for the best!

Just before the third lock (#41), we moored up while I took a short hike to Tesco for a quick shop for fruit, milk and bread, and of course a freshly baked bag of doughnuts!  (Well it is bank holiday weekend after all.)

A little bit of canal history, this is a ghost sign advertising the ‘Kidsgrove Gas Light Company’, the company existed during the years¬†1857-1949. We snapped the sign as we sailed past.

Lock #41 pops up at Harding’s Wood Junction, and this is where we turned right, onto the Macclesfield Canal (and the start of the loop which takes us back, over the Trent & Mersey).

We just love the Macclesfield, yet we’ve only be on it a day! The bridges are absolutely beautiful being built from¬†local stone. The local stone being ‘Cheshire Gritstone’, has been¬†used since the iron age for mill stones.

Macclesfield Canal’s gardens are glorious, making the canal such a delight! ¬†The gardeners of these properties should be very proud of themselves.

Lock #13 corrects the water level difference from the Trent & Mersey and the Macclesfield Рthe lock raised Cyan to less than 10 inches.

History surrounds the lock, the worn cobblestones are testament to how busy this canal was worked.

The Macclesfield is rather shallow in areas, and it took three attempts to find a spot where we could moor Cyan, we just couldn’t pull her into the sides for mooring. ¬†Eventually we moored just before Kent Green Bridge (#87), where we’re overlooked by the village of Mow Cop, and Mow Cop Castle. ¬†The castle isn’t really a ‘castle’; it’s a folly of a ruined castle that’s sitting on¬†the summit of a hill, it was¬†built in 1754.

As we’ve had a ‘busy’ week;¬†we’re moored up with over 45 Mg of WiFi; good TV reception and DAB radio; and the friendly ‘Rising Sun’ (Marstons) pub just yards away, we thought this would be a great place to stay for a couple of days.

Today we covered 4 locks, and two and half-ish miles.

What? Another Lock?

Couldn’t believe how many locks we did today. ¬†We’d cut our journey into ‘chunks’, and had the choice to do 8 locks, or maybe 14 locks? Never thought we’d do the whole hog, cracking on to do 23 locks. ¬†John welded the windlass for 21 locks, and I did 2! I have to say though, the two locks I did were the spookiest (yes I know, I’m a martyr to my vivid imagination!).

The locks are mainly in pairs, which originally was used to quicken traffic though the locks, even 200 years ago, ‘time was money’ apparently.

Approaching one set of¬†locks we were faced with the scene below, and from afar we couldn’t understand what was happening.

It looked to us for a time that one of the locks had a serious problem.

On closer inspection, all looked ‘under control’!

Luckily for us another boat was coming down the ‘left side’ lock. As we were coming out of ‘our’¬†lock, we left the lock gate open for them, and they did the same for us. On the towpath, John met the lady boater who was doing the ‘locking (the first of three antipodeans we’d meet today), she explained to John that she’d left the gate open on a lock further up because she thought there were boaters going up the lock. ¬†She said it turned out the¬†‘boaters’ was a film crew. ¬†John told her not to worry, and that we’d sort out the gate.

As we left our next lock, we could see the ‘film crew’ in the lock in front. ¬†Must admit that it did occur to me; I should have taken time that morning to put on some makeup! There appears to be quite a few TV programmes recently¬†about the Inland Waterways, the latest being ‘Barging Brits In The Sun’. Perhaps they’re filming ‘Celebrities Barging Around Britain’, and we’d get to see a celeb or two?

This is the film crew on the bridge, and we actually heard the phrase, “Well that’s a wrap”!

It appears they were filming a safety film on behalf of the Fire Service, it’s a film to be shown in schools about the dangers of larking around electricity sub-stations. Nothing ‘sexy’, or even to do with canals!

These are the two spooky locks I set. I do feel apprehensive about¬†things being ‘derelict’. ¬†The image shows two pairs of locks (four locks in total) the locks on the left of each pair is derelict. ¬†John with Cyan is just beyond the bridge in front and out of view. ¬†Looking up to the next pair of locks, I realised that¬†if a boat was coming down this lock, there’d be a problem with having two boats pass each other in this small pound, would hate for the boats to get stuck. So I ran up the lock (where I’m taking the pic) and let out the water. ¬†I ran back down to the first lock and opened the gates for Cyan. ¬†While Cyan’s lock was filling I ran up the hill again to open the gates, for Cyan to go straight in.

The water looks really brown, with brown residue sticking to the walls of the lock, and to Cyan’s hull. ¬†I believe it’s the element of iron.

Some of the houses are built very close the canal, it’s like we’re sailing through their gardens.

 

This is picture postcard stuff!

Remember the song, “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White”, some kind farmer has planted a whole avenue of cherry and apple trees, their ¬†blossoms are amazing! No picture can do this scene justice, and once again I wished I could paint!

Couldn’t resist taking a picture of this motley crew, especially the magnificent beast with the ‘handlebar horns’! At a rough guess there must be more than seven ‘breeds’ of bovine here.

We started at 10.30 a.m. and didn’t stop until we eventually arrived at 5.30 p.m., 23 locks, and 8 miles later, outside the C&RT Office moorings, just before Red Bull Lock (#42). John insisted on having steak for dinner, because he said he needed (deserved) it!

 

Yikes No WiFi

We moored up, just after the services at Wharf Bridge (#154). We had travelled a mere ‘hop, skip and a jump’ from yesterday’s mooring, mainly because of the inclement weather. ¬†It was a shock to barely receive¬†any WiFi after the brilliant service we’ve been getting of late.

Tomorrow we’ve a day of locks. Wonder how many we’ll manage?

Annes Bridge (#157), Trent and Mersey Canal

We set out this morning with a vague plan to moor just above Kings Lock (#71), on the Trent and Mersey, enabling us to visit the chandlers, and enjoy a fish ‘n’ chip supper from the local chippy.

To get to our ‘planned’ mooring, we had to go down the last two locks on the Middlewich Branch of the Shroppie, and one lock ‘going up’ on the Trent and Mersey.

Our first lock of the day!

Last night while reading another boater’s blog, NB Seyella, we noticed we were following in the wake of Mags and Geoff’s Seyella. I left a comment on their blog saying if they saw a couple waving at them as we passed, it would probably be us. Although we hadn’t met, their blog was one of several we have been following for over four years, it’s been a great inspiration to us living our ‘alternative’ life on board Cyan.

We were delighted to bump into them at Middlewich Junction, where we stopped for a lovely chat for half an hour. It was great¬†to say ‘thank you’ in person for their blog. Such nice¬†people, and no doubt we’ll be bumping into them from time to time.

Seyella continued ‘North’ on the Trent and Mersey, while we went ‘South’.

At the top of Kings Lock we noticed the mooring rings were ¬†too far apart for Cyan, with¬†no hope of putting in pins, or mooring with a chain, so we thought we’d cruise on thinking they’d be a more suitable¬†mooring relatively near. Though first, John visited the chandler, and popped into the chippy, while I temporarily held onto Cyan at the lock landing.

As soon as John returned, I popped the chips into a warm oven, for what I thought would be a short time. Unfortunately, we had to go up 4 locks, and cruise 3 miles, before we came across a suitable mooring. The fish and chips were tasty, and enjoyable, but they weren’t at their best. Still, on the bright side; we’ve 45 mg of WiFi, and great digital TV reception.

Here’s a few snaps we took today:

A lovely traditional canal side cottage, with the door beautifully decorated with ‘Castles and Roses’ artwork.

I’m so loving the amazing variety of spring flowers growing along the towpaths.

Originally this building was a stables for canal horses to rest and be changed. It’s now been sympathetically converted into a lovely home.

My ¬†camera just isn’t good enough to pick up the beautiful vista, it’s glorious and shows just how high up the canal is.

While we were on the Llangollen, and the Montgomery Canals, we hardly saw a swan, despite the canals being surrounded with conservation areas. We couldn’t believe our eyes seeing this ‘Lamentation’ of over 20 swans. Couldn’t help but wonder what the swan convention was all about?

Today we did 9 miles and 7 Locks, and moored up with 45 mg  of WiFi.

Time To Swop Jobs

Last night we moored in what was a lovely place, secluded and near to a wood so we could hear the morning birds song.¬† The song birds have been glorious, and something we’ve missed.¬† Unfortunately there was hardly any wifi signal where we stopped ¬†Hence us moving this morning in the rain.¬† We’ve now got a good signal where we’ve moored, and am really pleased we’ve moved on, despite the rain.¬† Even more so as I read this morning that the wood was haunted by a ‘vociferous ghost’ so I’m really really pleased I didn’t know about THAT last night.

Since we’d both completed our Helmsmen Course with Willow Wren (a fine training school!) and living on Cyan for over 7 months, I’ve let John do all the ’tiller work’ while I opted to do the locking!

The plan was for each of us to be proficient with what we do, but… I became ‘lazy’ and it was easy for me to¬†let John ‘ride the tiller’ everyday. ¬†But after a couple of challenging locks where my ‘little legs’ couldn’t stride some of the lock planks without fear of wobbling off; the time has come to be sensible, to ‘prise’ John’s hand off the tiller, for me to step up, and gain confidence handling Cyan. This results in letting John do the locks! Nothing of course to do with the prospect of going down the upcoming 15 Audlem locks (I lie Your Honour!).

After a discussion; and me doing less than 5 minutes on the tiller, we had the ‘words’ which basically were “Sod it, you take the tiller then….”, which was quickly followed with a sulk! We soon came to the agreement, that I’m left to make my own mistakes, and if I wanted John’s help, he’d step in. ¬†Very ‘brave’ man, and not stupid either….

Today’s just a trial, with John doing the 5 Adderley locks. ¬†All went according to plan, with me making my own mistakes. Though I do think that on Lock 2 John over-reacted when he jumped out of the way as I entered the lock. Unfortunately, I misjudged the opening, and entered the lock a tad too fast, and banged¬†the boat into the side. ¬†John does exaggerate as he said he thought the boat was going to ‘crash’ out of the water.

Today I saw our first swan on her nest. ¬†At first glance the nest looks a bit vulnerable, but it’s not really as the nest is on the far side of the canal, away from any walkers. ¬†Plus, I doubt any fox or dog would be brave enough to take on a broody swan and her mate.

Normally we’ve not been able to take a pic of a heron, as just before we approach them, and near enough to get a good photo, they take off. ¬†But this cheeky chappie was brave ought to pose for our camera as we gently cruised by.

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.

 

Snuggled up in Great Haywood Marina

Having navigated the icy conditions on the Coventry we motored north west on the Trent and Mersey towards our intended destination, Tattenhall Marina, where we plan to spend the festive season.

The ‘Pramhood’ is ready to be fitted and we arranged to spend a few days in Great Haywood Marina while Peter Roberts completed the installation.

So glad we settled into the Marina as the weather is still very cold and we have both been struck down with heavy colds. Typically Jen has almost recovered but my ‘Man Flu’ is proving to be stubborn, and has developed into Bronchitis…….treatment involves keeping warm and consumption of regular hot toddies, I know it’s tough but..etc..

The Pram Hood looks great and fits beautifully…..Peter’s attention to detail and his careful installation really shows in the finished article.

With the cover in place it was a good opportunity to get down the engine ‘ole and change the oil and filter. By the look of the oil drained from the sump, this job that should have been done weeks ago! Tips picked up during the Willow Wren Diesel Engine Training Day proved very useful, including wearing of gloves to prevent skin contact with waste oil! I only have one issue and that is how to dispose of 6 litres of waste oil? The chandlers sell fresh oil but do not have a facility for the waste oil…..for the moment the oil is ‘stored’ below the deck in a suitable container……

Now the weather is rapidly improving we plan to be back out onto the T&M from Thursday morning. We have had deliveries from Mr Tesco and Rusty’s favourite dog food from Millies Wolfheart, so we are good to go!

Thursday morning began with a keen wind and rain showers, we delayed our start until midday when the sky had turned blue with a strong breeze blowing over the marina. Heading north on the Trent and Mersey, the wind pushing us along……

We have booked into Aston Marina, close to Stone in Staffordshire,from Sat 10th until 14th. This is to allow the work being carried out on the top lock at Stoke on Trent to be completed by 16th. Until then the navigation is closed at that point. No chance to make a detour in a Narrow Boat! We moored up on the canal side 2 miles south of Aston Marina for 48 hours.

No pressure and chance for a lazy start to the day before a Full English……