Monday, 28 April 2008
Posted by Martin at 20:56
Day 27 stuck in Middlewich
We had plans today to set off early and head for the Llangollen canal. On waking at 08.00 it was pouring with rain and therefore a lay in was required. It had brightened by 10.00 so off we went towards Middlewich for shopping. We then set off after lunch and were immediately advised by a boater walking back from the locks that a lock gate in the second lock had been damaged by a hire boat and that the BW team had been summoned. They arrived very quickly (infact 6 vehicles in all),they needed cutting and welding equipment as the boat had managed to bend a piece of 1/4 inch steel plate on the gate. It was all sorted by 18.30 ( thank you BW)by which time we had already decided to stay put for the night as I had an excellent 3G signal. Its now an early start tomorrow for the Llangollen canal rain permitting.
Total to Day 27 (28 April) we are about 5 days difference to my original rough plan which is not bad considering the weather and all our distractions.
Cappuccinos still 5 ,lift bridges 6, locks 98 and miles 202 (we only managed 1 lock and 5 miles today)
Our memorable events have now increased to 6 - the two new ones being;-
our down and up trip on the Anderton Boat Lift yesterday with Jeff and Sylvia. What a fantastic piece of engineering. The Victorians sure knew how to make bold statements with big bits of kit
and the damaged lock gate today which enabled all the stranded boaters to get together to watch and natter( in fact it was a bit like the balcony of the sailing club when everybody had a better way of doing it!!!! great fun)
Posted by Martin at 20:23
Billinge Green Flashes
Saturday, 26 April 2008
Posted by Martin at 18:50
Day 25 Anderton boat lift
We are moored about 50 yards from this magnificent piece of Victorian engineering which we are planning on going down and up tomorrow probably in the rain if the forecast is correct.
Totals to day 25 are;-
Cappuccinos to date now 5 - last one being at MoCoCo in Middlewich which is a coffee shop run by the local Community Church!
Memorable events 4
Lift bridges 6, locks 97 and miles 187
The weather is getting better as at least the rain is warmer and we are only lighting the fire in the evening!
On the way to Anderton we passed through Marbury Country Park which had masses of bluebells starting to come out which really brightened the day as it was a bit cloudy.
I have just waved at a boat called Dick Turpin
Posted by Martin at 18:23
Day 23 now south of Middlewich
Thursday, 24 April 2008
Cappuccinos to date now 4 ( latest at Lock 57 brasserie at Hassall Green)
Today 12 locks and 3 miles - we have now completed the 26 locks of Heartbreak Hill since we left Stoke on Trent.
Total to date- 6 lift bridges, 88 locks and 178 miles.
We have decided to add one more heading which is "Memorable Events" which to date are 4- they are;-
1. Due to high winds and a very shallow area on the Caldon it took 20 minutes to get through bridge 29.
2. Hitting the submerged rock near the Boat Inn on the Caldon.
3. Moored overnight near Engine Lock on the Caldon we had a chair and our rotary washing line nicked from the cratch whilst we were on the boat. There were some lads fishing nearby who we think became opportunists - the washing line was in a black bag that looked like fishing equipment- we need to be more proactive in how we store things around the boat.
4.Going down lock 58 on the T&M the boat hung in the chamber and listed to one side by about 30degrees not very nice , luckily I had only opened one gate paddle so could quickly close it to level the boat out again. Most of the items came off the shelves but only one thing broken.
The Trent & Mersey north of Stoke on Trent is very lovely as we drop down onto the Cheshire Plain but the red water ( ironstone) does take some getting used to as you reappear from the darkness of Harecastle tunnel.
We moored up the other night at Red Bull near Harding Wood where Reginald Mitchell was born -the father of the Spitfire.
We are now heading for one of the wonders of the waterways the Anderton Boat Lift designed by Edward Williams and opened in 1875 originally hydraulically powered by steam but then converted to electrical power in the early 1900's and closed in 1980 but recently completely refurbished and now working.
Posted by Martin at 21:22
Pictures of last few days
Posted by Martin at 21:01
Hit a rock!!!!!
Monday, 21 April 2008
The Caldon is very shallow and we ran aground many times -what we didn't expect was a hidden rock. We were going along looking at the Boat Inn at Cheddleton ( where we had a lovely Sunday roast) when we read the above sign. I thought very good where is it ------ah we found it!!!!!!! it then took us half an hour to get off the rock with the help of some walkers.A local based boat owner said that the canal over time has moved to the left and exposed the rock which originally formed part of the tow path.
Posted by Martin at 22:03
Posted by Martin at 21:29
Caldon canal Day 20
The above is our mooring for the evening of Thursday 17 April just past the Hazelhurst aqueduct built in 1841 when the Leek arm was built and the route to Froghall was re-aligned. It was also our only sighting of the sun during our visit to the Caldon where we have had high winds and cloud all the time and 6 layers of clothing on most of the time.The weather though has not distracted from the industrial history or scenery of the canal. In the 1850's 200,000 tonnes of limestone was transported by canal which represented 30 boats a day every day.
Posted by Martin at 20:55
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
Posted by Martin at 21:08
Day 15 through Stoke and now on the Caldon
Day 15 - 11miles,10 locks and 2 swing bidges
Total to date 3 cappuccinos, 2 swing bridges, 133 miles and 44 locks
We were up and away by 07.30 with a heavy overnight frost and fog which burnt off fairly quickly but the sun decided to stay hidden. The run through Stoke and to the junction with the Caldon canal at Etruria wasn't too bad although there are a lot of derelict or cleared sites on which old potteries once stood.
We turned onto the Caldon at 11.45 and it took 3 hours to get to our mooring for tonight 6 miles from Etruria near bridge 22. A fellow boater told me about low bridges 8 to 10 but failed to tell me about bridge 18. The whole chimney decided to head butt the bridge but luckily fell back onto the roof - to fight another day!!!!.
Posted by Martin at 20:23
Day 14 - Stone and Wedgwood
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
We are moored near the Wedgwood factory at Barlaston and had a very interesting visit around the works. The bronze above is of the man himself.
Day 14 - 8miles and 9 locks
Total to date 122 miles and 34 locks
Good cappuccinos to date now 3 (last one in Stone) which is a lovely canal friendly town.
Posted by Martin at 17:57
Monday, 14 April 2008
Posted by Martin at 09:51
A day on dry land
This is a view of Shugborough Hall from the T&M as we approached Great Hayward. We are going to visit it this morning as its a NT property shared with the local council so it should be free entry to the house we think.
Posted by Martin at 09:44
Now at Great Hayward
Saturday, 12 April 2008
Posted by Martin at 16:11
Friday, 11 April 2008
After the top hat had dived into the canal, around the next bend were four old aircraft hangers and you could see some old taxiways. I therefore thought I would try and find something on the internet. Although our 3G connection is good for basic stuff it is very slow and sometimes falls over when I try and do searches but I did find something.
Well its near Fradley and its RAF Lichfield which has already had a large Tesco warehouse built on it and there are also plans to build a total of 5000 eco friendly houses on it.
During the war the 51MU Air Transport Auxillary was based their that prepared and delivered aircraft to their Squardons. These included Beaufighters and Mossquitos for the Israel Airforce.
There are rumours that a headless rear gunner haunts the airfield who walked into the propeller of a Lancaster bomber whether it was an accident or suicide we'll never know.
Posted by Martin at 21:04
Although Polesworth was an old coal mining town its history goes back a long time. This is the remains of the 15th century Abbey which leads to the imposing Norman church which can trace its hisyory back toAD827.
Posted by Martin at 19:15
Posted by Martin at 19:04
100 up on Day 10
Today 8 miles and 3 locks
Total to Day 10 - 100 miles and 20 locks
Good cappuccinos to date now 2 (latest one being the cafe at Fradley junction.)
We are now on the Trent & Mersey canal just south of Rugeley near Armitage although we can see the huge cooling towers of Rugeley power station.
The day started sunny but soon the clouds came rolling in, just before Fradley junction at bridge 89 the top hat on the chimney decided to head butt the bridge and then dived into the canal( so far since we have had the boat 3 top hats have gone this way). As we arrived at Fradley to stop for water the clouds opened and I got soaked through. Within 20 minutes the sun was out again!
We lunched in the cafe at the BW depot which is a very typical old wharf. I took some photos but there is a blogger problem so will have to upload them later.
We left Fradley at 13.30 and cruised towards Rugeley, just as we were nearing a lock I was hit by a huge gust and then spent the next 15 minutes getting off the bank and the last 75 yards to the lock landing area. A day of many different things but great.
Posted by Martin at 18:31
Retirement takes its toll
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
Its happening -most bizarre incident or is it my southern accent. We had walked into Atherstone to do some shopping and find a coffee shop. We did it all but no increase in my good cappuccino count. We found the only cafe in town and noticed that they did marmite to go on toast. We order our coffee - 1 mug of cappuccino and 1 cup of black cofee and 2 pieces of toast one with marmalade.
Well one mug and one cup of cappuccino arrived with 2 pieces of toast one with marmite! I am sure I ordered black coffee and marmalade- Anne reckons its how I said it!
Posted by Martin at 21:22
The locks have arrived
Our mooring tonight is by bridge 50 north of Atherstone.
Today 4miles and 11 locks , total to date 80 miles and 15 locks
The photo below shows a larger version of Black Bess's colours! we saw it in Barry Hawkins yard which is located at the old Baddesley colliery wharf.
The photo on the right shows the old toll house at the British Waterways yard at Hartshill north of Nuneaton which we passed through yesterday. It is leased from BW by a banjo playing folk singer who pays a low rent but has to keep the inside of the grade 2 listed building in good order. The boats used to pass underneath the building to be measured for toll fees but has now been bricked in and forms a cellar for the house.
Posted by Martin at 17:34
Still connected on the Ashby
Monday, 7 April 2008
Well when we stopped tonight at bridge 8 Burton Hastings I still had a 3g connection. The photo is our mooring for tonight in bright evening sunshine its now raining.
Travel day 6 - 12 miles no locks, cumulative is 66 miles and 4 locks
Good cappuccinos to date 1
The calm before the storm as once we head for Great Haywood the locks come thick and fast, Anne cann't wait!
Posted by Martin at 20:30
A few more pictures
Canal boating can be dangerous saw this on the Oxford canal the other day
Anne is very proud of her "snow through a porthole" picture
Posted by Martin at 14:26
Coming off the Ashby Canal
The above picture is of Hawkesbury junction or Sutton Stop named after one of the lock keepers which we went through last Friday.Its where the Oxford meets the Coventry canal( the one on the left) The tall chimney is the old pumping house that pumped water into the canal from a deep well.
Posted by Martin at 13:56
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
Our mooring at Hillmorton near Rugby. In the background are the masts of the Rugby Radio Station which in 1926 was used to operate the first telephone link between London and New York and now broadcasts time signals for the Royal Observatory.
Posted by Martin at 15:56
At last we have started - Day One
Posted by Martin at 14:25