Monday 30 June 2014

A couple of easy days…..

Yesterday we stayed put at Coole Pilate and after breakfast started on the front cratch – it desperately needed rubbing down and staining.  While I took Ozzy for a walk, Rog took off the windows and started rubbing down the frame.  When Ozzy and I returned, I started on the windows.  Rog got the frame and the outside of the windows stained, and just about dry when it started to rain!  He put it back together quickly and then did the inside of the windows from the well deck in the dry.  I must say it looks 100% better.  We will probably give it another coat at some point on the trip.


A job well done, I think.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing.  At one point we were all on our own on this lovely mooring.  Even later on there were only about 5 boats here.


One plus point to not mowing too often is that it allows the wild flowers to grow.  There was a huge clump of daisies just up the towpath.


This morning we made the very short hop up to Audlem, all of 2 miles.  However, we haven’t had a completely idle day.  We’ve been shopping, done some washing, hoovered up half the countryside which had accumulated in the boat, had lunch at the Shroppie Fly, and browsed around Audlem Mill Craft Shop.  Of course I couldn’t come out without buying something – I’ve got a cross stitch kit of Audlem to add to my collection.  Also, they were hugely kind and exchanged a kit that I bought here three years ago but had never opened because I decided I didn’t like it.  We then came back to the boat and had tea and cake, and Rog is just about to go and fill us up with water as we are moored but a hose-length away from the water point.


Moored 2 locks up the Audlem flight – we’ll do the other 13 tomorrow


Audlem Wharf, the Shroppie Fly and the Audlem Mill Craft Shop.  This is one of our favourite places on the system.

2.1 miles and 2 locks

Saturday 28 June 2014

Back on the Shroppie proper…..

Yesterday we stayed put, sitting out the promised rain.  However, there were a lot of boats that didn’t, mostly hire boats heading back towards Middlewich to be back for today.  Cholmondeston Lock became a real bottleneck, with boats waiting on the lock landing and several hovering at the back of the queue.  It was a highly entertaining spectacle, not least because we weren’t  part of it!  It kept us amused for quite a while, watching them all manoeuvring, trying to keep out of each other’s way, trying to get out of the way of boats exiting the lock, and trying not to hit the boats moored each side.

DSCF0091 It was busy most of the day.  We went down to the Cafe at Venetian Marina at lunch time to have an All Day breakfast, and were very disappointed to find that they no longer did one!  So we had something else instead, with me promising Rog that I’d cook him one for tea!  We had a lazy afternoon, and set off this morning.

Still cloudy and damp, the weather wasn’t showing much improvement from yesterday.  Half an hour from setting off we were at Barbidge Junction, and we turned onto the Shroppie proper.


Not long afterwards were passed the Hurleston, the junction with the Llangollen canal


Hurleston Junction – not this trip!

Another half an hour or so saw us at Nantwich Basin, where we filled and emptied as necessary.  Several boats passed us going the other way, all desperately looking for somewhere to moor.  Nantwich was rammed – but then it nearly always is!  There are a lot of permanent moorings, and some good long stretches of visitor moorings, both before and after the aqueduct, but they were all full.  Eventually, the boat in front of us found a space.  We were glad we weren’t planning on stopping there.


Shortly afterwards we saw this sad sight – yet another sunken boat.  This is the 4th we’ve seen on this trip – it looks like it’s been there some time.


It had now turned into a typical mizzley Shroppie day – I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve cruised the Shroppie in this sort of weather.


We came up the two locks at Hack Green, queuing for a little while, but not for long, and then continued to our planned mooring at Coole Pilate.  The weather has improved a little now, but it’s still dull.  This is one of our favourite mooring spots so we plan to stay here tomorrow.  Hopefully the weather will be a little better as we would like to get the cratch frame rubbed down and stained.


Our mooring for today and tomorrow, complete with picnic bench and barbecue stand.  The Shropshire Union Canal Society do a wonderful job along here, providing excellent moorings, although the grass is longer than usual, but apparently that is C & RT’s responsibility these days.  A lady I was chatting to at one of the Hack Green locks (they moor near here at Overwater Marina) told me that someone had to call C & RT not so long ago to report that the grass was waist high.  At picnic sites (which this is) they are supposed to cut it 8 times a year.  It’s not too bad now, but could really do with cutting again very soon.

8.6 miles and 2 locks

Thursday 26 June 2014

A short day…..

A dull, cloudy day today – absolutely nothing to report.  We made the short hop to just above Cholmondeston lock, just past Venetian Marina, where we will probably stay until Saturday.


7.5 miles and 2 locks

Wednesday 25 June 2014

The devil rides out…..

Something strange happened in the early hours of the morning – Rog heard running feet on the towpath, first one way, and then the other.  Then the sound of galloping hooves!  Thinking that His Satanic Majesty had finally caught up with us, he buried his head under the pillow, and had only fitful sleep for the rest of the night.  Me?  I heard nothing due to my earplugs!  This morning the mystery was solved – there was cow muck all over the towpath!  I suspect that one of the cows in a neighbouring field had got loose and was being chased back.  It’s strange what the imagination (well, Rog’s anyway) will come up with in the wee small hours.

We set off from Wheelock about 8.30, with just 5 locks to do before Middlewich, and the junction with the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union.  It was at the second lock of the day when I was yet again amazed at some people’s lack of common sense. Picture this scenario:   I was at the lock waiting for it to fill, Rog was on the boat ‘hovering’ mid canal when a woman came walking along the towpath from the previous lock (which was well out of sight), windlass in hand.  She gestured and shouted to Rog, asking if we were going up or down!  Duh!!!  If only she had actually looked at the scene in front of her, she would have known exactly what we were doing – we were going in the direction that the ‘pointy end’ was facing!  She then turned around and went back to the previous lock.  If she was superfluous crew, sent on to prepare the next lock, why didn’t she continue on and, even if she didn’t feel inclined to help, be on hand to fill the lock again as soon as we had exited?  Unbelievable – some people just don’t have the sense they were born with!


Ozzy, waiting patiently in the galley to be allowed up onto the stern again after the lock.  We put him inside when we do locks because he’s a right pain when one of us is off the boat – if he stays on he’s just trying to jump off all the time, and if he’s off he just whines and barks when I go to the other side of the lock.  Yet he’s far too bouncy to let loose around locks, and with only one eye his depth perception is rubbish so I just know he’d fall in!  Safer inside the boat.  Maybe when he’s a little older he’ll calm down enough to be trustworthy around locks.

We encountered the British Salt Mountain coming into the outskirts of Middlewich


An even larger mountain inside the ‘shed’ – you can just see the bottom of it. And further on outside, another.


Shortly afterwards we descended Kings Lock and turned of the T & M and onto the SUC (Middlewich Branch)

We moored up so Rog could go into the town and get our prescriptions made up as there isn’t another chemist for a while and we were almost out.


We moved on again as soon as he returned, and are now moored near Clive Green, just past bridge 26.  This is another spot we’ve moored in before.


Again, it’s much more overgrown than in previous years.

7 locks and 6 miles

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Heartbreak Hill done…..

This morning we have finished Heartbreak Hill – another 14 locks.  They didn’t seem any where near as difficult as yesterday’s, being as it is a cloudy and cool day today.  So nothing else to report.  We are now moored a little to the west of Wheelock, just past bridge 157, in almost exactly the same spot, give or take half a boat’s length, as we moored 3 years and one month ago!




Monday 16th May 2011

Not much has changed, just the trees and bushes are much larger, and the addition of gravel to towpath.  The most obvious change is the distinct lack of mowing on C & RT’s part which is something we have noticed everywhere this year. 

4.8 miles and 14 locks

Monday 23 June 2014

Back on the T & M

Just a quick catch up – we left Bugsworth Basin on Friday morning, stopping at Tesco for a top-up of provisions.  We continued back down the Peak Forest and the Macc, mooring in the same spots as before, in company with Monica on John on nb Holly.  We have now said our goodbyes as they have turned south again on the T & M and we have turned north.  We enjoyed our time on the Macc and Peak Forest very much, made better by meeting such lovely people.  They don’t live far from us so we shall be seeing them again soon.  Just a few photos of our trip back.


Both dogs very interested in what’s going on ahead


Exiting Macclesfield, the high retaining wall in a sight to behold


Very leaky locks at Bosley – I got to drive the boat for most of the locks as I had my weak and feeble head on and was struggling with the bottom gate paddles


Another pic of Mow Cop


We didn’t have a very fast journey from Lyme View to Watery Lane Aquaduct yesterday – we got stuck behind 2 boats (both private boats) who had yet to find any speed higher than tickover.  We think the bloke driving the first of the two boats may have been pissed had one too many, as he was all over the place and came to a complete standstill every time a boat came towards him.  This is the ensuing chaos when 5 boats were trying to fit into a very small space!


Nb Holly appearing from behind – they had also had a slow journey, and stopped to help when a dog fell into the water at Bosley locks, followed shortly by it’s owner who was trying to rescue it.  I’m glad to say that neither the dog or owner was any worse for their dunking.


This looked very tranquil in ‘real life’.  Two bridges and a weeping willow – unfortunately my camera didn’t capture it very well.


Lovely garden with plants tumbling down to the water, and some actually growing from the bridge stonework.


Turning onto the T & M – straight into the first lock of Heartbreak Hill.  No more photos today as I was working too hard!  We are now moored at Rode Heath, 12 of the locks done.  We felt we deserved a reward as it was hard work in blazing sunshine, so we went to the pub!  Takeaway Chinese tonight.

Yesterday – 7.5 miles and 12 locks

Today -  8 miles and 13 locks

Thursday 19 June 2014

Another day, another mill, another canal…..

Yesterday we left our overnight mooring opposite Lyme View marina and set out for the first objective of our cruise, Bugsworth Basin.


Goyt Mill at Marpleridge


About to turn right onto the Peak Forest Canal at Marple


The top of the Marple flight – not this trip!




Stunning views


The Swizzles-Matlows factory at New Mills– maker of Love Hearts and sherbet – you can smell the sherbet before you get there!



Cottages and houses with views to die for


Moored now in Bugsworth Basin.  Nb Holly arrived several hours after us, and have moored just around the corner in a little hideaway, all alone.  We took our chairs around and had wine and beer (what else?) and let the two best mates play.


11.3 miles and 0 locks (but 2 swing bridges and 2 lift bridges)

Today we have had a lazy, relaxed day (well I have anyway!)  After taking Ozzy for a walk, I sat out with my book and supervised while Rog touched up the blacking and scrubbed the cratch cover.  We went and had lunch at the Navigation Inn at the head of the basin, then came back and sat in the sun again.  We ‘entertained’ John and Monica to afternoon tea, before they went back to their boat to prepare to be collected this evening by a relative (cousin I think) who lives in Whaley Bridge and had invited them for supper.

Bugsworth Basin


Lower basin – where we are moored so we can get a satellite picture for tonight’s match


Middle basin


Middle basin arm (where nb Holly is moored now)


Upper basin

Tomorrow morning we will leave and stop at the end of the basin to do a quick shop at Tesco, and start our return journey to the Macc and the T & M, probably mooring in the same spots as on the way up – so I probably won’t do any more blogs until we are on fresh waters again, unless anything worth reporting happens.  So ta-ra for now, back in about a week or so.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Trouble at 't’mill?…..

We really are beginning to feel the influence of being ‘oop north’ now.  We stopped in Macclesfield this morning, opposite the old Hovis Mill to replenish a few supplies.


on some very skanky so-called ‘visitor moorings’ – Macclesfield certainly doesn’t make it’s water-borne visitors very welcome.  A short piece of concrete, not even 50ft long and the rest is a broken stone edge covered with weeds.  I suppose that the provision of a few mooring rings makes them feel they’ve done enough.  Nb Holly, who had left a few minutes after us passed while we were mooring up.


No sooner was Macclesfield behind us, when we arrived in Bollington – as usual all the moorings were taken up with ‘crusties’.  It seems that everywhere there is a bit of Armco, there is a crusty moored on it!  However, Bollington was a little more picturesque.


Adelphi Mill




Clarence Mill

We continued on, starting to look for a mooring, but being unsuccessful.  We met Beacon Boat nb Willow Two just after Clarence Mill, but unfortunately we couldn’t get in to the bank to stop and have a chat, and as we had another boat coming fast up our jacksy we couldn’t hover in mid channel, so we had a fleeting ‘Hello, how are you?’ and went on our respective ways.


We caught John and Monica up at Lyme View Marina, while they were filling with diesel, so we followed suit and are now both moored opposite the marina for the rest of the day.  Ozzy was so pleased as he got to play with Ollie again.

10.8 miles and 0 locks