No long cruise but visits to Monmouthshire and Shrewsbury Canals

Monday, 11 July 2016

Sorry for the long gap between posts but we have not been able to go on a long cruises this year as I have been waiting for consultants and follow up hospital appointments which also involved changes to medication which complicated it all. During a routine visit to the doctors they found that I had Atrial Fibrillation. I have just had a 2nd cardioversion procedure which has reset  my heart rate and hopefully this one will be successful. The cardiology unit staff at our local hospital have been fantastic. Will take it easy in July and August enjoying the summer!!!!! and with luck we will be able to cruise BB in September. We have been on a few visits by car to some canals -pictures below- and have had  a few days out on BB when we knew dates had been arranged.

We had a road trip to Wales which included some watery sites. If you have not been to the Ironbridge Gorge Museum it is well worth the effort but to fully appreciate it you do need 2 days.


The famous Iron bridge over the River Severn-1779- you can see where the graceful lines of the iron bridges on the Oxford Canal came from
The terminus of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in the centre of Brecon

Looking towards the terminus at Brecon

The Ironbridge site is huge but for those interested in canals the area around Coalport is fascinating as the Shropshire Union Canal makes an appearance.  It is linked via the Shrewsbury & Newport Canal that left the Shroppie at Norbury Junction. The canal and tramways connected the site of the Blist Hill Blast Furnaces around Coalport and was connected by the Hay Inclined Plane with a vertical change of 213ft.


Looking down the Hay Inclined Plane in which tub boats were winched up  from Coalport Wharf by the River Severn-last used in the 1890's

The end of the Shroppie by the old blast furnaces in Coalport.
Not in Wales this time but a short distance from our marina at Calcutt  is the Willow Wren  new training site where they are restoring the old entrance to the Nelson Cement Works.

Repairs to BB and a quick trip into Braunston

Friday, 28 August 2015


A delayed post to cover our trip up to BB the week before last. We needed to do two things-one sort out the scrapes and scratches below the gunwale from our spring/summer trip.Secondly reseal the front cratch table board following the six times it had to be lowered for the bridges on the Basingstoke Canal.. She also required a 250 hour service and a change of  the engine anti freeze. 

We eventually got to the boat late Sunday afternoon on the 16 August after spending some time with Simon and Debs erecting new fencing and having Sunday lunch with my nephew Andrew's family in Berkhamsted.

Work started on Monday on the cratch and paintwork in the marina during which time we were buzzed by a couple of microlights which were using a field next to the Grand Union Canal towards Stockton.

On the way back to Calcutt after the service we were moored out near bridge 103 finishing the painting when we received a text from Stan and Sheila on nb Friendship. We last saw them when we took BB into their private marina at Milton Keynes. They are out for 4 weeks heading for the Rivers Severn and Avon and were moored in Braunston. They therefore came to join us for a lovely evening and dinner the next evening at The Blue Lias at Stockton.




The cratch table board fits in a steel A frame and is sealed to the hull behind the gas locker hatch. If this isn't done completely water  gets through and then goes down into the bow and floods the bow thruster locker. We found out about this when BB was 18 months old and the bow thruster stopped working. There was about a foot of water in the bow-luckily it had not reached the motor.

The fold down table is cut from a piece of marine ply and shows Pete Hills great painting skills. We had to take off the perspex to clear out all the flies we collected on the Thames and repaint the black edging

On the Tuesday evening we moved into Braunston ready for Justin  from JG Marine to do the service etc on Wednesday morning. A lovely shot of the Grand Junction Canal's pumping station at the Bottom lock- which is now replaced by electric pumps to move water around the lock flight.

BB moored outside JG Marine

Nb Nuneaton and butty Brighton of The Narrowboat Trust setting off on the coal run

Replica Steam narrowboat Adamant in full flight!

Another picture of the clean line of snb Adamant

Boat name -not sure why its not a blue boat

I assume they are into cats

Moored below Buckby Top lock

Monday, 20 July 2015

Sorry for the lack of posts, I had started but the signal was so bad I gave up in frustration trying to complete the post at Buckby. We are now back home after a fantastic trip and thought I had better finish off the postings for the trip.

This is the entry I started but was unable to finish the other day-

Progress has been good in that we have been knocking off the miles and locks since the last post at Milton Keynes and now only have 10 locks and 9 miles to get us back to Calcutt Marina. To date we have done 265 locks( of which Anne has done the lions share!!!) and 338 miles.

When we saw Stan and Sheila on Wednesday they invited us to take the boat to their house in Pennyland Private Marina for coffee as we left MK on Wednesday-it was like entering a secret world-Stan had to advise fellow members to expect a visiting narrowboat- it was a very quiet sanctuary in the heart of MK. 

When we arrived at the bottom of Stoke Bruerne locks on Thursday we met up with a fellow boater who had an excellent crew with which we flew up the locks as Janet and Ray had decided/felt pity on us and had come along to help. 


Entry into the secret Pennyland Private Marina

Heading towards Stan & Sheila's mooring at the end on the left

Our mooring for Wednesday evening just past Cosgrove at Bridge 62

Our mooring on Friday night was just past Bridge 27 opposite the camp site just before Stowe Hill Wharf
Men in a playground at Milton Keynes

Going through Milton Keynes is a real pleasure,its clean and tidy with some nice old buildings

Modern sculpture at Wolverton


A pair of working boats I assume making their way to the Cosgrove Canal Festival

Entering the bottom lock at Stoke Bruerne with another boat to share the flight - a rare event since starting the journey from Brentford

Looking back at the top lock at Stoke Bruerne from our mooring- its a village with loads of canal atmosphere
A sign near the entrance to Blisworth Tunnel

Anne and Janet enjoying a rest in the sunshine after working the locks

The north portal of Blisworth Tunnel

The old warehouse at Blisworth now flats

Strange place to keep a horse- we then realised it was stuffed!!!!
Another shot of the stuffed horse!


Now moored at Campbell Park Milton Keynes

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Since leaving Cowroast on Sunday we have had shorts weather and  for me full wet gear on a few occasions- but at least this time of year its warm rain! We have also clocked up for us some high distance figures ie Sunday was 23 lock miles (15 locks and 8 miles) - we actually shared 4 locks with another boat-that continues to be the record so far this trip. Monday was 15 lock miles (7 locks and 8 miles) and today was only 9 lock miles (2 locks and 7 miles). We have averaged about 2.5 lock miles per hour on our trips.  Today we met Stan and Sheila who we last saw on the Macclesfield Canal in 2013


Our mooring tonight Campbell Park- we are on the 48 hour ones-the boats on the left can stay for 14 days

Our mooring Sunday night was just before Slapton lock-you can see Ivinghoe Beacon in the distance

I do like the setting of the Marsworth flight of 8 locks- this is looking at the top lock with the dry dock on the right. The Wendover Arm goes off to the left

The lock cottages are very pretty this one is just before lock 39

They were talking about redeveloping the old British Waterways site at Marsworth Junction 4 years ago and its still work in progress. The Aylesbury Arm goes off to the left

A proper water garden

The scenery around Slapton is beautiful especially if it includes a classic American Airstream caravan


As we approached Slapton lock these "wigrams" were for rent

Says it all

Now this is interesting - what's a tiller doing on the bow end!!!!!!

Through Berkhamsted now moored at Cow Rest-Cowroast

Saturday, 4 July 2015

We stopped last night in Berkhamsted after another warm day which was relieved by the arrival of Sue and Graham who had cycled down from Cowroast to meet us as we made our way through the 13 locks from Apsley. This morning was not as warm as we left and went through the remaining 8 locks to reach the Tring Summit above Cowroast. This area in the 1700s had a lot of cattle pens where the drovers coming from the Midlands could rest their cattle on the road to the London market. All that went with the coming of the railways 
Our mooring at Cowroast just past the marina entrance
                                       



The huge office block looks so out of place over shadowing a lovely cricket field in Hemel  Hempstead

This heron refused to move and then we realised that the owners had purchased a plastic one!!!!


A lovely Stewarts & Lloyds tug returning from the Braunston Classic boat show 

I just love the name of this lock- its near a large sewage works

Entering Berkhamsted which had plenty of vacant moorings

We moored opposite this house-just before The Crystal Palace Inn on Friday night which had some nice canal ware

We thought the building was a wet dock but when they opened the shutter there was a gym inside
 
Now you don't often see a group of Uni-cyclists on the tow path