Monday, 31 August 2015

Secret bunker


IMG_4275Here we go again and its polish and wax time. I did the port side about a month ago with MER polish and then a coat of MER wax. I must say that after spending nearly £30 I am very disappointed with the results. It has only been a few weeks and already the shine is going and the Oxidation in the paintwork is returning. So for the starboard side I am using an all in one polish and wax which I have used before.

IMG_4283We pulled pins at 07.50 and set off towards Nantwich and soon passed this sign.Well its NOT secret anymore !!!!!!!!!!!  (The Hack Green Cold War & Radar Museum) .

IMG_4234What are you looking at !!

IMG_4296Moored at Nantwich and this boat pulled up behind us . Its the first Narrowboat we ever hired and started dream about retiring and living on a boat .

IMG_4298After a day at Nantwich and Carolyn having a good bit of retail therapy we had another early start at 07.15 and got straight onto the services . The plan now is to head towards Chester and spend a couple of days there ,but you never know what may happen on the way .

IMG_4312Not long now and they will soon be flying off to the sun for the Winter, sounds like a good idea .

IMG_4301“Oh look” said Carolyn . Its Hurleston locks which lead you up onto The Llangollen canal, which just happens to be one of our favourite canals.

IMG_4306The good thing about being retired and not having any commitments is that you can change your mind . So after lifting the fenders so that we didn't get stuck in the narrow bottom lock we head up and onto The Llangollen Canal.

IMG_4316Approaching Wrenbury and we come to our first lift bridge of many on the Llangollen. With Carolyn's ankle now a lot better she is wielding her windlass again

IMG_4321This is the lift bridge where the road crosses the canal in Wrenbury and this one is electric with flashing lights to stop the traffic.

IMG_4327Opposite our mooring for the night after a 6 hour cruise and its harvest time for a good looking crop of Potatoes. We will have a night here and then in the morning have another early start and get up Grindley Brook Locks which can be a bit of a bottleneck where sometimes you have to queue for several hours as there are 3 locks before you get to a staircase of another 3 locks..

                                                                                                   Happy Days

Friday, 28 August 2015

On the move


Its been a few days since I have posted a blog mainly because we haven't done a lot and have taken it easy while resting Carolyn's ankle. We would both like to say a big thank you for all the kind comments and good wishes sent by so many people. Carolyn can now walk with out much pain but is still a bit swollen and bruised so she is taking it easy for a day or two .

So after a few days of rest we are off again …and yes I am on lock wheeling duty while Carolyn bashes up steers Inca.

IMG_4246These Damsons are not ready quite ready for picking yet , but when they are Carolyn will soon turn them into a delicious jam. Looking around at all the fruit in the hedgerows it could be a bumper crop this year.

IMG_4248We are now off down the Audlem flight of 15 locks and soon pass this barrel roofed building by lock 10 which was originally the workshops for the maintenance team in this area.

IMG_4238It makes a change to have all of the balance beams painted grey instead of black.

IMG_4251Stood on some foam while steering Carolyn shouts at me to hurry up between locks as I don't seem to be as quick as she is.

IMG_4252Makes a change from Tarka  !!

IMG_4260After completing the Audlem flight in just over 3 hours we picked up a mooring about a mile along the cut. These have to be some of the best moorings we have ever encountered . Provided by The Shropshire Union Canal Society every mooring has a bench and a metal stand for a Barbecue. As with most of the moorings on this canal they are for 48 hours, so we will stay here until our time is up and enjoy the beautiful Cheshire countryside


                                                                                                      Happy Days

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Lock Accident


IMG_4207With number one Granddaughter Curly back in Devon we pulled pins from Market Drayton and headed North on The Shropshire union canal. As you pass through there is a pill box next to bridge  62. They were called pill boxes because they resembled the small boxes that pills were sold in many years ago.

IMG_4218What a proud looking chap standing guard on the bow of this Narrowboat.

IMG_4228A few miles out of Market Drayton and we reach the 5 locks at Adderley with Carolyn on lock wheeling duty as usual…

IMG_4229All was going well until we got to lock 4. Carolyn had opened one of the two bottom gates for me to leave the lock after it had emptied and then walked back behind me to cross over the top gate to open the other bottom gate. I looked behind to see her lying on the ground, so being a blogger and having my camera next to me I took a picture. What I didn't realise at the time was in fact she was unconscious. She had stepped off the lock gate and twisted her ankle, the pain was so great that she passed out. After climbing out of the lock I put her into the recovery position and within a minute or two she came around but was in a lot pain and could not stand on her foot .It was mid morning and usually there would be lots of people around on the flight of locks, but just our luck and there was nobody around to help us ,so I filled the lock back up so Inca was level with her and somehow got her back on board.

We then dropped down onto the moorings below the locks and had a hot drink and dosed Carolyn up with paracetamol and Ibuprofen. She now has a swollen and very black ankle but is otherwise OK. We will have to spend a day or two here before moving on again and it looks like I will be on lock wheeling duty for some time to come.

It just shows how easily accidents can happen around locks and it was a good job she never fell back into the lock or lock pound. It also highlights why the steerer should always keep a watchful eye on their crew members at all times when locking.

                                                                                                      Happy (sore) Days

Friday, 21 August 2015

Lock training


IMG_4125After pulling pins from Shebdon Wharf at 07.45 we soon arrived at the old Cadbury wharf which is also known as Knighton Wharf on the Shropshire Union Canal. The wharf was used by Cadbury's from 1911 to 1961. Chocolate "crumb" was produced in the adjoining factory, using local milk, and was taken by narrow boat to Bourneville in Birmingham. The factory is still here and is now run by Premier foods , one of the products they still produce here is Birds Custard.  My favourite….

IMG_4138Traveling along this stretch of The Shropie and there is always a good view of The Wrekin, a hill Rising to a height of 1,335 feet (407 metres) above the Shropshire Plain, it is a prominent and well-known landmark.

IMG_4145That sounds like a good idea. Spend Spend Spend !!!!

IMG_4156This has to be one of my favourite parts of this canal .Woodseaves Cutting is about 2.7km long and up to about 21.3m deep. It has steep sides, almost vertical in places. In the deepest part of the cutting, the waterway narrows to about half its normal width for a distance of 1.6km which Carolyn successfully steered through without any mishaps.

The cutting is crossed by four bridges. Two of these are of the type normally encountered on canals but the other two, High Bridge and Hollings Bridge, are unusual. They are constructed using relatively small-span semi-circular arches situated at the top of very high vertical abutment walls. In the case of Hollings Bridge, the top of the bridge is 12.2m above water level. High Bridge is even higher

IMG_4164Waiting for the locks at Tyrley Wharf

IMG_4165A small bit of History

IMG_4170Under the watchful eye of Carolyn its time for Curly to start learning how to lift paddles. She has been asking if she can do it for a while and its amazing how strong she is for her age. Dropping them is not as simple , so we will leave that until she is a bit older.

IMG_4181After completing the 5 locks and passing this fishing tree we picked up a mooring at Market Drayton. Unfortunately its Curly’s last day with us and with Chloe coming to pick her up in the morning from Devon we needed a handy mooring to load her 10 bags of clothes and toys into the car. Every time she comes I tell her to travel light ,but you know what girls are like.

                                                                                             Happy Days

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Enchanted Tunnel


IMG_4036After puling pins at 07.30 from our mooring near Brewood we soon arrived at the balustraded Avenue Bridge 10 on The Shropshire union canal.The road which it carries leads to Chillington Hall.

IMG_4043Passing the moorings at Brewood and Curly took a likening to this mini Narrowboat.

IMG_4065How about this for a great deal at Wheaton Aston .This is the cheapest we have ever paid for Diesel at only 55.9 pence per litre. Needless to say we filled the tank up to the brim …..Just the ticket

IMG_4080He seems happy enough with his beer and fag.

IMG_4093You can not do a post on the Shropie without putting up a picture of this bridge with the old telegraph post in the middle of it.

IMG_4085Going through Cowley tunnel which at 81 yards is not that long ,but Curly thought is was the most enchanted tunnel she had ever seen.

IMG_4106Back in the winter we had a single zip in our cratch cover fail, so we took it to the upholsters in Braunston to get it replaced. It ended up costing us £80 so we were a bit annoyed that a further two zips have since failed .We saw this sign and shouted to the guy working in his boat/workshop at Shebdon Wharf , he said he would replace both while we waited for £25 a zip. It took him just over one and a half hours and the zips are double stitched and dead straight. Well worth a visit if you are in the area and need any work doing…. Another great result for the day.

IMG_4107It was then a day off from cruising and with a good mooring opposite Shebdon Wharf we spent half the day polishing and waxing the Port side of Inca and then in the afternoon we did a full service on our Beta 43 engine. After a hard day we rewarded ourselves with a BBQ, a bit of fishing, and a good old chill out….

                                                                                                 Happy Days

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


IMG_3958We puled pins from Bogg lock and soon got to the very busy lock at Gailey. We were going to fill with water but the queue was so long and the water points were on the side for boats descending the lock so it made it a bit awkward.

IMG_3968I'm not sure what sort of chemicals they deal with, but we have no intention of stopping anywhere around here.

IMG_3979We passed this boat called TYCHO which has a serious lump of metal attached to its bow. Its obviously not for ice breaking as its so high out of the water. The only thing I can think of is that its for pushing something.

IMG_3987Cheeky.. Wonder why they point her at the canal?

IMG_3981Here we go again yet another fishing match and yet again another bunch of bloody miseries. As always Carolyn says hello to everyone of them just to make them speak. Its amazing how they wont even have eye contact with us . As always I slow to tick over and stay in the middle of the canal,but still they seem to hate us boaters. It doesn't take much effort to say Hello…..

IMG_3984Then this happened, the idiot angler didn't lift his pole high enough and his hook got caught in our centre rope as we passed. After jamming Inca into reverse and stopping Carolyn went along the side and untangled his line. If it had been me I would have took a knife and cut his line. Mind you he did mutter sorry as we were pulling away from him,so at least that's something.

IMG_3989After a few days on the Staff and Worcs canal we reach Autherley junction and turn into The Shropshire Union Canal.

IMG_4004As soon as you make the turn onto the Shropie you come across this lock. It would be advisable to drop a crew member off before turning into the junction like we didn't. The lock drops you down the great height of 6 inches .
After filling with water and getting rid of rubbish we had an Ice cream and then headed up the Shropie to a mooring for the night just before Brewood (Pronounced Brood).
                                                                                                      Happy Days

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Prop clamping ???



                                                                       We recently passed this sign at Penkridge  ………Could be interesting  !!!!

                                                                                                         Happy Days

Monday, 17 August 2015

Lock jumping


IMG_3899After a night at Radford bank we pulled pins at 08.10 . The reeds are starting to take over in certain places on this canal and its only the constant movement of boats that keep the navigation open.

IMG_3916Another good boat name.

IMG_3851With contractors cutting the grass there seems to be more in the canal than there is on the towpath.

IMG_3940With me on lock wheeling duty Carolyn expertly steers Inca into the lock.

IMG_3920The art of lock jumping. Carolyn still can not bring herself to jump across the gates on a single canal. Its only a few feet to jump across ,but because it can be more than 12 feet up in the air it sort of puts people off doing it. I have even measured it out and Carolyn can easily jump it on level ground, but its just not having the confidence to jump between the gates…Maybe one day !

IMG_3926Arriving at Penkridge and it can be so hard sometimes to pass a good looking watering hole. After using the services above the lock we moored up and then Carolyn and Curly went to Penkridge market which according to the expert shoppers is very good and well worth a visit.

IMG_3935After the Girls had their shopping fix we left Penkridge and headed to a mooring we have used before which is above Boggs lock at Gailey. After a night here we will have a 4 or 5 hour cruise and then hopefully get onto The Shropshire Union Canal.

                                                                                                   Happy Days