Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Through the Tunnel.

After posting our blog last night we were visited by a man from British Waterways, who asked us if we would like to ascend the flight of locks that evening. It was a lovely evening so we agreed to do so. It was around 20-00hrs when we arrived at the tunnel portal,we were shocked to see how small it was.
This morning the team arrived from British Waterways, to check the boat measurements to make sure we could get through. Our turn to enter the tunnel came at 10-45hrs, we were on our way, complete with chaperon to guide us through. On the map it shows as a straight line, however it is far from being straight. The width and height varied quite alot, it was an interesting journey which took us 2hrs.All the time the three boats are traveling through the tunnel a member of the BW team drives through the disused rail tunnel that runs along side us and monitors our progress. We can also hear the trains as they go through their tunnel, which crosses the canal tunnel twice.
Tonight we are moored 11 locks down from the tunnel at lock 31. Unfortunately we are stuck here waiting for BW to repair a cill on lock 29 which got damaged today due to low water. The pictures are one going up to the tunnel, the tunnel entrance and two from tonight's mooring.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Waiting at Wool road.

Around 08-30hrs staff from British Waterways unlocked lock 24w so we could go up to the tunnel. we were second to start the climb, however we only got as far as the second lock. The boat in front could not get the third lock to fill, more water was leaking from a faulty ground paddle. They informed BW who sent out a crew. at the same time we were told to return to the bottom of the flight. This was the second time we have had to go down locks in reverse. Back at the bottom we sat waiting for news. Apparently when the crew drained the lock and pound the paddle was so badly damaged it had to be replaced. It is now 14-00hrs and we are still waiting.
At 15-00hrs we were unofficially told that it was fixed and we would go up tomorrow morning at 08-30hrs. A little later I received a phone call from the tunnel manager confirming this. Time to settle down for another night at the Wool Road visitor moorings

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Heading for the Standedge Tunnel.

Since Wednesday I have not managed to get on line. To up date you, Thursday was a quiet day walking in the Tame valley. on Friday we arrived at the junction with the Huddersfield Narrow canal. Before making the turn I decided to top up with diesel. When we got to the marina it was just a narrow channel, so I had to reverse in to the pump, however it proved more simple than I had imagined. At Dukinfield Junction we visited a museum and had lunch in their cafe. After lunch we headed up toward Stalybridge where we were to meet our son Richard his wife Gill and baby Duncan. At lock 3w we had another gate that would not open fully and we got jammed for the second time this trip. While trying to free ourselves we recieved help from a group of young men,this must prove they don't all course trouble, some can be very helpful.
on Friday night we ate at the Mill Pond Inn opposite lock 6w in the centre of Stalybridge. It was a noisy night moored in Stalybridge.
On Saturday Richard went home for work, while Gill and Duncan stayed. It proved a long afternoon cruise until we found a place to moor for the night. The trouble was very shallow edges to the canal.
Today we did the short distence to Uppermill, where we had a walk round town before doing the last two locks before the flight that will take us to Diggle and the western portal of Standedge Tunnel. We are waiting for Richard to return to pick up Gill and Duncan.
In the morning lock 24w will be unlocked(you can only go up this flight on the day you are booked to go through the tunnel) allowing us to assend and pass through the tunnel. Tomorrow is our big day.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Lower by 214ft and 16 locks.

Our challenge today was the Marple Flight. Sixteen locks dropping 214ft. At 09-30hr Marlene and Doublefracture entered the top lock. It was 11-55hrs when they were leaving the bottom lock. We thought that was good going. The locks on the Marple flight are all quite deep. On the way down we passed only three boats coming up the flight. At the bottom Marlene had a tricky turn into the bridge going out of the pound. We then crossed an aqueduct before going through a narrow section that used to be a tunnel. Now, however the tunnel top has been removed. That was where we pulled over and moored for the night, relaxing once again in the afternoon sun.
Here are a few pictures I took on our descent.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Two short days.

Regretfully Monday morning meant we had to leave Bugsworth as our 48hrs were up. Reluctantly we cruised back down to the junction with the main Peak Forest canal turned right and headed back to Marple junction. Before leaving I phoned British Waterways office in Leeds and booked our passage through Standedge Tunnel on Monday 29th June. Just one week to go. We only went as far as bridge 24 before mooring for the night, the views were great. After our evening meal we went for a walk in this lovely countryside.
This morning we completed the trip to Marple and moored close to the top lock. After doing some shopping(while dodging showers) we had lunch then I washed the dust off the boat and Marlene touched up some paint work. The rest of the day we relaxed in the afternoon sun. Pictures area view from Monday nights mooring and Marple top lock.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Domestic Day.

Today we remained at Bugsworth Basin and caught up on some domestic chores. I walked about a mile to the village of Chinley to the laundrette with towels and bedding, while Marlene washed smaller items at the boat.So here are a few pictures from around the Basin and near by village.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Bugsworth Basin.

On Friday we stayed in Whaley Bridge,went for a walk round town. The evening proved to be a little noisy with lots of young boys and girls walking up and down the towpath. Of course just for a laugh they knocked on the boat roof.
We woke Saturday morning to rain. Spent the morning watching Saturday kitchen. In the afternoon we went to the school fete in Whaley Bridge. After lunch we moved to Bugsworth Basin which is about a mile from Whaley Bridge on a short branch off.
Bugsworth used to be an industrial site where they shipped lime stone by narrow boat. Now it has been restored and is a very nice mooring.While the restoration was taking place they discovered a colony of water voles. These are a protected species they constructed them a new habitat at the cost of £35,000. At the side of the basin is the Navigation Inn.
Today's pictures are: Whaley Bridge Basin and a view from Bugsworth Basin.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

End of the Macclesfield.

We arrived at the end of the Macclesfield in heavy rain. So as we came through the bridge at Marple top lock we grabbed the first mooring space we saw. It was not ideal as the banking was high and the water too shallow at the edge. That was Yesterday, today the sun is shining and we have traveled down the Peak Forest Canal to Whaley Bridge. There are no locks on this stretch but two lift bridges and two swing bridges to negotiate. Talk about scenery, it just gets better. To the left the rolling hills to the right woods and more hills. Arriving at the basin at Whaley Bridge we were a little upset to see that most of the mooring space was for long term mooring and what visitor moorings there were,(room for about eight boats) were seven day moorings. Having turned round we just managed to moor at the very end of the line of boats. It was close, however the people on the boat in front kindly moved up to give us more space. Thank you the people on Mirage. Whaley Bridge is a lovely little Peak District town with most of the amenities you might need.
Today's pictures were taken at Marple Junction

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Satellite Dish.

For the last few days we have had no television. The reason for this is because while looking at the map book I ran into a Hawthorn bush. While trying to free myself from this bush it ripped of our Ariel and it dropped in the canal never to be seen again.
So today we had a satellite dish fitted.We had been thinking about doing this anyway so now we had to act. It was supplied and fitted by Travelsat, who came to where we were moored and fitted it in the morning by Martyn the owner of Travelsat. He also supplied a little box and a compass to help find the satellite when we move. Apparently it is always in the south east.
We went for a walk this afternoon, through Middle wood and back to the canal, a nice circular walk. Tonight we are staying at the mooring at High lane(see picture)then move on tomorrow.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Slow Progress.

Shallow water on the Macclesfield canal is making progress quite slow. On the bright side the scenery is well worth looking at. We left Oakgrove swing bridge this morning and cruised up to Macclesfield town where we stopped for a look at the shops. The town centre was alot bigger than we expected with a good selection of shops and a nice indoor market.
After lunch we set off once again still heading for Marple locks. This should have been easy in the day with no locks, however at 17-30 hours we moored at High Lane, two mile short of Marple. As I said progress was slow.
Since my blogg on Saturday we did two walks From Oak grove, one on Saturday evening when we walked round Sutton reservoir and one on Sunday evening when we walked over the fields in the opposite direction and came back on the road.The rest of Sunday was spent varnishing the curtain rods and reading,a quiet Sunday.
Today's pictures are: A street in Macclesfield, The swing bridge and The mooring at Oakgrove.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

The Macclesfield Canal(so far) in pictures.

The Macclesfield is a beautiful canal.

Twelve Locks.

A good breakfast was needed this morning before facing the twelve locks of the Bosley flight. We started at 09-25hrs and would finish at 12-45hrs.At the seventh lock we met a men who moors at our old mooring at Fox narrow boats. At the side of the eleventh and twelfth lock there was a vintage car fair taking place. There was no room to moor at the top of the locks so we carried on to our intended over night stop at the Royal Oak swing bridge. On arrival at the swing bridge I was assisted in its operation by a lady who was traveling in the opposite direction. It took us some time to get both boats through, the motorists who had to wait for us to finish did not look impressed. Having moored we went for a pre-dinner drink. To our dismay the Royal Oak pub was now called The fools Nook.
Yesterday we had had a quiet day with only one lock between the start of the Maccelsfield Canal and the bottom of the Bosley flight and that had only been a rise of a foot.The only other occurrence of the day was when I had a fight with a tree and lost the television ariel.So we are having a satellite dish fitted. More about that Tuesday.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Beyond Stoke on Trent.

Our first major city since Leicester, however Stoke on Trent is more open and modern. There are still a few old bottle kilns in evidence.There are five locks in the Stoke flight and when we arrived at the first there was a queue of three boats. We were informed that they had been there for an hour and a half. We arrived just as British waterways staff had just freed the bottom paddles on the bottom gates.Apparently a piece of wood had jammed them. So we took our turn and worked our way up the flight then stopped for lunch.
After lunch we pushed on toward the Harecastle Tunnel. On the way we past a boat yard with a lift bridge at the entrance. When we arrived at the tunnel we had a wait of about forty minutes while boats came in the opposite direction(this tunnel is only one boat wide). Harecastle Tunnel is 2926yds in lengh and it takes around forty minutes to go through it.
The water is a strange orange colour in this area due to a local ironstone strata.
Back in the sun shine we went up to Hardings Wood junction, where we turned left onto the Macclesfield Canal, although the canal then goes right Over the Trent and Mersey which has dropped down two locks. Just after this aqueduct we moored for the night. This has been our longest day for a week.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

An eight lock day.

Today has seen us leave Stone and move to a mooring near the Wedgwood Pottery at Barlaston. There were four locks leaving Stone. The weather was warm but showery. At the third lock we met up with some people from Fox Narrowboats our old boat yard in March Cambridgeshire.
We had four more locks before stopping for lunch at Barlaston village. A small village but with a good selection of shops. It was a short trip after lunch to our over night mooring. Once moored we walked to the Wedgwood visitors centre which was just a short walk from the canal. As it was late afternoon we only had time to look round the shop. There was some lovely pottery but very expensive.
On the way back to the boat it started to rain, by the time we got back it was a full blown thunder storm. Looks like a night in with the tele. No pub to-night.
Sorry no pictures to-night a slow Internet connection.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Stone-A Canal Town.

After a pleasant weekend we left Weston-upon-Trent headed for Stone.We had two locks that morning, at the second it got quite busy. While waiting our turn I got talking to a man on the boat that was going up the lock. He told me that the Leeds and Liverpool canal had restricted movement because of water shortages. We had already heard that the Rochdale canal were having water problems(normal for the Rochdale). That leaves the Huddersfield Narrow, choices were getting smaller. In Stone we found a mooring just below Star lock and the adjacent Star Inn. Stone has had a canal since 1771 largely due to Josiah Wedgwood who wanted it to bring in raw materials and ship out his finished pottery. The Star Inn was fully licenced in 1819 although the building was there 200years prior to that. As a town it had most things we needed, a Laundrette, a large supermarket and a barber and hairdresser for Marlene. We took full advantage of them all.It was a quiet and peaceful Monday night.
Tuesday,we decided to stay in Stone for another day and night. In the morning we took a leisurely stroll round town, it was market day, not a large market but adequate. After lunch I prepared dinner then relaxed until we went to the Star to try the local brew, Well it wouldn't be polite not to,would it?
Just back from the Star, a quaint old fashioned pub, plenty of atmosphere.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Weekend Visitors.

Two and a half mile saw us moored with a great view of Shugborough Hall on Friday.It was Aarons last day with us,so we took a picnic into the grounds of the hall. The weather was kind to us and we played with a bat and ball. Just as we were getting back to the boat it started to rain.
We got up to more rain on Saturday morning. Around Lunch time Richard, Gill and the four Grandchildren arrived. It was too wet to go anywhere so the kids played games after lunch. At four o clock it was time for them to go but before they left we took the boat up through the next lock at Great Hayward. On entering the lock I discovered that my reverse was not working. This is a problem as it is my only way of stopping,I hit the top gate quite hard(well that stopped me). While the lock was filling I did some running repairs, it was a screw on the throttle lever that had come loose. From the top of the lock we went the short distance to Hayward Junction where we could top up our water and get rid of our rubbish.Before we had filled the water Richard, Gill and the kids walked back to their car and went home. We finished filling the water then set of for Weston upon Trent where my sister Jennifer and husband Malcolm were meeting us on Sunday morning. We hadn't traveled far when the engine over heated. Letting it cool we topped up with water and anti-freeze then continued on to Weston without further problem. I don't understand how we lost the engine water as I always check the level before starting the engine.
Waking Sunday morning we were surprised to see it was not raining, however before I'd cooked breakfast it was raining very heavy. At 11-15 Jennifer and Malcolm arrived. We had tea and coffee then at 0ne o clock we braved the rain and dashed to the Saracen's Head for lunch. It was a lovely meal and while we were there the rain finally stopped. Leaving the pub we took a walk round the village and later down the canal.It was nice having a weekend with visitors even if the weather let us down.