Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Lift bridge turns



You may remember the e-mail I sent Canal and River Trust regarding the effort involved in raising lift bridge No 28 on The Stratford canal . link here  http://nbinca.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/lift-bridge-28.html  .The Trust replied that the bridge used to be 40 hard revolutions of the Windlass but after sending it away to Italy it is now 100 easier revolutions of the Windlass to lift it, which is just as exhausting as the 40 hard revolutions.

While on The Llangollen and with all of it’s lift bridges we have been counting how many revolutions up and down they take,in total we have operated 7 different bridges all of them more than once and believe it or not the average is 40 up and about 35 down . The bridges all seem to be of a similar size to No 28 ,so I think maybe the pump needs another trip back to Italy , although God only knows how much that would cost. Surely there’s a company somewhere in this country that can adjust a simple and very basic hydraulic pump ?.

                                                                                                       Happy Days

Monday, 22 August 2016

Leaving The Llangollen


IMG_7564We are now back from Devon and at Chirck Marina after a near 5 hour journey. Chirck is dominated by the board factory where some of the wood used is brought up from Devon. Smoke seems to bellow out of the chimneys 24/7 . The plant is owned by Kronospan an international company that manufactures and distributes wood-based panels which are used in applications including flooring, furniture and timber-framed houses. it employs over 600 people from around this area.

IMG_7573We pulled ropes from bollards at 09.30 after paying for a our stay in the marina . At £7 a night it’s probably one of the cheapest we have ever stayed in although the price does reflect the fact there is no electricity or water available on the pontoons. Passing Chick bank and it’s always good to see when the local residents put on a good display next to the canal,so many gardens that border the canal are just left to go to waste.

IMG_7576This unusual looking boat pulled up behind us at Marton top lock . It’s a replica an old Bridgewater tug and was built about 20 years ago and has recently been repainted .These craft,were known as Little Packets, were generically Dukers as were all craft working on the Duke's canal.  They were not strictly narrow steamers but varied in beam between 7' 10'' and 8' 9''. Propulsion was by a single cylinder horizontal engine.

IMG_7597After a night at Ellesmere we pulled pins at 06.40 and got straight onto the services,at that time in the morning the water pressure was really good compared to later in the day when it’s very poor. After a fill up we headed back down the Llangollen eventually arriving after a 5 hour cruise at grindley Brook locks. We expected there to be a long line of boats waiting to go down ,but luckily there were only three boats in front of us. After about 20 minutes we entered the top lock in front of a most splendid round-bayed lock keepers house.

IMG_7600Dropping down the locks we had the misfortune to encounter the most miserable and arrogant lock keeper we have ever met. I’m not sure why The Canal and River Trust would put such a person on this busy flight of locks as surely being a Trust it should have people on the front line with some people skills and a bit of respect for their customers,unfortunately this guy had neither.

IMG_7604Glad to be through the locks at Grindley we pushed on through Povey’s Lock, Willey Moor lock,and Quoisley lock, where the ducks brave the fast By-wash to get a bit of weed for their lunch.

IMG_7613Curly has been doing a lot more lock work with Carolyn and is now becoming very competent. In fact she can now operate a lock un-assisted as she did here at Marbury lock. Luckily a lot of the paddles are not that heavy so she copes very well .

After another 4 hours of cruising we eventually moored up near Wrenbury Heath where we were the only boat on the stretch. Needles to say after a long day and working all those locks Curly was soon ready for bed after we had Dinner.

IMG_7622The following morning we pulled pins at 07.30 and with 5 locks in front of us before reaching The Hurleston flight which would take us off The Llangollen canal and then back on to the Shropshire union Canal.

After 2 hours cruising we reached The Hurleston flight and Carolyn couldn’t believe her eyes, The Damson tree which she spotted on our way up was now full of ripe fruit and it seemed like none had been picked. Needless to say she was soon out with a bag and within minutes it was full. as soon as she gets time all those lovely Damson’s will be turned into a most delicious Jam.

IMG_7627Eventually at the bottom and we head out on the Shroppie and turn left . Our next destination will be to turn right at Barbridge and travel along The Middlewich Branch towards The Trent and Mersey canal.

IMG_7633We haven’t filled with diesel for some time now ,so we stopped at Venetian Marina for a top up and a bottle of Gas. We ended up having 140 litres of Diesel at 69ppl and a Gas bottle at £26.50. After a good cruise we had an early stop and picked up this mooring just past Aqueduct marina.

Tomorrow we will drop down in to Middlewich and do a shop ,then head out into the country to a lovely mooring we have used before.

                                                                                                             Happy Days

Saturday, 20 August 2016



IMG_7541After a four and a half hour journey we finally made it back down to Totnes in Devon . Carolyn was more than impressed with our hire car which was a new Rav 4. We had booked a Vauxhall Insignia but Enterprise car hire kindly gave us a free upgrade. We always use Enterprise as they do a pick up and drop off service which saves us a lot of hassle in trying to get to the hire base.

IMG_7534While in Totnes we had a stroll along the River Dart and just behind us is the mooring we had for our boat when we lived here. It was a club mooring where we were members for nearly 18 years.

IMG_7539Looking down the river and over to The Steam Packet which is a very popular Pub in Totnes.

IMG_7542The reason for our visit back to Totnes was to celebrate my Mum and Dads Diamond wedding Anniversary .The picture above was taken 60 years ago when they got married at Bridgetown Church in Totnes.

IMG_7525On the day of their Anniversary Mum and Dad ,Children ,Grandchildren and great granddaughter and all their partners went out for an evening meal at Bickeleigh mill near Newton Abbot. We all had a brilliant time meeting up with each other and enjoying the fine food and drink.

IMG_7552A couple of days later and my bestest Sister in the World ,Sharon and her henpecked husband (cutting wit,not Sarcasim) Philip held a BBQ Party at their house for family and friends to come and celebrate our parents Anniversary. Another great night was had by all and it was so good to catch up with family and friends who we have not seen for many years.

IMG_7557Its not that often that the four of us get together like this , so I just had to do this selfie with number one Daughter Chloe and number one Son Jamie. At least you can now see where they both get their good looks from !.

After a few days back down in Devon it will soon be time to hit the road and head back towards North Wales where we will then leave the Llangollen Canal and start the next leg of our Summer cruise. 

                                                                                                          Happy Days

Friday, 19 August 2016

Leaving the monty


IMG_7470We needed to be at the bottom of the Frankton locks by mid day for our passage back up on to The Llangollen canal. We pulled ropes through rings at 08.55 and then went to the end of the canal to wind (turn) before heading back on to the service point at Maesbury. Being fairly new and with not a lot of use these are some of the best services anywhere on the system.

IMG_7483It’s then a food three hours back up to the bottom lock of the Frankton flight. At the Graham Palmer lock where the Girls take Inca in to the lock.

IMG_7486We arrived at the bottom of Frankton locks at 11.30 and had two boats in front of us waiting to go up . Both the top and bottom locks on this flight are padlocked and can only be used by a Lock Keeper.

IMG_7489When we came down the flight the Lockie wouldn’t let Carolyn operate the paddles ,but he was more than happy for her to help out on our passage back up the flight.

IMG_7512After a night in Ellesmere and a quick stop off at Tesco we pulled pins at 07.40 and after a few hours cruising we passed from England back into Wales when we once again crossed The Chirck aqueduct.

IMG_7519After passing through Chirck Tunnel we carried on for a further mile before entering Chirck Marina where Inca will spend the next three or four days while we hot foot it down to Devon.

                                                                                              Happy Days

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Four leaf Clover


IMG_7430We are having a very peaceful and enjoyable stay at Maesbury on The Montgomery canal . On the grass next to our mooring there is a lot of Clover growing and guess who found a four leaf Clover ? . I thought it would keep Curly happy for an hour or two trying to find one ,but after just 10 minutes she found one. I immediately got her to give me six numbers for the next lottery draw , with all that luck I will soon be a millionaire..

IMG_7435There are some good walks down here at the end of The Monty. This is the final winding hole (turning point) on the navigation . It is possible to go a few hundred yards through the bridge in the distance before reaching the end ,but you would then have to reverse back to here to wind.

IMG_7438It must be hot as Hamish who is not a great fan of water cools off in the local Ford..

IMG_7456This is what Curly has been waiting for as she has never seen a Horse passing our boat. It’s also a first for us as we have never had a Horse drawn boat go past us. I had already dropped our TV aerial to make it easier for them ,but the guy on the boat and the guy on the Towpath had to use forked sticks to lift the tow rope over Inca.

IMG_7466After hour’s of trying Curly was finally rewarded with this fine looking fish, although she is not that happy holding it she gave it a go. She went on to catch a few more and was over the moon with her catch.

After a few brilliant days here on The Monty it’s time for us to move in the morning. We are heading back to Ellesmere to do a shop and then heading back up The Llangollen canal towards Chirck where Inca will spend a few days in the marina.   

PS .. Finding a four leaf Clover is NOT lucky as I didn’t win on the lottery ,so my advice would be don’t waste your time looking for one….Now then where’s my lucky Rabbits foot …  

                                                                                                      Happy Days

Monday, 15 August 2016

Some more Boat names !!


A few more well thought out and sometimes silly boat names , Enjoy ………..
















A good one for me !






Finally one for Curly as that’s all she ever says !

                                                                                                             Happy Days

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Monty


IMG_7407With our passage booked down onto The Montgomery we had a bit of a late start not pulling pins till 09.30 . We then winded at Ellesmere and got onto the services. After a short time it was total chaos as several boats converged on the junction all at the same time. We were talking to an old local man who told us that he come’s down every day at this time for a bit of free entertainment as boats crash into the side and each other.

IMG_7408We arrived at Francton junction at 11.15 where it is controlled by a Lock Keeper and were we third in line to go down. After letting the first two boats down they then let two up ,so we had a bit of a wait for our turn.

IMG_7412Eventually it was our turn to enter the first locks which is a staircase pair . The lockie see’s you down these and then there are a further two locks that take you onto The Monty.


IMG_7426It’s good to see that there’s plenty of maintenance work going on up here on The Monty and on the Llangollen . Then I suppose it is probably one of the bussiest canals in the country.

IMG_7428Nearly at the end of the canal and we pass The Maesbury Smelting and Bone Works, or Artificial Manure Works which is situated in the village of Maesbury Marsh, on the side of the Montgomery Canal, behind the Navigation Inn .Fertilizer and glue were produced needing a good supply of horse and cow hooves and when boiled up, gelatine for glue was extracted while the bones were crushed up for fertiliser  .The site is still in existence, a two storey brick building with a tiled roof and a round chimney. A larger chimney, 46m high and 7.5m in diameter was demolished in 1892 after the business moved to Rednal Canal Wharf, where manufacturing continued until the 1950's. The Canal & River Trust recently commissioned an archaealogical dig around the site of the smelting house and the report is eagerly awaited.  Although its now in a bit of a state I’m sure a developer will soon get hold of it for a conversion into a house or two.

IMG_7434We were then lucky enough to pick up this mooring which is the same one we had when we were down here 2 years ago. It’s just past the visitor centre and Curly is waiting to see the Horse drawn boat which operates along this stretch.

IMG_7446With these guys swimming around us it will soon be time to get out the fishing rod and have a go at catching a few. We will now have a few chill out days down here in the peace and quiet of the countryside .

                                                                                                             Happy Days