Sunday, 12 August 2018

IWA Lock Wind - (Friday 10 - Sunday 12/8/2018) - Hurleston Junction

No miles or locks in our own boat

But plenty of walking and lock working!

We worked the locks from 9-6ish on Friday and Saturday and 9-1 on Sunday.



Overall we helped about 100 boats through the locks and sold most of the stock of cake, jam etc. So a successful weekend!

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Summer trip on Shropshire Union (Thursday 9/8/2018) - Bunbury to Hurleston (via Nantwich)

Engine hours start: 414.9 end: ?? = ?? hour

Miles:7 Locks:0  Lock miles: 7


Carried out the revised plan. Returned to our home mooring in the Nantwich Basin. Emptied the bins and then took the car round to Morrisons to stock up for the weekend.

The weekend event is the Annual Lock Wind organised by our branch (Shrewsbury District and North Wales) of the Inland Waterways Association. We help boaters through the Hurleston lock flight and encourage donations. There is also a stall with cake, chutney, jam, second-hand books etc. for sale.

Needed BBQ food for the evening social plus supplies for the rest of the weekend since there are no shops nearby.

As we passed through Hurleston towards Nantwich, Alan Platt was already there with his boat Coriolan. 

The restocking trip went very smoothly and we arrived back at Hurleston in time to nab a good mooring midway along the rings.

Andrew was applying the third and final coat of gloss when our IWA Branch Secretary came to ask how long we were staying... The new beard was obviously an effective disguise!




We had a little rest in the boat before people gathered for the evening BBQ. A very enjoyable evening with plenty of nice food, drink and good company.

Off to bed ready for the exertions of the weekend.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Summer trip on Shropshire Union (Wednesday 8/8/2018) - Christleton to Bunbury

Engine hours start: 409.3 end: 414.9 = 5.6 hour

Miles:10 Locks:6  Lock miles: 16


Another fairly prompt start at 09:40. Heading for spot between Bunbury and Calveley that we had previously identified as a good spot for painting (which Andrew ended up not using for the main roof job...).

Trouble-free cruise with usual tickover past Golden Nook. Paired up with another boat through the various locks.

Moored up around 15:15 at the target spot. Applied second coat of gloss to handrails.



Walked into Bunbury to the Dysart Arms for a very nice dinner and beer.

After dinner, we started off towards the Coop in the village where we were planning to stock up with food etc for the IWA Lock Wind weekend at Hurleston Junction. However seeing how tricky it was likely to be to negotiate the narrow roads with no footpath with a load of shopping, we changed out plans. New plan is to return to our moorings at Nantwich Basin. There we can empty the rubbish and use the car for a supermarket trip before returning to Hurleston.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Summer trip on Shropshire Union (Tuesday 7/8/2018) - Stoak (Bridges 138-139) to Christleton

Engine hours start: 403.3 end: 409.3 = 6 hours

Miles:8 Locks:7  Lock miles: 15


Having been on pins above bridge 138, we notice that there is Armco below it - useful to note as the Bunbury Arms in Stoak is well worth a return visit.

Lots of gongoozlers at the Tower flight in Chester!


Masking visible on the starboard handrails


Moored in Chester at 12:30 for a quick hour of charity shops. Attempted scientific comparison of Greggs and Pound Bakery fell apart when exactly comparable products proved to be unavailable: but Pound Bakery is cheaper, it is noted.



By now the hot start to the day has faded with clouds and a cool breeze. Lifted slightly on reaching our top mooring at the Cheshire Cat for the first coat of red gloss: but by sunset the breeze was cooling again. We have become far too used to mid 20s Celsius!

Omelette and salad for supper, early night.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Summer trip on Shropshire Union (Monday 6/8/2018) - Stoak (Bridges 138-139)

Engine hours start: 402.3 end: 403.3 = 1 hour

Miles:0 Locks:0  Lock miles: 0


Ran engine for 1 hour to charge batteries.

Alison drafted in to clean off the Fertan. Then team work to apply the masking. A fair breeze up the canal so two pairs of hands definitely beneficial to avoid newspaper taking flight. Applied undercoat to handrails. Just 3 coats of gloss to go...

Waited out the heat of the day then went to the Bunbury Arms in Stoak. Excellent pub, beer and meal.

Glorious sunset.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Summer trip on Shropshire Union (Sunday 5/8/2018) - Ellesmere Port to Stoak (Bridges 138-139)

Engine hours start: 400.4 end: 402.3 = 1.9 hour

Miles:2.5 Locks:0  Lock miles: 2.5

Third and final coat of gloss on handrails first thing. Then went round the museum - still interesting despite rescue of old boats into storage before they rot away. Some sort of dispute involving the council and Peel Holdings means most of the lower basin is not accessible. Sort it out folks! 


 
Mind Like Water top right


Walked a mile or so to find Aldi - then a quick lunch and away. Ran engine for half an hour before setting off so we could get the fridge back on.

However only got through the first bridge when it became obvious that we had to stop as little propulsion. Checked weed hatch and prop seemed clear but still problems when we set off again. Large burst of reverse seemed to dislodge a large chunk of wood that must have been underneath and rolling into the prop whenever we selected forward gear...

Moored down the cut a couple of miles where, once the first heat of the day had passed, Andrew started work (heroically...) on preparing the remaining third of the port-side handrail and all of the starboard side. Scraped and Fertanned.

Reward was BBQ and chocolate mousse!



Saturday, 4 August 2018

Summer trip on Shropshire Union (Saturday 4/8/2018) - Ellesmere Port (National Waterways Museum)

Engine hours start: 400.4 end: 400.4 = 0 hours

Miles:0 Locks:0  Lock miles: 0


Stayed moored at the National Boat Museum. 2nd coat of gloss on handrails. 


Mind Like Water 3rd boat down


Then walked to Cheshire Oaks for a very successful shopping trip. Alison needed a new waterproof coat and lighter weight fleece. Found a nice one in North Face. Would have been happy to pay the already reduced ticket price but it was then halved at the till. Result! 

Then got shoes for Andrew and sandals for Alison at Clarks - both on buy one get one half price. Had a nice lunch at Prezzo with discount because we had tickets to go to the cinema - Mamma Mia 2 - lovely film, laughed out loud at how they managed to work "Fernando" into the plot!.



Long walk back to boat in increasing sunshine. 

Friday, 3 August 2018

Summer trip on Shropshire Union (Friday 3/8/2018) - Cheshire Cat to Ellesmere Port (National Waterways Museum)

Engine hours start: 394.1 end: 400.4 = 6.3 hour

Miles:10 Locks:8  Lock miles: 18


Off fairly timely this morning. Noted desirable moorings by Wharf Tower as we passed after an uneventful passage into the city. - 2 locks full and waiting!


Were in time to pair up with NB Calluna, the skipper of which had been playing guitair and harmonica outside the Barbridge Inn on Tuesday, to descend the staircase.

They had said they were stopping in Telford Basin and would join us a day later at Ellesmere Port. But they continued in our wake. Not much space in the basin...

Slow last couple of miles as a bit weedy - will perhaps need to check the weed hatch. Will be moored for a couple of days so it may drop off the prop of its own accord.

Next coat of paint on the handrails. Had a pleasant meal the The Galley overlooking the Ship Canal. Saw a large ship being pulled along the ship canal.

 

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Summer trip on Shropshire Union (Thursday 2/8/2018) - Shady Oak to Christleton

Engine hours start: 391.5 end: 394.1 = 2.6 hour

Miles:6.5 Locks:0  Lock miles: 6.5


Beautiful sunny day. ADS applied undercoat to handrails (front two-thirds of port side) in the morning: had light lunch then set off for Christleton. We pulled over to let the boat following go by, only for him to receive orders from within to pull over to appreciate their lunch. Justly too - it smelt delicious!


We then passed 4 canoes, lashed together in pairs, moored on a bend with quite a lot of vegetation on the off-side. No-one in sight but cheerful shrieking from the brook down the embankment. Got past without incident.



Arrived at Christleton to find our 3rd top mooring in a row just outside the Cheshire Cat with a lovely tall brick wall for shade and sonic shelter. Andrew went one way to Waverton to check out the local shops, Alison the other way into central Chester to pick up a prescription. In England so had to pay - horror! Retail therapy produced a lovely cotton blouse and a Jasper Fforde book.

Had a drink in the Cheshire Cat before returning aboard for chicken fillet, salad and yoghurts.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Summer trip on Shropshire Union (Wednesday 1/8/2018) - Barbridge Inn to Shady Oak

Engine hours start: 387.7 end: 391.5 = 3.8 hour

Miles:5 Locks:6  Lock miles: 11

Sunny start today, breezy, clouded over as morning went on but mild.




Waited for NB Riverside to pass before unmooring. We both paused at Calveley services and agreed to work the next locks in tandem. Ferociously shiny boat. Skipper does not allow wife to take boat into locks in case of touching - much use of bow thruster likewise. Amazed they deigned to share with us! However, interesting to talk boat design as theirs is a bespoke by Aquabuild(?).

Beeston Castle



Separated at Beeston Iron Lock of course as it is single working but paused for lunch above the next as they caught up with us.

Another top mooring within sight of but no in deafening range of Shady Oak pub. Riverside also stopping here - right at the end of the rings to ensure peace and quiet. Meanwhile our opposite neighbours are a pair of swans.

And another splendid meal at the Shady Oak. Food less expensive but helpings a bit smaller - good news, room for pudding!

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Summer trip on Shropshire Union (Tuesday 31/7/2018) - Nantwich to Barbridge Inn

Engine hours start: 386.5 end: 387.7 = 1.2 hours

Miles:2.5 Locks:0  Lock miles: 2.5


The start of our summer cruise: supplies aboard - diesel checked - water refilled - will empty the toilet at Calveley - then smartly away into a lovely summer evening - sunshine and clouds, slight breeze.

Heading for Barbridge for dinner: burger for Andrew, liver for Alison.
Top Mooring!


Peaceful night having watched the International Space Station pass and seen Mars at perigee (if that's the word) looking large and decidedly pink in the night sky.
International Space Station (no really... it is!)

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Shropshire Union (Saturday 7/7/2018 - Thurs 12/7/2018) - Painting boat roof near Hurleston Junction

Engine hours start: ?? end: ?? = ? hours

Miles:4 Locks:0  Lock miles:4


This was a pre-planned trip for Andrew to undertake the major summer project of painting the boat roof which had been looking increasing tatty with various patches of rust showing through. 

We had done a brief recce trip back in June to find a good spot near Calveley which would have access to services and buses. In the event I did not use that spot because of the incredibly hot weather that the UK has experienced this summer.

I travelled to the boat on Friday afternoon and quickly set off after unpacking the car. 

Arriving near Hurleston Junction, I spotted a place just short of the visitor moorings which had the potential for a little shade so opted to stop there instead. This did mean that I did not pass Calveley services where I was planning to top up the water so was rather nervous about running out of water. Was fine in the event.

I moored up using spring lines fore and aft and our new wheels procured from Aldi for coping with the Shroppie shelf. I knew I would be here for some time and did not want to be moved about by passing boats while up on the roof painting.

The actual time spent doing the work is a bit of a blur as I worked through the different stages:

  1. Use scraper, chisels, wirebrushes and sanding blocks to remove any loose paint and rust
  2. Apply Fertan to convert any remaining rust to an inert form. 
  3. Wait 24 hours if possible.
  4. Clean off the Fertan
  5. Degrease the surface with panel wipe
  6. Apply undercoat
  7. Wait 16 hours
  8. Apply gloss coat 1 (Dulux Weathershield)
  9. Wait 16 hours
  10. Apply gloss coat 2
We had already done the rear part of the roof during a trip to Chester.

I initially chose a seam line on the roof to work up to which represented around two thirds of the remaining surface. Had to get up early to do preparation and apply paint in the evenings in order to avoid the heat of the sun.

I was originally planning to complete this first area then return home to pack for a weekend at the Folk on the Farm festival on Anglesey. I would then return to the boat to complete the work.

However as I was getting near the end of the first section, I check the forward weather forecast and saw that the weather was due to be unsettled in the second week with likelihood of some rain. So, I modified my plan and by staying an extra night and slightly pushing some of the above timings, I was able to get the whole roof painted before returning home.

I was a bit worried as the gloss on final section was distinctly soft when I was applying the final coat. Luckily it does seem to have baked on fine over the subsequent weeks.

While far from a perfect finish, it's a lot better than before and the rust has been dealt with. Will be looking to paint the handrails red during our summer cruise.



 

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Shropshire Union (Sunday 10/6/2018) Bunbury to Nantwich

Engine hours start: 372.3 end: 374.5 = 2.2 hours

Miles:5 Locks:0  Lock miles: 5


Another beautiful day - sunny but a breeze to save from feeling sultry.

Tea / coffee for breakfast but nothing else as still full from last night's feast!

Many more boats on the move today.

Back at the mooring in time for lunch in cafe - full English breakfast - excellent.

Few jobs and stock checking before leaving mid afternoon.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Shropshire Union (Saturday 9/6/2018) Nantwich to Bunbury

Engine hours start: 370.0 end: 372.3 = 2.4 hour

Miles:5.5 Locks:0  Lock miles: 5.5


Travelled to boat on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, walked into Nantwich for the usual tour of the charity shops looking for books. Then to Aldi for lunch provisions.

Speaking to neighbour on return to boat heard sad news that another neighbour taken by depression - only 54...

Then set off towards Calveley to inspect towpath for likely location for Andrew to moor this summer when painting the roof.

Cruised to the winding hold just shy of Bunbury locks. First attempt unable to get close to bank but 2nd perfect. Very quiet spot as train line curves away and is hidden in embankment.

Had late lunch then got some sun / reading before walking to the Tollemache Arms for dinner - not cheap bu generous portions and thoughtfully done. Good beer as well - Unicorn and Wizard ales.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Middlewich Branch and Shropshire Union (Monday 7/5/2018) Bridge 16 Middlewich Branch to Nantwich Basin

Engine hours start: 364 end: 370 = 6 hours

Miles:8 Locks:2  Lock miles: 10


Glorious weather. The branch is unnervingly  quiet due to the breach.

 Minshull Lock being worked in our favour as we approached - likewise Cholmondeston - so through with little delay - probably because we were not in any hurry!

Paused for lunch after Hurleston Junction and returned to base mooring with no fuss at all.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Middlewich Branch (Sunday 6/5/2018) - Move to near Bridge 16 and walk into Middlewich

Engine hours start: 363? end: 364? = 1 hour

Miles:2 Locks:0  Lock miles: 2


Moved up from Church Minshull to the winding hole near Bridge 16. Turned then reversed a little way up the arm to avoid being passed twice by every winding boat. Good call as gave us a nice peaceful mooring.

Walked up the towpath to try and see the breach but the towpath is blocked by a large plywood fence.



Found a path round the breach into Middlewich where we had a very nice Sunday lunch at the White Bear. Very hot weather so a couple of pints were very welcome! 

Wandered back to the boat for a quiet evening.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Shropshire Union & Middlewich Branch (5/5/2018) - Norbury Canal Festival

Engine hours start: 357.5 end: 363.0 = 5.5 hour

Miles:6.5 Locks:2  Lock miles: 8.5


Travelled to boat on Friday evening.

Up promptly to visit the Norbury Junction Canal Festival. Went to deliver copies of Shroppie Fly Paper magazine to the IWA branch members staffing our stand.




Had a look round the various stalls and traders. Andrew got a nice leather coin holder and we got fudge and ice-cream. Chatted to the folk on the Shrewsbury and Newport Canal Trust stand: in a similar situation to Stroudwater with a length in water at Newport and only half a mile separating them from the network. But no Heritage Lottery Fund money so stuck - but hopeful...

Then back to Nantwich and away. Late lunch at Barbridge Inn - very busy as the weather so suddenly glorious. 

In afternoon, along Middlewich branch to moorings above Church Minshull - fave view.

Cooler evening a relief. Neighbours relaxing over booze - noisy but cheerful.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Easter trip on Llangollen Canal (Thursday 29/3/2018) - Nantwich to Burland

Engine hours start: 357.8 end: 359.4 = 1.6 hours

Miles:4 Locks:4 Lock miles: 8


Set off around 09:55.

Two lockkeepers and a trainee volunteer on duty at Hurleston so flew through the flight, reaching the junction by 10:30!

Arrived back at Nantwich Basin around 11:00. There was a fair breeze blowing down the basin and I used it to execute a very smooth spin into our slot. Of course, there were no witnesses to this unlike whenever you muck something up!

Paid Jan and Feb electric bills. Have now taken the heater off the boat (subject to last-minute weather forecast check before heading home on Tuesday) so, after paying the March acount, electricity usage should be minimal until next winter.  

Then wandered into town to buy and post a birthday card for Dad. Then round a few charity shops and to Morrisons for some groceries. Picked up our wristbands for the Jazz and Blues Festival this weekend.

Back to boat for a bit of a tidy up.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Easter trip on Llangollen Canal (Wednesday 28/3/2018) - Grindley Brook to Burland

Engine hours start: 351.0 end: 357.8= 6.8 hours

Miles:11 Locks:9 & 3 lift bridges  Lock miles: 23 inc lift bridges!


Quite a long day today. Set off around 09:30.

Weather cold and windy all day. Some glimpses of the sun but never enough to get warm...

Trouble-free journey through the first 4 locks. The landlady of the Willeymoor Lock Tavern offered to shut the gates for me. Will definitely have to call in there one day!

For the first time ever in my experience, the Wrenbury Frith Lift Bridge was down! Difficult to operate as well as no bollards on the offside. Luckily a chap from the nursery took pity and lowered the bridge behind me. The main Wrenbury lift bridge was no problem. Got in a bit of a tangle at Wrenbury Church Lift Bridge trying to hold bridge open for following boat and nearly lost the chimney cap in the undergrowth...

Then slowly worked through Baddiley Locks and Swanley Locks. Had to turn most of them as I was following several boats. Following boat closed the gates on Swanley Locks for me.

Moored up in almost exactly the same place as last Friday but, obviously, facing the other way! Moored up and stove lit by about 16:30.

Realised that, after breakfast and mid-morning hot-cross bun, I forgot to have lunch again. Just shows how much eating is just habit...

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Easter trip on Llangollen Canal (Tuesday 27/3/2018) - Whitchurch to Grindley Brook

Engine hours start: 348.5 end: 351.0 = 2.5 hour

Miles:1.5 Locks:6  Lock miles: 7.5


Set off around 09:15. First task was to move forward to the lift bridge. Then lifted the bridge and winded in the junction. Dog walker lowered the bridge which saved me having to re-moor. Someone had left a windlass on the bridge so didn't even need to wait to retrieve mine.

Soon after setting off it started to rain so paused to put on waterproof trousers. Was already in waterproof jacket for warmth as not warm at all...

Soon arrived at Grindley Brook. Topped up with water and emptied the bin.

Lockkeeper on duty but only doing one side so I had to help. Pulled the boat through the staircase to avoid ladders in the wet.

Pretty wet and mucky passage through the remaining locks. Rope got very muddy which transferred to gloves and waterproofs...

Moored up just beyond bridge 27 on 48 hour moorings. Will probably stay overnight here and have dinner at the Horse and Jockey. (I did - huge plate of fish & chips).

Very little traffic so far. I was the first traffic through the locks according to the keeper. First boat passed my mooring around 12:25.

Very sparse selection of books in the little shop by the bottom lock. Luckily already have plenty on board...

Monday, 26 March 2018

Easter trip on Llangollen Canal (Monday 26/3/2018) - Whitchurch

No cruising today. Spent the day in Whitchurch.

Monday is obviously a day when quite a few shops close but more open than last time when we visited on a Sunday...

Got a good haul of books and DVDs from the charity shops and had a poke around in the antiques centre but did not buy anything.

Found a very good hardware store reminiscent of Stermat in Colwyn Bay. Much bigger inside than it appears from the street. Got several hose tap connectors to avoid yesterday's problem.

Had a latte (with an extra shot of course) in the White Bear (wifi) and then a pint in the Old Town Vaults. Another Joules pub. Good ale but not as nice as the Leopard in Nantwich.

Got a few things in Sainsburys then had another pint in the Cock and Greyhound on the way back to the boat (more wifi!).

Quiet afternoon/ evening on the boat with books and DVD.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Easter trip on Llangollen Canal (Sunday 25/3/2018) - Wrenbury to Whitchurch

Engine hours start: 343.1 end: 348.5= 5.4 hours

Miles:6 Locks:10 & 1 liftbridge  Lock miles: 17


Had originally planned to stay another night at Wrenbury but woke to clear blue skies and a good weather forecast so decided to make for Whitchurch today.

Underway around 09:30. Soloed through the lift bridge without incident; just held up a couple of cars and 2 cyclists.

Weather chilly but clear. Lovely day for cruising. Arrived at Marbury Lock around 10:10.

Not much other traffic but did pass a few boats.

Arrived at Willeymoor Lock just before 12:00 and the pub was actually open. First time I have actually seen this phenomenon! Considered popping in for a pint but decided to press on.

Single-handed through the first 3 of Grindley Brook locks closely followed by a hire boat crewed by Americans. They are from San Francisco and come here twice a year for the canals!

Had some trouble topping up the water as could not find the correct connector (now on shopping list for tomorrow). Emptied rubbish and got rid of old chimney.

Moored up at Whitchurch Visitor moorings (48 hour) at 15:00. Had a shower to take advantage of hot water from cruising. Realised that I had never had lunch so cracked open an Old Speckled Hen and some pretzels!

Quiet evening on the boat. Planning to go into Whitchurch tomorrow. 

Later in the evening fancied a walk so wandered back to Grindley Brook and had a couple of pints at the Horse & Jockey.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Easter trip on Llangollen Canal (Saturday 24/3/2018) - Burland to Wrenbury

Engine hours start: 339.1 end: 343.1= 4 hours

Miles:5 Locks:5 & 1 lift bridge  Lock miles: 11


Set off around 10:00 and arrived at Swanley locks in around 20-25 minutes.

Took it slowly through the locks as first solo ones of the year!

Weather dry but chilly. 

First two of the Baddiley locks had boats coming out which was nice. Had to work the last one though it was empty already so no problem.

Stopped just before Wrenbury Church Lift Bridge to recce the mooring nearer the village. There were plenty!

Worked though the Wrenbury Church Lift Bridge and even let another boat through.

Moored outside Cotton Arms campsite around 14:00.

Visited Wrenbury Mill chandlery and bought a new chimney and a bag of Excel briquettes to try instead of the current bag of coal which is very unsatisfactory leaving lots of clinker.

Then to Cotton Arms for a couple of pints of "Bitter and Twisted". Took a picture to tweet to Henry Priestman. He didn't reply but another fan got the reference and replied.

Quiet afternoon and evening on boat reading. Pizza and salad for dinner.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Easter trip on Llangollen Canal (Friday 23/3/2018) - Nantwich to Burland

Engine hours start: 337.4 end: 339.1 = 1.7 hour

Miles:3 Locks:4 Lock miles: 7


Andrew solo trip up the Llangollen to Whitchurch for first week of the Easter Break.

Was originally going to go via Middlewich Branch to Anderton but the breach near Middlewich put paid to that. Very glad that the breach did not happen two weeks later leaving me stranded on the Trent and Mersey!

Arrived Nantwich at 14:30. Unpacked car and emptied toilet. Got underway about 15:00. When removing the chimney, noticed that it is rotten so will need to look for a replacement. The double-skinned chimney does not seem to have worked very well as the gap between the skins is too large allowing fumes between the layers which has rotted the outer one. Also allowed tar to drip down the inside of the outer skin and onto the boat...

Trouble-free cruise to Hurleston Junction where I was very pleased to see lockkeepers working the locks. Apart from lowering the paddle on the first lock before going back to get the boat, I was able just to stay on board. Apparently the locks are being manned most days so fingers crossed for return journey next Friday!

Came through a couple of bridges then moored up between bridges 3 and 4. Nice quiet spot with a pleasant view.

Fired up the stove and unpacked. First Guiness and pork scratchings open by 17:20.