Monday, 28 September 2009


Sorry for the lack of posts this week but since we turned onto the Llangollen we've had no Internet signal until today.
It was Wednesday when we turned up the four locks at Hurlston Junction, Half an hour later we were leaving the top lock having risen 34ft 3ins. During the day we did five more locks each with a rise of around 6ft. We moored for the night at Wrenbury. On Thursday we traveled on to Grindly Brook, where we moored below the flight of locks and waited for Pamela,Nathan and Archie to join us for breakfast on Friday morning. They arrived at 08-45 and after breakfast we all went to Chester Zoo for the day. In the evening we had a meal at the Horse and Jockey,this was where Nathan had arranged to leave his car while we all traveled to see the aqueducts at Chirk and Pontcysyllte.
Saturday saw us climbing the six locks at Grindley Brook,the last three a staircase. All six lock gave us a total rise of 38ft 11ins. Having cruised all day (except for a break for lunch and a short walk)we moored just outside Ellsmere for the night.
Our big day had arrived,three tunnels and two aqueducts,the high lite being Telfords Pontcysyllte Aqueduct at 1007ft long and 126ft above the River Dee. It was a long day with queues at the first of the two locks of the day. It is a bit like a pilgrimage with hire boat after hire boat heading up to Llangollen, with just a few privately owned boats mixed in. Some hire firms must give very little instruction on the workings of a lock,Nathan and I ended up locking the boats ahead of us through. On more than one occasion we found open paddles that should have been closed.We didn't go into Llangollen as time was running out(we had to be back at Grindley Brook by Tuesday)so having crossed the aqueduct we turned round and recrossed it before mooring for the night. This morning we left for the return journey, because of the flow of the canal(from west to east)we got back to Ellsmere an hour quicker. Tomorrow we head back to Grindley Brook where Pamela,Nathan and Archie Will pick up thier car and drive home. Where as Marlene and I will head back to Hurlston Junction. We will do the next post as soon as we can get on line.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Return to Barbridge Junction.

On Saturday afternoon we left Chester,doing the five locks rising 35ft.on the way up we met a hen party going into Chester for the night,later we met a stag party heading in the same direction. We carried on to Waverton before mooring for the night.When we woke up on Sunday morning there was a camping trailer parked on the car park next to the mooring but no car to pull it.
Staying at Waverton on Sunday we did some painting and made a start on scrubbing down the boat roof.The weather was kind to us os we got plenty done.Two people emerged from the camping trailer and went off on bikes returning later with a car.
On Monday morning Marlene went to the hairdressers,we then carried on to Wharton lock(just below Beeston Castle). Up by the lock we found a Damson tree so we picked 2lb of fruit so we could make some jam.
This morning after making three jars of Damson jam we left for Barbridge Junction.There were six locks on route which we paired up with another boat. Second lock of the six is Iron Lock which you have to do one boat at a time as it is slightly narrow. The two last locks are a staircase,at the top we said goodbye to Tony and Mo on Elamiah. Thanks to both of them for making our morning easier and very pleasant. Stopping for lunch at Calveley we had a look at the floating gift shop run by Mel and Ivor Batchelor.We first came across this shop when we took a holiday on the Hotel boat Shirley Ann. Tonight we are moored at Barbridge Junction and are taking a walk to the pub. Tomorrow the Llangollan.

Saturday, 19 September 2009


This morning we did our shopping,had coffee then went exploring.Chester is a walled city dating back to Roman times.Much of the wall is still standing and is a good way to walk round this small but interesting city. Above the river Dee are the remains of a Roman Amphitheatre,and at the side of that is St Johns Church. originally the city cathedral, St Johns is a lovely Church standing out side the walls. In side the walls is the much larger Cathedral that was built to replace St Johns.
Chester Castle was a little disappointing as there is not a lot to see, what there is is surrounded by more modern buildings. In the centre of town is a very ornate clock high above the street,it was done for Queen Victoria.There is a mix of buildings old and not so old, with narrow alleys with restaurants and coffee shops. All in all an interesting city.The two pictures of stain glass windows are in St Johns Church,not the Cathedral.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Coffee with George Cheers.

Leaving Nantwich heading south,then at the first winding hole we turned around heading north to Chester. We stopped at Calveley Service point where we topped up with water before mooring up just passed bridge 104. Later we walked across the fields,then the foot path went into a private garden.As we walked through we met George Cheers, the owner of the house,while passing the time of day he invited us in for coffee, Which we accepted. Time soon passed as we chatted about the local area and what we were doing. some times you meet people who make you feel really welcome,George was one of those people.
On Thursday we had six locks to do, the first two were a staircase,the locks were double locks going down.On the staircase two we passed a hire boat in the middle, that was going up. We moored at Bates Mill Bridge, near the Shady Oak the afternoon we walked over to Beeston Castle that is built on cliffs that are 100m high. As we walked back down we called at the Shady Oak for a drink before dinner.
Today we carried on to Chester,doing five more locks. Arriving in Chester in the afternoon we turned round by the Frog and Nightingale pub and moored for the night.In the evening we took a walk round town,tomorrow we'll take a proper look. Tonight is the first time I've been able to get on line since we left Nantwich.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


On Monday morning we took a walk up Hurlston Locks to see what we would have to do in the future. Timing will be everything,these locks are busy on weekends so we propose to go up them on a week day,but that's later.
After our walk we left heading for Nantwich,once again we have our balloon ride booked for Tuesday morning. This evening Richard came down to take us to the launch site. It took him an hour to find the mooring once he arrived at Nantwich. At the appointed time(11PM)we phoned the flight line to see if the flight was on. The voice on the phone informed us due to bad high altitude winds the flight was cancelled,Please re-book your flight. We were gutted, again.This morning we had breakfast then Richard returned home,Marlene and I walked into town. Nantwich town is a mixture of old and new buildings which works very well,a lovely town centre.We were going to move on this afternoon but decided to spend a second night here.
The canal at Nantwich is on an embankment then crosses the A51 Chester road on a cast iron aqueduct.Tomorrow we will cross the aqueduct then turn at the winding hole between bridges 90 and 91,then back the way we came heading for Chester.
We re-booked our balloon flight for October 28th near Weston in Staffordshire,hopefully third time lucky.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Misty Mornings.

There was a mist over the water yesterday morning,soon though the sun burned it away for another lovely day. Setting off we cruised down to the Big lock at Middlewich.This is a wide lock for two boats, the only one on this stretch,the rest are narrow.We entered the lock with another boat and seven swans,rising through 5ft 1in.We moored and went shopping,then called for a pint at the Newton Brewery Inn.In the afternoon we did the three Middlewich locks with a rise of 32ft 7ins,then on to Wardle lock on the Shropshire union Middlewich Branch rise 9ft 9ins. It was time to moor for the night.
This morning the mist took a little longer to clear, but clear it did.Our first lock was just along from our mooring so i walked up and set the lock while Marlene followed with Doublefracture.Stanthorne lock rises 11ft 1in. Traveling in wonderful country side in beautiful weather,what more could we ask for.Two more locks rising a total of 22ft 3ins brought us to Barbridge Junction.
I've just come back to this posting after my Sunday dinner,with a lovely South African Merlot. Right, where was I,Barbridge Junction,after watering up we carried on to the junction with the Llangollen Canal(Hurlston junction),then moored for the night(then the lovely Sunday dinner). Tomorrow on to Nantwich.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Sixty foot above the Weaver.

Thursday saw us heading for the 1,239yd Preston Brook Tunnel. This tunnel is time controlled like Foulridge. We arrived just after the hour so while we waited for our time slot on the half hour we had coffee. At the appointed time we set off through in a convoy of six boats, we were third in. Coming out the other end twenty minutes later we then jioned the que to go through Dutton stop lock. Around lunch time we moored sixty foot above the river Weaver, the view was wonderful. In the afternoon we walked down a track to take a look at Dutton locks on the Weaver, these locks are huge the largest is forty two foot wide and long enough for a large ship.The sun set was the perfect end to a perfect day.
Today, two more tunnels, the first, Saltersford tunnel(424yds).It must be the worst tunnel in the system,it bends all over the place and we were nearly through before we saw the light at the other end.Luckily this is also time controlled. The second is the 572yd Barnton Tunnel,not quite as bent but not straight either. Next we arrived at the Anderton lift, which lifts two narrow boats 50ft from the river Weaver to the Trent and Mersey canal, a great piece of engineering.
This afternoon we passed the boat yard where we bought Doublefracture,although she was unnamed then.Tonight we are moored at Billinge Green Flash, over looking wide stretches of water with alot of water birds.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

A Jewel of atown.

The sun was out again this morning and Lymm looked a lot better. We walked into town,past lovely cottages. In the market place they still have a set of stocks.Further down the road is a small lake,walking up the side of this lake you come to Lymm dam, a larger lake.Here there are walks round the lake and through woodland.In the woods are some interesting rocks,formed by retreating glaciers. Lymm is a jewel of a town and well worth stopping at.Before leaving Lymm we sampled the fine ale at the Golden Fleece inn, who's beer garden over looks the canal.Life is certainly hard on the canals.
Moving on in the afternoon we moored in the country about three mile from Preston Brook Tunnel. The evening is warm, sunny and peaceful.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Dunham Massey Hall.

We moved a little way up the canal to Little Bollington.Then we walked to Dunham Massey Hall. a National Trust property. Once the seat of the Earl of Stamford.This Georgian Mansion Has a fabulous collection of paintings and Huguenot silver. In the grounds the deer roam free.We went round the house which was originally a Tudor house, that was rebuilt in Georgian times.The family had its share of scandals. One Earl married the daughter of his bed maker. When she died young the family hoped he would marry someone more suitable, alas he married a circus bare back rider.
After the house we walked round the garden and finally had a look at the water mill which drove a circular saw for wood cutting.
Returning to the boat we made our way into Lymm for the night. Just as we were arriving at the mooring the rain came down again,the difference being the day had been warm and sunny.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Orange Water.

Moving off this morning we went under the M60 Motorway to worsley. The water at Worsley is orange due to the dissolved iron ore in it. To my surprise Worsley was quite a nice place. We then passed through Salford which wasn't quite as nice,here we had the derelict buildings and the urban decay. Once through Salford we passed over the Manchester Ship Canal,it looked as though the aquaduct at one time sung open to allow large ships to pass through.We were now travelling down passed the Trafford Centre and Trafford Park area to the junction where the canal goes off to the left and up through the centre of Manchester to the Rochdale and Ashton canals. We went right headed for Stretford and Sale. What I expected to be a long stretch of urban decay proved to be a pleasant green corridor. Just running into Sale in the area of Ashton upon Mersey was a nice shopping centre which came down to the canal side,on the opposite side the King's Ransome public house looked very nice with it's large area of out side tables. Having cleared the last of Sale we were out in the country so we moored for lunch near Dunham town bridge, not far from Dunham Massey hall, a National Trust property.With the sun out we decided to stay here for the night. What we thought would be a day of urban decay had turned out to be quite a pleasant day

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Astley Pit Museum.

After a lazy morning,which included a brunch about ten o clock we set off on the second walk on the leaflet. It was only a short walk but an enjoyable one. It centred round Astley Pit Museum which we visited after the walk.
We found the museum fascinating. You can't really appreciate the cramped conditions the miners worked in until you see the life size models in the museum. The second shock was the size of the engines that drove the winding gear,they were enormous.
As we were walking around the pit yard we came across a man with a small working steam locomotive.His biggest problem he said was keeping up with the leaks.
Later in the day we moved nearer to Salford, so we can go straight through Salford,Trafford Park,Stretford and Sale tomorrow. This will be about eleven mile but no Locks.
The only other thing for today's post is the subject of what people throw in the canal.The chair in the picture has been following us. We first came across it at Marshland Green,then this morning it appeared at Astley Green.Why do people think it is a place to dump what they no longer want.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Onto the Bridgewater Canal.

Left our over night mooring heading for Leigh Nicholson;s says there is a manned swing bridge at Plank Lane,in fact it's a lift bridge,passing trough we then stopped for water. Carrying on we arrived at Leigh,moored and went shopping then had lunch. As you pass under Leigh bridge you leave the Leeds Liverpool/Leigh Branch and go onto the Bridgewater Canal. This afternoon we stopped at bridge 66 and did a walk Round Bedford Moss which took some following.The walk was on a leaflet that we picked up at Haigh Hall. The walk was 3 mile. We then moved on to Astley Green And moored for the night. Astley Green has a Pit Museum which we plan to visit in the morning.there is also a second walk here on the leaflet.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Going down.

We were up and ready to go by eight thirty,however, two boats went down in front of us. It looked as if we would be doing all twenty one locks alone,then at the last minute another boat arrived to partner us down.We would share the work with the couple on Canny Annie.Sharing the work is all ways easier.The women steered the boats while us men worked the locks.All the locks were against us at the beginning so while the boats were dropping one of us went ahead to set the next lock.about six locks down we met two boats coming up, so the next lock was set in our favour. Later we past two other boats coming up,then after that the bottom lock keeper set all the locks that were left in our favour. This made the lower section much easier.
Three and three quarter hours after entering the top lock we reached the bottom, 214ft 7ins lower. Both boats moored for lunch. We were going to walk to Wigan Peir for a look but after lunch we decided not to and set off down the Leigh Branch and two more locks. the other couple did walk to Wigan Peir so we were now on our own.
We didn't go far after the locks before we found a mooring for the night.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Wigan Top Lock.

Nicholson's Guide said we would find the Crawford Arms at bridge 63,open all day serving inexpensive food. So last night we moored at Bridge 63 with the intention of having a meal at the Crawford Arms.When we checked it out we found it had been renamed Bridge 63 and was more of a wine bar than a country pub. It was too modern for us,it felt cold and lacked character, so we gave it a miss.
This morning we set off heading for the Wigan Flight of twenty one locks. on the way we stopped at bridge 60 and walked through the woods to Haigh Hall, we had coffee in the old stable block then walked back to the boat by a different route. The weather was once again windy with sun and showers. Continuing our journey we arrived at Wigan top Lock,where after pumping out and topping up with water ,we moored for the night. Tomorrow will be a busy day. Tonight though we will have our meal out at the Kirkless Hall Inn,at the side of the second lock down.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

A rare morning of sun.

Everything looked better this morning the sun was shining,the sky was blue. We had left Blackburn behind. We left the mooring just after nine o clock, traveling through rolling hills and farmland. By ten fifteen we were at the top of Johnson Hill Locks. A flight of seven locks, dropping sixty five foot six inches in the space of three quarters of an hour.
Coming out of the bottom lock at twelve thirty we stopped for coffee. While there I did some running repairs to the front fender which had come loose due to a broken link in the chain.
Just before Chorley we came across an old mill that had been made into a shopping centre,It was called Botany Bay.The lady at the door asked if we were members,we explained that we were just passing on the canal, so she let us in.It was done out on four floors selling everything you could want,if only more of our old buildings were restored like this instead of pulling them down and building modern eye sores.
When we came out it was raining,so we had lunch and waited to see if it would clear up.While waiting I looked in the weed hatch and found rope and plastic bags round the prop shaft, it should run better now they have been removed.Showers seem to be quite frequent so we have decided to stay here tonight.