Into Tattenhall Marina

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The weather has continued to be bad with the occasional bit of good- but not a lot so we decided to go into Tattenhall Marina last Sunday. We have to go home for Anne's nephews wedding - Mark (Janet's eldest son) this Friday. The marina is in a lovely setting on the Shropshire Union Canal as it makes its way across the Cheshire Plain towards Chester.
I had made arrangements to hire a car from Enterprise on Wednesday so yesterday we decided to go into Chester by bus - although very wet it was still a very good day which included a walk around the city wall.
There will be a short break whilst we go down south- the journey will continue next week. Totals to day 32 are 108 locks and 205 miles
A view from BB moored in Tattenhall Marina- Beeston Castle on the left

This lovely Thames style launch is moored next to us in the marina

Some willow work on the side of the canal

A close up of the outcrop of rock on which Beeston Castle is built

A view of the Shroppie which follows the wall into Chester. The narrowboat has just come up the Northgate staircase locks. It shows the Bridge of Sighs near the North Gate entrance to the city

A view of the Northgate staircase locks

Telford's warehouse at Tower Wharf now a restaurant. Northgate locks are through the bridge on the right

A view of the old Shropshire Union Canal's steam powered saw mill which is on the site of Taylors Boatyard.

Covered dry dock. The whole site of Taylors Boatyard is Grade 2 listed and the current owner is in the process of restoring it. It will be a very long project but well worth the effort as it will really enhance the area and provide a real link to its industrial past. The bridge on the left leads to Northgate Locks and the lock on the right goes down to the River Dee although the branch is currently closed.

Beeston Castle on the Shropshire Union Canal

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Day 28 and we have now done 107 locks and 195 miles and we are moored just above Wharton Lock on the Shropshire Union canal going towards Chester. Outside our port hole is the impressive Beeston Castle which stands on a 500ft sandstone hill 
As they say the weather over the last few days has been a game of two halves- Thursday and Friday  has been a mixture of cold, wind, rain, sleet ,heavy rain, hailstones and really really strong winds. Today Saturday has been the ideal Bank Holiday boating weather- warm and sunny. In fact yesterday was so bad we only managed 2 miles and 2 locks before we moored above Cholmondeston Lock after being helped through by the Shropshire Union Canal Society who were fund raising for their work in keeping their moorings in good condition. Anne rang her cousin Helen and husband Mervyn who came over and took us out for the afternoon which was very good of them thank you
View from Beeston Castle towards the Welsh Hills

View from bridge108 by Wharton's Lock, our mooring is in the distance on the right.

Beeston Castle from the canal

Tilstone lock which is in a lovely setting. The round building is where the lengthsmen used to keep their equipment

A replica Bridgewater "Little Packet" steam tug (built 1998 but not steam powered)

Bunbury staircase lock( 2 locks joined together in that they share the middle gate) with the lock keeper on duty getting the boater going up to dance around the two smaller boats coming down. It does speed things up but you do need to have somebody around to organise it.

Barbridge Junction, we have just come under the bridge from Middlewich and are now going up the Shroppie towards Chester

The locks on the Middlewich Branch are deep this is Minshull Lock at 11ft deep

Middlewich Junction - The Shroppie's Middlewich Branch leaves the T&M under the bridge on the left

This was our mooring last Thursday evening -in strong wind, just past Wheelock on the T&M

Going down lock 58 on the T&M ready to go under the M6. The lock has it in for us as last time we went through it in 2008 we hung in it -that's when the boat gets stuck. We had to close the paddles and make sure the boat was free before continuing to empty the lock. This time a bolt holding the gate in place was sticking out and tore a hole in the cratch cover! 

This picture should be with the Middlewich junction one- you enter The Wardle Canal under the bridge before going into the first lock on the Middlewich Branch. It was one of those things between two rival canal companys to ensure they clearly knew who owned what

Lack of water in Heartbreak Hill Locks

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

We set off early this morning to tackle the locks and made good progress to start with despite the cloudy/misty weather. We arrived at lock 47 to find one boater waiting with the news that the pound below lock 48 was completely empty. A call to CRT and the water man arrived very quickly. The committee of boaters now collecting  thought that the cause could have been a boater who went through late last night who probably left a paddle or lock gate open. A hour and a half later we were allowed to start going through with a fifteen minute delay between each boat to allow further water to be run down the flight, otherwise we would have emptied the pound above lock 47
The empty pound below lock 48 which used to be double but the one on the right although still there is not now used. and the exit is all silted up.

The next lock down No 49 which is a working duplicated pair of single locks
One and a half hours later there is enough water for the 8 waiting boats to start going down
Anne has just brought BB into lock No51 which has had the other lock filled in, lock No 50 behind is a working pair of locks. All the locks were duplicated under instructions from Thomas Telford in the 1830's although some have now been singled
Houses in Rode Heath look over the canal by lock No 53

Red Bull Services - back on the Trent&Mersey Canal

Monday, 20 May 2013

We had a prompt start and cast off at 08.15 and cruised through to Congleton with very few other boats about, another cloudy day, not cold and no rain so that must be a bonus this year. A quick stop for shopping and a cappuccino in town and then away to finish our visit on the Macclesfield Canal which has been excellent. I was thinking as we came down the last section that you can compare canals to our modern roads. In which case the Macc is like a lovely Devon country lane and the Trent & Mersey could be your A303 fast and furious ( a lot of boats rushing around on the 4 Counties Ring) but some really interesting places coming up. The Grand Union Main Line would then have to be the M1 - its been around for years, very wide and very busy.
We this time turned left as we came to Hardings Wood Junction onto the Trent & Mersey Canal heading north, dropped down two locks and then went under Pool Lock Aqueduct which we had gone across 45 minutes before.
We are now moored at Red Bull Services just past bridge 134 where there are visitor moorings near the old warehouse which is a Regional Office for CRT.
Its day 23 of our trip and we have done 69 locks and 168 miles. Tomorrow we start on Heartbreak Hill (the old boaters name) although we are going down hill onto the Cheshire plains to Middlewich - we have 13 miles and 31 locks to do. As it's downhill Anne will do some of the helming so that I can have a go at locking-it should be fun! 
Last time we passed Crossley Hall I was not quick enough to get a photo-only of the blue cow near the canal! 
We have just come through the bridge on the left (Hardings Wood Junction) and are now waiting for the lock on the T&M to fill

Red Bull Services and offices in the old warehouse next to bridge 134

Pool  Lock Aqueduct - the T&M passing under the Macc

One of the lovely stone mileposts used on the Macc

Ah bluebells spring must be here!

"Macclesfield on Canal" and now below Bosley locks Day 22

Sunday, 19 May 2013

We left Bugsworth Basin last Friday on another chilly day and started our return to the Macclesfield canal which is lovely with some magnificent scenery, although mooring can be a pain and its a bit shallow in parts-all part of the fun of boating. Saturday again dawned chilly so we decided to have another go at mooring in Macclesfield so we could explore the town and get a coffee. We did manage to moor between bridges 39 and 40 which is only a short downhill walk into town from bridge 37. Its worth persevering as the town is well worth the effort.
Macclesfield town pedestrian street

Side street

walking up from the station

View from bridge 37 towards the Hovis Mill, there are 2/3 visitor moorings on the left but it is shallow

Our mooring between bridges 39/40 on Armco which is deep enough to get the boat in

As we left Macclesfield these lambs were having a great time running and jumping along together

Going back to my post on Bugsworth Basin I didn't say why it had been built. The basin dates from the late 18th century and is the only remaining example of a canal/tramway interchange in the UK. It was the largest inland port on the narrow canal system. The Peak Forest Tramway ( a tramway usually used only horsepower) linked Bugsworth Basin to the limestone and grit stone quarries in Derbyshire from where material was transported to the growing industrial area around Manchester. It fell into disuse in the 1920's.

There was a great diorama of the area around the basin- this is part 1- I couldn't get my software to join them together.

Part 2 of the diarama

Bugsworth lower basin the entrance under the footbridge is in the distance

A view from the footbridge of the lower basin

Our mooring tonight below Bosley Locks looking towards The Cloud which rises to over 1000ft

Looking back to our mooring at Bosley tonight the railings are on the Dane Aqueduct

Anne at the helm and coming out of lock 8 of the Bosley flight in lovely warm sunshine- I was down to a t shirt and we managed our first BBQ this evening.

Although the aqueduct doesn't look much from the towpath, walk down the foot path and its something else

Interesting spillway, which has its own walkway as the water flows right over the towpath.

Bugsworth Basin - what a great place Day 20

Friday, 17 May 2013

We have had a great few days even though I got completely soaked on Wednesday as we made our way to Marple Junction where we turned right onto the Upper Peak Forest Canal into Whaley Bridge for Tesco and then round into Bugsworth Basin. Even on a wet and cold day it is something else as you approach the bridges leading to the basins, which are surrounded by the hills of the Peak District. It is amazing that all this Industrial Archaeology (it enjoys Ancient Monument Status) has survived and that you can clearly get an impression of how busy this site would have been.The leaflet produced by The Inland Waterways Protection Society and available at the service building is very informative and well worth a donation to their funds.
Our friends Jeff and Sylvia joined us again on Thursday to enjoy the atmosphere of the place and as we cruised around the various basins - Jeff and I pretended we had gone back 150 years to its heyday. The other icing on the cake during our visit on Thursday was the sighting of the RAF Lancaster flying around as it performed its flypast over Derwent Water-its such an iconic aircraft-unfortunately no camera to hand we just enjoyed the sight and sound of the Merlins. We then had lunch in The Navigation Inn which was very good. Its a 2 1/2 hour journey from Marple Junction
along the 518ft contour into the Derbyshire Hills and is well worth the effort and should not be missed.
I still cannot get the pictures to load in the correct order- my apologies as todays are first-sorryyyyy
The view from the side hatch today just past bridge 25 near Bollington

There are some very impressive mills- this is Goyt Mill on the Macclesfield Canal

The Sweet Factory- remember swizzles and Love Hearts-the smell was excellent

This gave me an idea to change the name of BB to 7mmNG but Anne said a very quick definite NO

A view from the Upper Peak Forest Canal of the hills and one of the many railway viaducts
The entry into Bugsworth Basin- the one straight ahead is quieter as the A6 runs on the right hand side of the site

A view of the left hand basin from the foot bridge we are 3rd boat on the right

Going back in time as we cruise round the other basins

Returning from the lower basin

narrowboat gnomes on a boat moored in the basin

An Elizabethan deer tower near Hawk Green on the Macclesfield Canal

A view of the Macclesfield Canal Company's warehouse just before the junction with The Upper Peak Forest Canal

Looking at Marple Junction- the Macclesfield comes in under the bridge on the left and the Marple locks are straight ahead.

This is Oldknow's ware house which is above lock 9 of the Marple flight-now offices

Marple lock 9 beams are nearly on the pavement

As Marple locks descend from the junction they are in a lovely setting with a line of terrace houses following them down 

The Upper Peak Forest Canal entry into Whaley Bridge is a bit disappointing but the transfer warehouse with the Cromford & High Peak Railway is most impressive

A boat that obviously somebody loves