Sunday, June 28, 2009

NCCC/Poynton Wine Circle Wine Cruise

High Lane Arm, Macclesfield Canal to Disley Swing Bridge, Upper Peak Forest Canal
Miles 10 Locks 0 Lift Bridges 2 Swing Bridges 1
Yesterday the NCCC acted has hosts to take members of the Poynton Wine Circle on an afternoon cruise on the canal. This year 4 boats each with 4 guests took part.
Looking down the High Lane Arm towards the NCCC Club house
After the cruise we were entertained with a Call My Bluff style wine tasting and even later there was a BBQ on the "Triangle" with two Musicians playing their instruments and us having a sing song along with the music
There was plenty to eat and drink. We stayed overnight on the boat as I had had quite a few samples of home made wine and took part in the Call My Bluff wine tasting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Post Script

Wednesday 24 June 2009.
I had to get a pull off of the mooring today (Thanks Keith) to allow me to dredge 7 more barrow loads of mud out of the mooring and even then the boat was still aground when I tried to moor up. I went in and out several times to push the mud aside until I can get round to more dredging.
Friday 26 June 2009
Cleanup day. We went to the boat and did a good clean out and got the vacuum cleaner going. The boat was still aground so I turned the boat around and tried flushing some of the mud out with the prop. The boat is moored on a more even keel now. I think I will still have to do some more dredging though.

This ends the daily updates so the blog will only be updated when we take the boat out. We expect to do another fortnight cruise sometime in July/August.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Barleston to High Lane

We are home, but at the moment my broadband connection is faulty so I will update the last episode of our summer cruise when it is fixed. The plan is to upload lots of the photos that I have not used onto the internet with a link so that you can all see them. The Openreach engineer has just arrived so I will have to go. Keep watching it will all be sorted in a couple of days. The links to more photographs taken on this cruise
Purton Hulks Full set of Photos taken at Purton
Severn Valley Railway
Slimbridge

Finally got the log sorted so here goes for the last two days of the cruise

Miles 36.8 Locks 19 Days 2
Sunday 21/06/2009 Barleston to Dane Aqueduct at the bottom of Bosley Locks.
We were up early today to get ahead of the single hander that held everyone up yesterday but not early enough to be the first boat at Trentham lock and subsequently the Stone Flight. we followed the same boat waiting at most locks for it to clear the lock and on occasions waiting for another boat to come down. The timing for Harecastle tunnel was just about perfect we got there just as the southbound boats were making their exit from the tunnel. A 45 minute passage through and we were on the Macc with two boats in front who moored up at Red Bull for lunch. We continued on and stopped at Heritage boats for a Pump-out and then on to Bosley Bottom.
Monday 22/06/2009 Bosley bottom lock to High Lane.
Another early start and this time we were first up the locks, not that it mattered much as most of them were against us. We didn't meet another boat coming down until two from the top. We took on water at the top of the locks and carried on only to find the canal covered on large clumps of reeds that had broken off from the bank. I call these green icebergs as most of their mass is below water level. We finally secummed to the weed on the prop about 200yards in and I had to go down the weed hatch to clear the prop - we couldn't even get into the side, M had to hang on to some moored boats we were passing. After Fools Nook swing bridge things cleared up but the we noticed haw low the water was in the canal (about 4" lower than its normal level). The final run into High lane was uneventful until we went into our mooring and the boat took on a list as we grounded on the mud. I was quite disappointed as I had taken 7 wheelbarrow loads of mud out of the mooring only 6 weeks earlier. Two buses later and I was back with the car and we unload essentials and the laundry and we went home.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Penkridge to Barleston

Miles 23.9 Locks 18 days 2
No post yesterday I was busy in the engine compartment replacing the throttle control cable that had snapped just as we were coming in to moor up in the middle of a downpour. The rain stopped after tea and I was able to change the cable in the dry which was a blessing as the engine cover and sides as well at the back deck all had to be lifted and put to one side. For interest we spent the night between bridges 77 and 78 on the Trent and Mersey canal. We had intended to stop at Tixal Wide and spend the evening there. We arrived just before 1 o'clock and went to the farm shop at Heywood Junction for some fresh strawberries and cream and after that I polished the Starboard side of the boat and we got bored and decided to continue - thats how we ended up on the Trent and Mersey canal earlier than expected. The first lock we came to was Weston and it was set for us with a boat hovering in the canal above the lock, B.W. had decided to leave one of their new tug and module work boats moored up on the lock landing. The space beyond is on a sharp bend and quite difficult to get a boat in. The person who left it there will be very popular as traffic builds up over the weekend.

We intended to stay overnight in Stone and we arrived at 11am, went shopping and had lunch and you have guesssed we got bored and decided to head up to Barleston. It was a slow trip up the Stone locks and then the Meaford flight with a Singlehanded boat in the lead taking his time which included fishing his dog out of the canal several times. One bright moment as we passed R+R in their boat Discovery No1 on their way to the River Thames.
We have not seen many boats about on this trip until we got back on the Four Counties Ring and we met some long queues of boats at some locks. Here is the queue for Tixal lock yesterday
We are moored between Barleston and Trentham on the moorings set up for the visitor centre at the Wedgewood factory, I think that the visitor centre is the only part of the factory that is open now.

Tomorrow we hope to get through the Harecastle Tunnel and if the weather does not improve we will make a dash for home.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Bratch to Penkridge

Miles 17.2 Locks 11
Our planned stopping place for today was Coven but we had arrived there by 2.30 pm so we decided to continue on first to Gailey and then to Penkridge. This means that we have reached the summit of the Staffs and Worcester Canal and we have started down towards Great Heywood and the Trent and Mersey canal, then it will be uphill all the way home to High Lane.
We saw this fisherman near Autherly Junction See Ya tomorrow. My turn to work the locks. M. did them all today.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wolverly to The Bratch

Miles 13.3 Locks 17
It as been raining since about 10am this morning, not enough to stop us moving but at times we almost stopped to keep dry.
This is the Cliff at Auscliffe it was much more of an overhang when we first came this way in the early 90s.

No Points for guessing why this is called Rocky lock.
Looking down on Gralyn at the bottom of the two rise at Botterham

It was here that we almost stopped because of the rain. We are moored for the night on the visitor moorings above the Bratch a unique set of three locks with only 6 feet separating the bottom gate of one lock and the top gate of the next. It all works with hidden side pounds that store the water.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Stourport to Wolverley

Miles 5.9 Locks 4
We have been to Bewdley today but not by Boat. We went on the Severn Valley Railway from Kidderminster to Bewdley and return. This took us there -
And this brought us back.
It was about 10 mins each way with a wait at Bewdley that was just long enough to look around and have an Ice Cream. On the way back I managed to take the following snap of the canal which we were travelling along about one hour later.
We decided to stop at Wolverley to see the houses built into the sandstone cliff and to avoid stopping at the places we stopped at on our way south. It is a little strange after almost two weeks on the River Severn to be back on the narrow canal, I keep heading into my off side bank as I judge my distance by the nearside gap and that is a lot wider on the rivers.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Upton to Stourport

Miles 23.3 Locks 9
There was a big crane going to Upton but not by road as I had been told. It went by water. Maybe the new pontoons were going by water.

Leaving Holt Lock the penultimate on the river Severn.
Our final landing on the River Severn as I wait for the first of the two sets of paired locks to take us up into Stourport Basin The View of the lock from the river.
We are now moored on the Staffs and Worcester canal at Stourport just above York Street lock.
Hopefully tomorrow we will manage a trip in the Severn Valley Railway

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Frampton to Upton

Miles 42.1 Locks 2 Days 4
We are back at Upton after leaving Gloucester Docks this morning. The speed of travel over the ground was about 3.5 mph coming upstream against the downward trip where the speed was more like 5.5 mph.

After leaving Frampton we went to Shepherds Patch and spent the day walking roung the bird sanctuary at Slimbridge - a smashing place to visit. In the evening we were joined by our friends on Columbus.
What an escort they had through Patch Bridge.
The day after Slimbridge we went on to Sharpness the most Southerly point of this cruise. We stopped off at Purton to See the Hulks of old barges that have been sunk at river bank protection

This ones for Pete. Look what we found in Sharpness Dock
We left Sharpness on Saturday morning after saying goodby to our friends on Columbus who continued down to Portishead via the tidal section of the Severn. They will be in Bristol floating Harbour by Now. Our journey took us back to Gloucester docks where we stayed last night and was oud departure point today. We have been told that we must leave the mooring by 9am tomorrow as BW are replacing the pontoons "By Crane" What is wrong with floating the new ones down and taking the old ones back to Diglis by water too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gloucester to Frampton on Severn

Miles 8 Locks None Days 2
We have finally exhausted ourselves with Gloucester, although M wants to revisit the Gloucester Quays Retail outlet on our way back.
We are now on the Gloucester and Sharpness canal proper with its many swing bridges, this is Rea Swing bridges one of the three that can be navigated by us without the bridge having to open
We are now moored close to Frampton on Severn. This is the view looking from Frethene Bridge towards Saul Junction.
For NCCC followers we met up with Columbus yesterday when they arrived in Gloucester docks. we went out for dinner at an "All you can eat" Asian /Thi style restaurant. It was superb.

Monday, June 08, 2009

At Gloucester

We only went 2 miles today. South through Llanthony Bridge to pick up water and the to the site of our moorings outside a sawmill when we came here for the IWA National. My how things have changed! Trying a short video for the first time please give me some comment on it so I will know if it is worth doing again.
video

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Upton to Gloucester

Miles 19.2 Locks 2 Days 2
It rained all day at Upton yesterday so we decided to leave the boat on the floating pontoon and go to Worcester by bus. We had a look round and returned to the boat and had another "Make and Mend" afternoon. This morning it was still raining and after calling the lock keeper at Upper Lode to check that a run down to Gloucester was still ok with the higher water levels and flow, we set off. By the time we reached Upper Lode the rain had stopped and by the time we arrived in Gloucester, just after 1pm, the sun was out. We went straight into the lock - no hanging onto chains as we had done on our two previous visits. We moored on the finger pontoons just south of the lock and had a short stroll around the shops. Just as we got back to the boat it started to rain again, a least it was easy to put the covers on.

For any Canalworld followers we did manage to catch p withe the Joneses on nb Keeping Up but we couldn't keep up as they had left by the time we got back from the shops before we could go over and have a chat. Still I think the have headed South so we will probably see them later this week.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Stourport to Upton on Severn

Miles 23.6 Locks 9
We had intended to stop at Worcester tonight but when we got to the moorings by the railway bridge there were no other boats there. It is strange how you get that feeling that there may be something wrong when no other boats are around so we went on. We looked at Diglis basin to see what was available but the only mooring that was not for the lock landing had a large red notice NO MOORING FINE £250 So we decided to cary on to Upton on Severn and come back to Worcester tomorrow by bus

Leaving Holt Lock the second down from Stourport.
On the pontoons at Upton on Severn among the wide white ones.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

At Stourport

No locks or miles to record today only a leaky waterpump that took all morning to take apart and reseal the pump housing with silicon sealing gunge. Hopefully that will sort it out . We will have to keep the furniture away fron the damp floor for a while.The offending pump after the repair being left for the silicon sealant to cure. We were quite lucky really I was reaching under the settee for my slippers and felt the floor was wet so out came the settee and drinks locker and the panel hiding the pump. If I had not noticed it we would have gone to Kiddeminster and found things much worse on our return. I am fairly sure it has only just happened as I have been reaching under the settee fairly regularly this trip. We went to Kidderminster after lunch by bus and found it a delightful place, the market was in full swing the sun was shining, the only down was that due to the waterpump fix this morning there was no time to go on the Severn Valley Railway - ah well we can try on our way back home.

This curious boat was featured in one of the Waterworld series it has 4 engines driving 4 propellers in ducts with the ducts at each end and side being able to force water out the end or side. Control was by a Joystick linked to a computer. The only problem I could see was if a plastic bag covered the duct water entry port at a vital point in a manouvre.
Thats all for tonight heading downstream on the River Severn tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Kinver to Stourport

Miles 10.3 Locks 9
We have arrived in Stourport setting off from Kinver in the first cloudy day in memory (at least in our short memory, the sun has been with us since Nantwich)
Cookley Tunnel between Kinver and Kidderminster where we stopped outside Sainsburys for a shop and lunch

When we reached stourport we locked down into the upper basin to take on water and empty the loo and get rid of rubbish. Afterwards we had to retrace our steps and go back on to the canal as there were no moorings in the basin except for overnight and we want to stay for a couple of days and visit Kidderminster by bus.

After tea we went to the BW facilities block for a shower and after getting changed we went for a stroll round the town and got our first glimps of the River Severn
As we will not be moving for at least a couple of days I may not be updating the blog tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Wightwick to Kinver

Miles 11.8 Locks 18
A busy day today, still in glorious sunshine. We were soon descending The Brach with not another moving boat in sight. In fact we didnt see another boat moving untill after our lunch stop at Swindon (no not that one, this one)
The second lock down on The Bratch

After Stourton Junction we were at Stewponey Lock.

Hyde Lock, almost at Kinver our planned overnight stopping place. After tea we went for a walk to the villiage , something we have not done even though we have moored at Kinver several times. It was well worth the visit. We are sat outside the boat eating grapes bought @ half price in the Spar shop as I update this Blog.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Gnosall Heath to Wightwick

Miles 16 Locks 5.
We left Gnosall later than usual as I didn't want to get to Wheaton Aston too early and find Turners closed. As it turned out I needn't have worried there were no other boats travelling our way. After picking up diesel we passed through the penultimate lock going "UP" on the Shroppie

Stretton Aqueduct crosses the A5 south of Wheaton Aston and it was there that we saw one of the more unusual birds on the canal, a cormorant, fishing where a small stream enters the canal. http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/c/cormorant/index.asp

We finally said goodby to the Shroppie as we turned south at Autherly Junction onto the Staffs and Worcester Canal. We moored shortly after passing through the second Wightwick lock.

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