Friday, 29 August 2014

Our last trip in Doublefracture.

Thursday the 21st-August we move through Alrewas,After the quite time at Fradley we found our selves fourth in a Que for the lock on to the river section. When we finally got our turn we carried on through Wychnor lock to Barton turns. We called into the Marina for a pump out. Leaving we had the same problem we have always had, the wind kept blowing us back onto the mooring. After several tries we managed to leave the Marina and moor outside for the night. In the evening we took the boys to the pub for a meal. Friday we did the last stretch for the boys down to Shobnel fields where on Saturday morning I took then from Burton on Trent station to Derby and put them on a train to London. In London they would be met by Stephen and taken to Wembley for the callange cup final between Castleford and Leeds. When I got back from Derby Marlene and I left for Willington where we were to meet Nathan who had come in a van to move our belongings off the boat and into a bungalow. After a little over nine years we are going back to live ashore. We returned to the boat on the Tuesday after the Bank Holiday. This would be our last trip, taking us down to Sawley where tomorrow Doublefracture will go on to the sales mooring and Pamela will pick us up and take us to our new life ashore. So,all that is left to say is thank you for following our travels over the last five years. We have enjoyed every minute of it, but we now feel it is time to move on. Bye and thanks again. Mick and Marlene.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Stoke to Fradley

Sorry for the lack of posts but the signal has been shocking since Stoke. Stephen and the boys arrived at Stoke on the 13th-Aug ready to take us down the five locks a drop of 50ft. My neck felt better but I didn't want to risk setting it off again. The morning was good but with the threat of showers. Wile Stephen and the boys did the locks in good time with Marlene on the tiller and me below preparing a Lasagne for our dinner. One more lock at Trentham then moored at Barlston for lunch, just as the first shower hit. Good timing. Four more locks on the Meaford Flight a further drop of 32ft 6ins. Before we knew it we were mooring on the edge of Stone with easy access to the railway station for Stephen to return home the following day. Friday morning we walked Stephen to the station and saw him on to his train, then we took the boat into Stone and moored near the Star Inn, unusually we didn't go in. On the 15th we went down to Great Hayward and moored above the lock, where we could hear music coming from the Shugborough Estate. Sunday morning we prepared everything for dinner and went into the Shugborough Estate. The music the night before had been an outdoor film day with Frozen in the afternoon and Grease in the evening. We had a nice day finding secret doors in the grounds with different themes behind them. In one was Alice in Wonderland tea party set out. The boys seemed to enjoy the servants quarters then we went down to the farm and Mill, then finally the house it's self before returning to the boat for dinner. From Great Hayward we went down Hayward lock at 4ft 2ins then Colwich lock at 6th 6ins, Max and I walked between the locks while Harry took the tiller under Marlene's instruction. We moored at Worsley Bridge and walked over to the garden park before lunch. That night we moored before the aqueduct on the edge of Rugeley. Shopping in Rugeley the next day, then on through Armitage and Handsacre then mooring in open country for the night. Wednesday we went down through Fradley, which seemed very quiet for the time of year. We moored between Fradley and Alrewas. The boys painted the pole and plank for us while I painted part of the roof. I'll leave it there until tomorrow as I have things to do, then I will bring you bang up to date.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Stuck in Stoke on Trent.

We cruised the few mile from Westport lake to Etruria at the top of Stoke on Trent locks and moored. Walked over to the Toby Carvery at Festival Park to see if we needed to book for Sunday dinner. We didn't so we had a Saturday afternoon drink before returning to the boat for lunch, well it would have been rude not to. I woke up on Sunday morning tried to get out of bed and had a severe pain from the top of my head down my neck to my shoulder. I laid back down. Marlene helped me to sit up and fetched me some Paracetamol. The pain continued with the slightest movement or if I coughed. I phoned the NHS 111 service and after a lot of questions they found me a walk in centre about a mile away in Hanley which is part of Stoke. We walked over to the pub and they phoned a taxi for us. The doctor examined my neck, nearly sending me through the ceiling when he touched it. He told me I had pulled a muscle and prescribed pain killers and Diazepam to relax the Muscle. We still went to the carvery for dinner but i was on Lime and Soda because of the tablets. It is better this morning but not quite ready to do the Stoke flight of five locks. We are due to meet Stephen and the boys in Stone tomorrow,but it looks like they will have to come up to Stoke to help with the locks.

Saturday, 9 August 2014


Wednesday we stayed around Church Lawton,relaxing and walking through the woods. The weather was not as bad as forecast,only the odd shower. Away bright and early on Thursday we did the six locks up to the Harecastle Tunnel. Remarkably all the locks were in our favour, then at the tunnel we were allowed straight through after the short talk on safety. We hadn't gone far when I thought I saw something move across the cratch cover,I put it down to a trick of the light and said nothing. Tunnels are strange places,shadows everywhere and water dripping down your neck. Suddenly we had a bright light in front of us as if another boat was coming toward us. As this is a single passage tunnel controlled at both ends we new it couldn't be,then it was back to normal just the light at the end of the tunnel. We were nearly through when both Marlene and I saw something move at the other end of the boat. As we passed out at the far end I asked about the bright light and was told it must have been when the tunnel keeper closed the door of the tunnel,that it reflected my head light back at me. We were moving down toward our Mooring at Westport Lake when we saw the movement on the roof again,it was a mouse. Where it had boarded we don't know but as soonn as we moored we took everything of the roof.we found it in a bag which held out shore line wire. We released it back to the wild no worse for it's trip through the tunnel. We spent yesterday shopping in Tunstall and walking round the lake. Today we move on to the junction with the Caldon Canal at the top of Stoke locks.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

A fantastic piece of engineering.

Leaving Middlewich down the Big Lock,leaving Pamela and Nathans car in the pub car park(by arraignment)for the week. We went only a short distance to bridge 176 where there is a mooring with picnic tables and Barbique stands. It was a lovely day so we moored and relaxed in the sun. Pamela, Nathan and the kids did some canoeing before having our Barbique in the evening. Archie and I pitched the tent and camped out that night. Next morning Pamela jogged with the dog for a while and Nathan took Archie and Amberley as far as Broken Cross in the canoe. We moored at Anderton that night and booked our passage on the lift. At ten fifteen next morning we took our place at the lift mooring ready to decend to the river Weaver. What a fantastic piece of engineering it is, originally done with water driven hydraulics, then changed to cables and counter weights and then in 2002 when it was restored put back to hydraulics but oil this time. The restoration cost seven million pounds,half from the Lottary and half from donations. We were only on the Weaver for about an hour before coming back up the lift but what an experience. Mooring at Marbury Country park Wednesday night. Thursday morning we walked round the country park before returning to the picnic site at bridge 176. Nathan and Archie camped out Thursday night. We. Returned to Middlewich Friday morning in heavy rain, in need of a pump out we had to go up the three narrow locks to Middlewich Narrowboats then back down to moor as close to the pub as we could. In the evening we went to the pub for a meal. Saturday Pamela,Nathen and the kids went home. Marlene and I decided to turn the boat around and go back up the three Middlewich locks. The sun was out,however we mistimed it and found our selves behind a few hire boats starting out from their base at the bottom of the locks. The clouds were gathering as we started up the first lock and by the time we got to the top lock the heavens opened and we had thunder and hail stones. We were absolutely soaked within a few minutes. We topped up our diesel at Kings lock Chandelry before going up Kings Lock and mooring and going to the fish shop for our dinner. By this time the sun was out again. From the top of Kings Lock we moved on to Wheelock on Sunday doing four locks. Yesterday morning we set off to start the climb up Malkins Bank, a climb of seventy nine feet six ins. There were five boats in front of us at the bottom lock,but we finally got our turn to start. Part way up the locks we met Hilary and Nigel, friends of ours from Sawley Marina. They were coming down the flight,it was great to catch up with what had all been doing. We did ten locks in all and moored at the top of Hassall Green locks. Today we have done another ten locks and moored at Church Lawton where,in 2009 we went to the harvest festival,were a bit early this year. The forecast is for rain tomorrow so we will probably stay here another night.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Wigan twenty one and beyond.

Leaving Botany Bay after a nice meal at the Lock and Quey the night before, we headed for Wigan locks. We were not going to do the locks on a Sunday so we moored at Haigh Hall and Country park,about a mile and a half from them. Sunday evening we had a pleasant walk round the country park. Monday morning we approached the top of the locks hoping for another boat to share the work down the Twenty one lock flight. Unfortunately the only boat in sight was two locks down. We set off in pursuit. We were gaining on them and by lock three I had caught their eye so they waited for us. Harry and David were a great help. Harry tied both boats together so Marlene and him went in and out of the locks together and at one point he left Marlene in charge of both boats. Lower down the flight we were helped by two men from the Canal and River Trust. So all in all the three and a half hours were good. On to the Leigh branch where the only two locks before Middlewich took us an hour they leaked that badly.we stopped for lunch next to the lake then carried on to Dover bridge and moored for the night. We try to moor away from other people so if we have to run the engine we don't annoy anybody,but,in lots of cases people come and moor behind us. On the next day to Worsley where I left my hammer on the canal bank. Then it was down through Lymm where all the moorings were full so we had to moor out of town. On to Preston Brook tunnel and the two shorter tunnels that we did on the way up. We moored at Anderton and watched the the lift in operation. By coincidence Stephen phoned and said he had just been reading about the lift and the Stanley Arms, which we were moored opposite. A slow days took us to Middlewich where today we met Pamela,Nathan and the Grandchidren,the are with us till next Saturday. Marlene decorated the boat with balloons and a Happy Birthday banner for Archies Birthday, they have taken Archie to the cinema to see How to Train your Dragon two. Amberley is with us and asleep in her pushchair. Tomorrow we turn round and head back to Anderton to take the boat down the lift on to the river Weaver and back.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Would you believe it.

The seven Barrowford locks went quite well till leaving the last one a fender that was hanging over the side caught in the lock gate and nearly ripped the solar panels off the roof. We carried on through Nelson and Burnley, the over heating was giving us trouble. If we kept at 1400rpm we seemed ok. This continued so we called in at Reedley Marina to see if they could sort it our. They directed us to Knotts Bridge boatyard and ask for Steve. Arriving there around four o clock we had to wait for the engine to cool down so Steve could look at it. He bled the air out of the system and sent us on a test run,unfortunately the problem persisted. It was now eight o clock so we stayed the morning Steve came and discovered a small leak in some pipe joints,so he tightened every thing up and told me to run the engine out of gear to see if that had fixed it. It hadn't,while trying to puzzle it out Steve noticed that the temperature gauge was rising and falling at intervals. It's an electrical fault he declared where is the sender,he found it and found the nut was lose,he tightened it and the problem was solved. Just one small nut causing all that trouble. We thanked him and paid him then left,only we were pointing the wrong way after our test run. While turning at the first wide spot in the canal we picked up a blue plastic sack in the propeller. Into the weed hatch armed with scissors to cut it away. Finally we were on our way again through Hapton and claton-Le-Moors and twisting our way through Church. The plan was to moor before entering Blackburn,however, we could find nowhere suitable. We asked some people in a boat coming out of Blackburn if there was some where to moor up ahead. They told us to moor at the top of the flight of locks. On arrival at the locks(it was now five o clock)there was no mooring. We defended the six locks and headed out of Blackburn. It had been hot and hard work. We finally moored at seven o clock,shattered. Today we have had no problems except the rain. We left at ten and arrived at the seven lock Johnson's Hill flight and found our selves sharing with a small cruiser,he was very nervous going into the locks with us. All went well part from the heavy downpour which soaked us all. We moored outside Botany Bay for lunch and stayed for the night. Botany Bay is a shopping centre in an old mill just off the M61 at Chorley.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Skipton to Barrowford locks.

Hear we are sat having our evening meal the sun shining and the rain bouncing off the canal. Say what you like we get some funny weather in this country. Marlene returned from her Spa day on Monday evening,then Tuesday morning we resumed our trip over the Leeds and Liverpool canal. We made good time from Skipton to Gargrave where we moored and went to the Anchor for our lunch. After lunch we did the last three locks in the Gargrave flight. At the bottom of the next flight of locks at Bank Newton we caught up with another boat which had seen us coming. Traveling up the six locks(a rise of 56 ft 1/2 ins)together made it nice and easy. The boat was called Scrumpy and the people were from the west country. Just before we were ready to moor the engine started to over heat,so we moored where we were. It was lovely out among the hills,a spot where canal twists and turns for a few mile. This morning after checking and topping up the engine coolant we were on our way again,however after a short time we had trouble with the engine getting hot again but only when the revs reached a certain level. We cruised on slower.Meeting a boat at the bottom of Greenberfield locks,we went up together with all locks set in our favour. After stopping at a boat yard for diesel and gas we moored at Salterforth for lunch. Then off to Foulridge Tunnel 1640yards long. The lights were red when we arrived so we moored and waited. On the dot at three o clock the lights went green,we entered the tunnel. It took us twenty minutes to get to the other end, back out into the sun. A mile further on we came to Barrowford Visitor mooring and moored up just above Barrowford locks. As we finished tying ropes and went in for a coffee the heavens opened.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The long climb at Bingley.

Leaving Shipley last Thursday after writing the blog we moored at Saltaire and took a walk up Shipley Glen. Later in the day we carried on toward Bingley and the Three and Five Rise Locks. We moored about a mile from the locks Thursday night, ready to start the locks Friday morning. We left our mooring at 9-10hrs Friday and found ourselves fourth in line at the bottom of the Three Rise. Boats were coming down so every body had to wait. At last the first two boats entered the bottom lock to start the climb leaving us still waiting. Finally on the move we went up the three with the assistance of the lock keeper and on to the bottom of the five. To cut a long story short it ws after lunch before we started up the five and two o clock by the time we arrived at the top. Mooring at the top we decided to stay for the weekend. Monday we left Bingley behind heading to Skipton for Wednesday. In the event we arrived in Skipton on Tuesday after two days Cruising through some of the best countryside Yorkshire has to offer. We moored between the two swing bridges at the far side of Skipton in lovely sunshine. Yesterday we did the tourist bit looking round town then going into Skipton Castle,it was a nice day finished off in the evening with a drink in two of Skiptons hostelries,a fine end to the day. This morning Marlene left by train to visit Pamela for her birthday and on Sunday they are going for a spa day. Me, I will get on with some jobs that need doing till Marlene gets back on Monday evening.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

More maintenance please.

We left Leeds at 08-50,the weed on the stretch above Office Lock was quite bad. At the double Oddy locks we arrived as another boat was leaving the top lock,he said they would wait for us at Kirkstall lock. At the next lock which was Spring Garden lock they had gone up the lock then emptied it ready for us,surely it would have been better to wait for us to go up with them and saved a lock full of water. They were waiting at Kirkstall lock as they said and we went up together. The next two sets of three locks each(a rise of 50ft 5ins)had lock keepers to help us. On the fist set the lock keeper had to leave us to rescue some ducklings who had got stuck in the overflow channel. He told me if he didn't get them out the crows would get them. He also told us that there were no moorings left in Skipton because people had been leaving there boats moored ready for the Tour de France and nobody were moving them on. It's fair to say he was not a fan of Le Tour. The Leeds and Liverpool has more than it's fair share of swing bridges. At Moss swing bridge we could not open it try as we may. A licence checker who was passing phoned it in, so we had lunch while we waited. After lunch the couple on the other boat had been told the knack of opening it,this involved a scaffolding pole being inserted in the strategic spot and pressure applied. We moored at Rodley for the night while they continued on. Yesterday we carried on to Apperley Bridge where at the millman swing bridge a man passing on the towpath operated the bridge( which was electric)for us. Up the two lock staircase was no problem,though hard work. Our next set of locks, a three lock staircase I expected to be manned,however,the lock keeper had been replaced by a notice explaining how to do it. Just down the canal and low and behold Buck Hill swing Bridge would not open even with the help of a passing lady. It finally opened when we got more help from a man who was passing. I feel that the Trust should maintain these bridges a little more. We moored at Shipley for last night. This morning it was 8.45 before we surfaced. The last two days had been hard work.

Monday, 30 June 2014

On our way again.

In the last fortnight we have been traveling back and forth from Castleford to Stanley Ferry. We had intended to fill up with diesel in Castleford,however,the Marina hadn't got any so it was back to Stanley Ferry for our diesel. Of course when we got there they didn't have any either. We finally got some last Friday. Having filled the tank we left for Woodlesford lock where we spent the weekend. On Saturday we visited my mother for the last time,and went out with Jennifer and Malcolm(my sister and her husband)for a meal before leaving for the Leeds and Liverpool. This morning we slipped our mooring at 9-30 heading for Leeds. All went well until we were approaching the first lock on the Leeds and Liverpool.we were following another boat which we had done the last lock with, when passing a pontoon where they were working on the bank we ran aground. The boat in front carried on unaware while we tried in vain to refloat our selves. In the end the work men came out in an inflatable boat with an outboard motor and pulled us back into deeper water. On arrival at number one lock we explained to the other people what had happened. We are now moored for the night in the basin between locks one and two. Life is never boring on the cut.

Monday, 16 June 2014

First Cuckoo.

Not a lot has happened since my last blog. We are still moored in Castleford so we can keep visiting my mother. On Sunday the eigth we went for a meal with Jennifer,Malcolm and Mali(Jennifer and Malcolms daughter)at the Boat inn in Allerton Bywater. We have also planted our bedding plants while we have time on our hands. On the tenth we took an evening walk over to Fairburn Ings to do a spot of bird watching. We saw several different species of birds and ducks including Goldfinches,a Jay, a heron,Shelduck,Swans and Cormerants. As we were walking back we heard our first Cuckoo of the year, unfortunately we didn't see it. Last Friday we hired a car and drove down to Pamela and Nathans for the weekend. The fine weather gave us the chance of a barbecue on Friday evening, another first for this year. We arrived back this morning ready to hand the car back before midday. It was a good weekend with the grandchildren. Tomorrow we will walk up the river to see my mum again.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Perfect Cruising weather.

It was twenty past nine when we crossed the Stanley Ferry Acquaduct. The sun was shining and it was warm. As we cruised between the tree lined banks of the canal a Swallow skimmed the water catching the midges that flew just above the surface. In the trees a blackbird called. Even with the noise of the engine I could still hear the chatter of small birds. A glance to my left and there's a Heron stood perfectly still,looking as if it could be a plastic model. From around the corner comes Birkwood bridge and just beyond our first lock. Then a flash of colour in the trees, a Jay, always a lovely sight. We drop down the lock and now we are in open country,cows and horses in the fields. It's not far to Kings Road lock. Altofts on the ridge on the right, in the distance a Buzzerd makes lazy circles high in the sky. Geese graze in the fields, Canada Geese to the right, what look like Pink Footed Geese on the left. Marlene comes up to take the boat into the lock,she has been doing some washing. After Kings Road lock we are brought back to the real world as we pass under the M62. Woods now on our right,fields to the left. On a rise in the fields a flash of red,Poppys. It seems appropriate with the 70th anniversary of D-Day. One end of Fairies Hill moorings is to our right as we approach Woodnock Lock. As we get close the owner of the wide berth boat that is moored at the water point opens the lock gates for us. We thank him as we pass into the lock then chat as we drop down on to the River Calder,this is a drop of thirteen foot six inches. It's calm on the river as we pass the lower enterance to Fairies hill. The large mooring for the Gravel barges is on our right, sadly the gravel now goes out by road. As we carry on another Heron stands in the water. Then just round the bend two herons fly up,we don't often see two together, they circle over the boat like two teradactels. We are now getting close to our destination,going under the Methley road bridge I recall when it was built and a bailey bridge was put across while it was under construction, I was young then,where has the time gone. Finally we arrive at the junction with the River Aire and Castleford lock,closed dispite the river being low. I operate the lock while talking to a former lock keeper,who had worked this area for forty odd years. This then is where we will moor for ten to fourteen days. It has taken us two and a half hours to come down and it's days like this that make it worth while.hope you enjoyed the trip as much as we did.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Return to Stanley Ferry.

Monday morning we walked up the river to mothers, staying till just after lunch. On our return to the boat we cast off and set off for Stanley Ferry. The flood lock was closed but the light was on Amber meaning we could proceed with caution. Entering the lock with another boat I was on the electric controls. It is a very large lock and even though the difference between the canal and the river was only about two feet it took a long time to equalise.the trip up the river section was calm and peaceful. The next lock was with us so I opened the gates and Marlene brought the boat in with grandson Duncan. We passed through the remaining locks quite quickly and arrived back at Stanley Ferry just before the rain came. Tuesday we went into Wakefield to get Marlenes phone sorted out as it would not receive texts,it kept saying the memory was full although I had deleted all the past texts and the history. The young lady at the three shop soon put it right. Wednesday morning Pamela came with Archie and Amberley so we could take them and Duncan into the soft play at the pub. They had a great three hours playing. When they left they took Lucy back with them. Gill came with Luke on Thursday morning to collect Duncan and stayed to have lunch with us. Stephen came back to the boat after staying at his Nans while Duncan was here. On Friday I finally decided that we needed new leisure batteries as we were having to run the engine for four hours to try and keep the charged and the electric was still failing. I walked to the Marina office and asked if the could get me some and was told they should be here on Saturday and they would phone me when they arrived. Friday night Marlene and i went to the pub while Stephen watched the football on the television.We took the bus to mothers on Saturday morning and just be fore lunch the call came to say my batteries were ready for collection. By three thirty they were fitted and working. Stephen went into Wakefield with his mates in the evening while we had a quiet evening in. Jennifer and Malcolm came to see us on Sunday after their week in Filey. It was a warm afternoon so we sat out in the sun. Monday morning I cleared the cratch and cleaned and painted the floor with a good two coats of Hammerite paint. In the evening Stephen left for home. Yesterday we took the bus to the National Mining Museum at Overton. We arrived for lunch before taking the underground tour at one o clock. Twenty of us including our guide got into the cage to decened to the pit bottom and may I say it was a tight fit. Our guide was from Barnsley and was great with the four children in the group. The tour was very informative and confirmed by belief that I would not have wanted to work for the Coal Board. We were underground for one and a half hours before coming back to the surface and the bright sunlight. Unfortunately we had very little time to look round the rest of the site as the buses are few and far between. Today the rain has kept us in except for a walk to the shop for my lottery ticket. This morning we did a five hundred piece jig saw. The rain has just started again, let's hope the river stays down as we have to move again this weekend.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Castleford Cut.

On the Saturday after our arrival at Stanley Ferry our eldest son Stephen came to stay. Then on the Sunday we had a small family gathering in the Stanley Ferry pub, eleven of us in all. Unfortunately our other son Richard and his wife Gill couldn't be with us. On the Monday morning we moved from Stanley Ferry. Crossing over the acquaduct and into the country to the first of four locks. There was another boat at the lock,which after the small locks on the Calder and Hebble looked enormous. These locks wer build for the large barges bringing oil up from Hull. We passed through the lock with the other boat and left first as the man from the other boat was operating the electric lock mechanism. It was a sunny morning with the birds singing, ducks with their ducklings swimming on the canal and a lone Heron flying over head. At the next lock it was my turn to operate the lock. We were in luck as the lock was full so I had only to open the top gates and wait for Marlene to enter the lock followed by the other boat. After shutting the top gates I removed my key from the control box and walked to the other end of the lock and using the second control box opened the paddles to let the water out. Then when the water levels were even opened the bottom gates to let the boats out. After closing the gates I ran down to the bridge below the lock where Marlene picked me up. At the third lock we had to wait for two boats coming up before we could drop down onto the river that would take us down to the flood lock at Castleford. Through the flood lock into Castleford Cut we watered up before mooring on the visitor moorings. We visited Marlenes sisters in Featherstone on Tuesday and mother again on Wednesday. It was raining Thursday morning but it cleared around lunch so I decided to do the oil change I should have done before we left Sawley. All went well until I knocked the oil filler cap into the bottom of the engine. You would think it would be easy to find in such a small place, no,at one point I went to the local Marina to buy a new one but they didn't have one. To cut a long story short I finally managed to dislodge it from where it was hidden. But it had taken all afternoon. On Friday Pamela brought Lucy to stay with us for a few days while they went to visit Nathans brother. On Saturday Richard And Gill brought Duncan to stay. After a walk round the nature reserve we put him to bed at 8-30 and he was asleep by 8-45 and slept till 8 o clock this morning. The flood lock is closed today due to all the rain we have had, so our planned move back to Stanley ferry on Monday may not happen. Watch this space.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

On the move again.

The river had dropped on Tuesday morning so we dropped down the two Brighouse locks,then through the first flood lock back on to the canal. This was to be the theme for the day,canal to river and back again. We made good progress even though the locks were the silly paddle ratchets on some of the locks and they were still short so we had to go in on the diagonal. By lunch time we had done eleven locks and five flood locks. After lunch we set off again did two more locks then moored at Horbury Bridge a three o clock. It had been warm and sunny all morning,then just as I secured the last rope the heavens opened and we had heavy rain and thunder. Wednesday morning was once again bright and sunny. After three locks and two flood locks we arrived in Wakefield. We were joined here by another boat for the last two locks. This was only the second time since Manchester that we had shared a lock with anybody. We moored on the Visitor moorings at Stanley Ferry after topping up the water,then had lunch. Later we walked over to the road to check bus times into Castleford for today. To our surprise and his we saw our Nephew Greame on his way home from work. On our way back to the boat we called in the pub for a pint in the evening sun. Later in the evening my sister Jennifer and husband Malcolm arrived to see us,so we went back to the pub for another pint or two. This morning we took the bus into Castleford then out to Allerton Bywater to have lunch with Mother.

Monday, 12 May 2014


It was raining again Sunday morning but we set off any way. Fully kitted out in over trousers,large coat,hat (to stop the rain getting on my glasses)and wellies. At the first lock we caught up with a boat with a young couple who had only just got their boat. We had to go through separately because of the length of the boats. At the second lock they were trying to decide how to use the paddle ratchets. I showed them the mooring pin method and told them about the wooden handle you could buy. It was then they said they had one but didn't know what it was. Having done five locks we arrived in Brighouse,the young couple carried on. With all the rain the river section below the Brighouse locks was high and running fast,so this morning I phoned the Canal Trust to see if the flood lock lower down was open. I was told no it was closed until the river fell. Not sure how the young couple got on or whether they are moored near the flood lock. The Canal Trust said they would phone us when we can go. For now we are spending another day in Brighouse,maybe more. Who knows.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Done it

We were back on the move in just over an hour. The man from the Canal Trust had refilled the pound In quick time. Eight locks later we hit the summit.just one lock down we moored at the lock36 Visitor mooring. After all the problems the scenery at the top was breath taking. Coming down the Yorkshire side Was just as hard work but the country side made it feel better. Moorings and services were still in short supply until we got to Todmordon. The lock in Todmordon has a guillotine gate at the bottom,you still have to open paddles manually but the raising of the gate is electric. Where ever we moored for the night there seemed to be a ledge that tipped us on an angle. We arrived in Hebdan Bridge on Wednesday and had some Yorkshire fish and chips. Marlene book a hair appointment for Thursday at ten. After her appointment we left with the intension of doing the remaining locks before the Tuel lane lock, where you have to book passage through on a Thursday but it is fully manned on Friday to Monday so no booking needed, so the plan was to moor close on Thursday night and go through first thing Friday. Two locks from the end we shared a lock with a boat that had booked passage through at four PM so decided to see if we could share the lock with them. It was nearer five by the time the crew arrived to put us through. Tuel lane is a strange lock, the pound below it has to be kept drained when not in use or it floods the adjoining pub cellar. Add to this the depth of nineteen feet which then opens on to a 114yd tunnel. Coming out of the tunnel you have the final two locks into Sowerby Bridge and the end of the Rochdale Canal,thank goodness. We had finally done all three crossings across the Pennines. We moored and stayed Thursday and Friday night. Friday night we went out for a meal at the pub next to Sowerby Marina called The Moorings to calibrate Marlenes birthday. This morning we went into the Marina and topped up the diesel then set off toward Brighouse on the Calder and Hebble navigation. The locks on this stretch are not very long, they say you can do them in a sixty foot narrowboat but I find this hard to believe. It seems a squeeze in a fifty seven foot. They also have some strange paddles which require a wooden handle or in my case a mooring pin to raise them. After five locks we moored at Elland Basin, It keeps raining and after the last lock where the boat nearly got flooded with the water pouring over the top gate and the lack of room to open the bottom gates.we called it a day.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Problems, problems,problems.

Where do I start. We left Castlefields in Manchester at eight o clock. The first lock took a long time to fill which wasn't a good start. It was eleven when we reached the top of the ninth lock and stopped for a cup of tea. At this point we talked about taking the Ashton canal but in the end we set off up the Rochdale canal. This was the start of a day of problems. Locks with only one paddle working,four times we stopped in the day to remove rubbish that had wrapped round the propeller, including rope,plastic bags and a jacket. We finally stopped just short of lock sixty four,at eight thirty in the evening. We had completed twenty eight locks including the nine out of Manchester. We couldn't tie up because there was nothing to tie to and nowhere to bang spikes in,so we just sat there all night. Saturday feeling we had done the hard part and were now coming to the scenic section we set of at seven o clock to push for the summit. To start all went well the sun was out the view was nice. We then got to Rochdale and the canal was full of litter again. Past Rochdale it was good again until we got something round the propeller again. This time it was a paddling pool. It took forever to get it off. By three thirty we had had enough for the day so we moored for the night having done seventeen locks. Leaving ten locks for Sunday. We were optimistic when we set off this morning,however after three locks we discovered that the pound two locks up was drained. I rang the emergency number and we are now waiting for a team to come out to sort out the problem. Happy Sunday.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Wild garlic and Bluebells.

A quick blog while I've got 3G on the I-pad. Tuesday morning we locked down Wardle lock,off Middlewich Arm of the Shropshire Union and on to the Trent and Mersey. The plan was to water up at the bottom of the lock. We came out of the bridge and reversed to the tap, only to find our connection was too big to fit the tap. This must be the only tap on the system that size or we've been lucky to dodge the rest. Carrying on down the next three locks we found a tap with the correct fitting. After half an hour topping up the water we moored at Middlewich 48hr moorings so we could walk into town. As I was tying the front rope a voice at my shoulder said"you've not been writing your blog,this took me back as I've done two since we set off which I explained to the crew of NB Serena. Unfortunately they were having trouble getting on line and had missed them. We had a good chat before going to town. It's always nice to talk to some of our readers. Back from town we left Middlewich by way of the Big lock heading for Anderton and passing the boatyard at Northwich where we bought Doublefracture then new and unnamed. It was a nice slow cruise in the sun to Anderton the home of the lift that drops boats down to the river weaver. It is truly a magnificent sight. It is also a great piece of engineering. On Wednesday we slipped our moorings early and headed for the Barnton tunnel(572yds long)the first of three tunnels we were to go through today. The second was the Saltersford Tunnel(424yds)this you can only enter between the hour and twenty past when heading north, as it is only one boat wide. Leaving Saltersford we were in a wooded cutting and the banks were covered with wild garlic and bluebells and the air was filled with the smell of garlic. The third and longest was the Preston Brook Tunnel(1239yds)this also is only wide enough for one boat. We had to wait till the hour(11 o clock)for the ten minute window for us to enter the tunnel. It took twenty minutes to reach the other end and I was glad to be back in the open air. I'm not good on tunnels these days. Our mooring Wednesday night was at Lymm a lovely little town. After dinner we decided to have an evening out, so had a few pints in the Bulls Head next to the bridge over the canal. This morning we left through open countryside before arriving in Sale and the start of our run into Manchester. Turning right at Waters Meeting(the left turn takes you to Wigan)we saw Old Trafford football ground before mooring in Castlefield in the centre of Manchester. Tomorrow we go up nine locks to the start of the Rochdale canal.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Flat battery.

Since my last blog this is the first good signal we have had. I am beginning to think I need a better network. After doing the blog I decided to start the engine to boost the batteries and heat the water and to my amazement the starter battery was flat. Giving it some thought I tried swapping it with one of the leisure batteries. It worked we were back to normal,however I still don't know what caused it to go flat. We had a night out at the Cross Keys in Penkridge on Saturday night and left early Sunday morning. Cruising till lunch time, which included seven locks we moored at Moat House Bridge,still on the Staffs and Worchester canal. Monday saw us turn onto the Shropshire Union Canal at around ten forty. Once again we cruised till lunch and moored just before Wheaton Aston. Only one stop lock today,nice and quiet. The following day we carried on calling at Norbury Junction to top up the diesel where it was cheap.that night we moored at Anchor bridge(42),however we didn't go in the pub and I'm not sure it was actually open. Nine mile and a flight of five lock(all set for us)brought us to Market Drayton,where we moored. After lunch we walked into town(the long way)and looked round the Wednesday Market. Thursday was our hard day seventeen lock and very few set for us, we finally moored outside the Shroppie Fly, leaving the last three locks of the Audlem flight for the next day. Having walked into the village for some supplies we had a well earned pint. Next morning we competed the three locks and went on to the two at Hack Green before mooring about three mile from Nantwich.we couldn't arrive in Nantwich until Saturday morning as we were staying till Monday to let Pamela come and collect Lucy(the dog). Arriving in Nantwich early in the morning we were lucky to get the last mooring opposite the Marina,it would have been better to have arrived later when some boats had moved on. Pamela,Nathan,Archie and Amberley arrived for lunch and we had a lovely day before seeing them off at six o clock. We decided to move on for three quarters of an hour it was such a nice evening,so we moored near Hurlston Junction,this is where you turn on to the Llangollon canal. This morning we went up to Barbridge Junction and turned right heading for Middlewich. We moored just before arriving in Middlewich to have lunch and are staying the night here. Tomorrow we will lock down at Wardle lock and turn left, which will take us toward northwich where we bought the boat. A note for our friends Vivianne and David,this morning we saw Fresh Fruits at Hurlston Junction- that will mean nothing to the rest of our readers.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

On our way

The plan was to set off last Saturday arriving at Willington for the evening mooring, having done all the large locks in one day. On Friday we collected our prescriptions and found that Marlene had to see the doctor for a review. With the plan in tatters we settled with Spending the weekend in Shardlow where we had a night out at the Clock Warehouse. On Monday morning Marlene phoned the doctors for an appointment that morning,only to be told it would be four o clock. We finally started out at five o clock completing Aston and Weston locks before mooring for the night. Two locks and one and a half mile,a slow start.Tuesday morning we were off early, thanks to Pamela's dog Lucy,who got us up at seven. Lucy is staying with us while Pamela is on holiday in France. Clearing Willington before lunch we moored up to dry some washing. Later we carried on to Shobnal fields where we moored for the night. Wednesday was a simple run up to Fradley where we spent the night. In the evening we had a pleasant walk round the nature reserve. Four locks on Thursday and a steady cruise to Rugeley where we did some shopping. Later we carried on and moored in the open just before Taft Bridge(69). From Rugeley to the mooring I walked with Lucy, doing a bit of this, this trip. Another early start on Friday found us at Great Hayward for nine thirty. Once again Lucy and I had walked the three mile. Turning left at the junction on to the Staffs and Worcester Canal(we had been on the Trent and Mersey) we headed for Penkridge where we plan to spend the weekend. Arriving mid afternoon we met our old friends Jennifer and Graham on Best of Friends. This morning we walked into town and had a look round the Market. A quiet day tomorrow then on to Autherley Junction and on to the Shropshire Union.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Getting Ready

Here we are,coming up to the end of February. In another month we will be thinking of leaving the winter mooring and starting our summer cruising. Before that there are a few jobs I need to do. The main one is to service the engine(not a job I like but it must be done)the biggest problem is reaching the oil filter. The engine space is not very large. In the last few days I have been sanding and painting the inside of the rear doors. Next on the list will be to clean,sand and paint any bits of the boat showing signs of rust. After the preparations are done we are taking a weeks holiday in Filey on the Yorkshire coast, with all the cruising we have done it seems a long time since we had a seaside holiday. That's all for now but keep watching and get ready for the long hot summer,hopefully.