Friday, July 30, 2010

Fools Nook to High Lane

Miles 12.4 Locks 0
Shortly after we left Fools Nook we were proceeded along the canal by a Kingfisher, this is the first time for ages that this has happened on the Upper Macclesfield canal. A fitting tribute to our last day. We managed to get most of our gear off of the boat in the afternoon and evening without getting wet as there had been showers all day. It was nice to be home and see the ravages the dry weather had done to the garden. The Lettuce hand Cauliflower had bolted but the beans and raspberries are coming on fine with a crop of beans ready to pick. Just to prove we are gluttons for punishment we went to the NCCC club night to chat to those poor souls we had left behind almost 9 weeks ago. Now I have the task of counting locks and miles which will be reported shortly, Honest.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rugely to Chatterley to Fools Nook

Miles 15.3 Locks 13
Our hard work of yesterday paid off, we were 3rd in the queue for the tunnel and had a good run up the Macclesfield canal to Bosley locks where we finished our climbing to the Macc summit level. We were intending to moor close to the top of Bosley locks but all the deep moorings were taken so we went on to Fools Nook. We had expected the water level to be a lot lower than we found, though the going is now the slowest we have been doing for our normal cruising revs, particularly in the bridge holes. Final run to High Lane tomorow.
Rugely to Chatterly
Miles 28 locks 15
Our hardest day so far we decided to do a "double day" to try to get home for Thursday afternoon or evening so that we would have Friday clear. As it turned out we needn't have bothered but we only found out after we had committed ourselves to the trip through Stoke on Trent. The queues at some of the locks were up to an hour long particularly at Colwick and later at Stone when everyone who had stopped for the heavy rain decided to set off after it had finished and just before we arrived.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Polesworth Rugely

Miles 24.1 locks 5
Queues at both sets of locks Glascote and Fradley to be capped by two slow boats in front from Armitage Tunnel into Rugely.This is our 60 the day out on this trip and it also marks the start of our final climb that will end at Bosley top lock. We have also returned to the Trent & Mersey canal which prompted us to think of the canals we have been on this trip.
The Macclesfield. Trent and Mersey, Coventry, Birmingham & Fazely, Grand Union, GU Northampton Branch, Dukes Cut and the Oxford South and North, and of course The Middle Levels.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ansty to Polesworth

Miles 19.4 Locks 12
Another long run without locks So more pondering, this time on the state of the Northern Oxford canal between Braunston and Hillmorton and in particular Bridge 80 (if you can call it a bridge it is more like a hole in a heap of bricks). How BW safety team can examine the risk of collapse as negligible as they do, considering the only thing they have done is put two large floating fenders and a "Slow down" notice, beats me. The money they have spent on electricity lighting up Newbold Tunnel for the last two years would have paid for Bridge 80 repair or maybe even delaying the installation of bollards at narrow locks for a financial quarter to fix it. Rant Over.
we had arrived at the top of Atherstone Locks with a Q of 3 boats. we moored up and went shopping and when we returned no Q. That is until we had gone down the first two and caught up with the boats that had been at the top as we went shopping. I like lock 6 it is the only lock that I go through on a regular ( once a year or so regular) that has a working side pound. Most boaters seem to miss it and look at you with a blank expression when I ask if they used the side pound.
Finally we have passed two boats today that used to belong to NCCC members. The first just before Sutton stop on the N. Oxford, REGAL, and just after on the Coventry, SAPPHIRE, this used to be the boat belonging to Dennis and Barbara Shearer

Saturday, July 24, 2010

At Ansty


Godstow to Upper Heyford

Miles 14 Locks 10

Our last few hours on the Thames ended at Kings Lock when we turned onto the Dukes Cut. The canal was very busy as soon as we got to Dukes lock there were boats queueing. Fortunately to come down as we were going up. For those who follow the Canalworld Discussion Forum we met Maffi at Thrupp just as we passed the lift bridge which has now been electrified. Later after we had moored up there came a tap on the roof and Mortimer Bones was passing and stopped for a chat.


Upper Heyford to Banbury

Miles 12.1 Locks 8

We have now got used once again to the routine of travelling the narrow canals, the engine revs that gave us a comfortable 4 mph on the rivers now only produce speeds of up to 3 mph if we are lucky. I fitted a rev counter before we set of and I have been keeping to a constant revs rather than a constant speed. This seems to keep the diesel consumption down.


Banbury to Napton Junction

Miles 22.4 Locks 20

The magnet of home exerts it pull ever stronger as we make our way north, We have had our longest day of cruising of this trip 11 hours. Today saw us reach Clayton top lock which is the summit of the climb we starter at Teddington on the Thames twelve days ago. It is downhill for now until we reach Fradley where we will begin our final climb to the Macclesfield canal top level. One more meeting with people only known via the internet. Today at Napton top lock by the Engine arm we met the crew of Harnser who have the distinction of being the only people to place a comment on this blog this year. We also passed and had a quick word with the crew of Shropshire Lass near the Folly pub just before Napton Junction.


Napton Junction to Ansty

Miles 23.3 Locks 3

Not such an early start today and an early finish and still we get the miles in. At Braunston turn we completed the big circle we started on the 3rd of June. The long run also gave us time to reflect on the trip and work out that we have cruised on part of the following rivers.

Nene, Great Ouse,Cam,Gade,Brent,Thames and Cherwell.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Abingdon to Godstow

Miles 7.9 Locks 5
Sadly the pictures that I was going to use today have got lost in transfer. We did the laundry this morning in Abingdon and set off about 11 am only to be held at the lock to allow a Salters ferry to take precedent. We then did our water and pumpout so we finally left Abingdon by noon time. It seems to be a day of funny locking, the lock at Iffley was set to self operate and the locky at Godstow made us wait about 5 mins for two other boats to catch up. "To Save Water" he said.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wallingford to Abingdon

Yesterday Miles 13.2 Locks 4
We travelled from Wallingford to Abingdon yesterday and had a quick look round town. There was a show 0f MG cars in the market place and more on the field by the river bridge.
We are moored in what must be our favourite spot ( we have moored here every time we have visited the Thames and stayed for several days).
We took the bus into Oxford today rather than stop at Osney and go in from there. We usually go to the laundrette from the Osney moorings but now we are more familiar with the buses we have found the long walk to the laundrette at Abingdon can be done by bus that passes both ways every 10 mins. We will go there tomorrow before moving further upstream.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pangbourne to Wallingford

Miles 10.4 Locks 3
Another day of morning cruising and afternoon and overnight mooring. The two photos tonight show the new moorings at Wallingford. A bit disappointing as we expected a market only to find a single charity stall operating, still I got a couple of 00 gauge wagons for a couple of quid.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wargrave to Pangbourne

Miles 8.5 locks 4
One thing about missing an overnight stop at Henley is that it puts all the usual travelling timing out of kilter. We passed through Sonning a lot earlier than we have in the past and were rewarded with the light on the bridge being almost perfect for a good photograph. It looks good on the PC screen so I am hopeful that I will be able to get a good print when I get home. We stopped at Tesco at Reading and had lunch after shopping and then went over to Better Boats to top up with diesel. I went for quick look at the chandlers but found a cross between a charity shop and a second hand shop instead. At least the diesel was a very good price for the Thames at least 30p per litre than that being asked at the marinas near Windsor.
Still meeting unusual craft these two seemed to be having a sponsored pedalo cruise down the river they had 3 backup boats with them. We have moored on the National Trust meadow at Pangbourne, something that is also a product of a different start point. we even had time to have a snooze before walking to town to have a look around.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Marlow to Wargrave

Miles 9.7 Locks 4
Two boaty pics tonight one that NCCC members will recognise Lady Avon is back in the water at Peter Freebody's boatyard at Hurley. It is nice to see that she is back in the water and I presume that the bad planking has been replaced.
The next pic you can only take around Henley close to the regatta date.
We stopped for a couple of hours in Henley but decided that the GBP 9.00 was a bit steep for overnight moorings so we went through Marsh Lock and moored alongside Wargrave Marsh just by Poplar Eyot. We are definitely back in Red Kite country, we have been seeing them at different locations all day. The earliest sighting was at Windsor a couple of days ago.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Windsor to Marlow

Miles 13.3 Locks 5
We spent yesterday moored at the Baths Island in Windsor whilst we took the bus to Slough for some serious shopping. Today the run to Marlow only saw one shower at Cookham but there have been some heavy downpours since we arrived, in between the sun has been shining.
This view is looking upstream from Marlow lock, the weir is on the left. The next view of Marlow is looking downstream from our mooring.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Staines to Windsor

Miles 8 Locks 3
The day started with us travelling with our waterproof jackets and long trousers on. It ended with T shirts and shorts again. We reached Windsor before lunch so we set off to explore the town after lunch. Tonight's pic is of one of the French's trip boats about to pass under the Slough to Windsor rail bridge

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hampton Court to Staines

Miles 13 locks 5
This is what greeted us as we came up Molesey Lock this morning. All the locks we will go through are keeper operated and all we will have to do is pass up a rope before the gates are closed and the paddles lifted. The busiest by far today was Shepperton where we waited about 30 minutes as 14 craft of various sizes went up before us.
We cruised on to Staines our planned stopping place for tonight and eventually moored as shown , not before we had tried two other locations. One was too shallow the other we were right up against Staines road bridge so when the better moorings became available when the boats out for the weekend had gone off to their marinas we moved to our final place.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bulls Bridge to Hampton Court Well Almost

Miles15.5 Locks 12
We set off this morning at to make sure we were down at Brentford in time to catch the tide. It was a good thing we had because below the first lock we came too No 90 the pound below was empty. Here we are refilling it.

It cost us a good half hour to refill the pound to the satisfaction of the lock keeper and we made our way to Brentford and had enough time to stop at the services and do a pump-out, get water and have a shower too!. Then through the curiously named Brentford Gauging lock.And just after 12.45 we were on the tidal section heading for the Thames.

We had a great tidal cruise to Teddington hitting 6 mph at one stage. At Teddington we started our climb up locks that will end at Clayton top lock north of Banbury on the Oxford Canal but that is days away. Teddington lock with some cruisers the crew of the one in front had a fit when the lock keeper wanted me to move further forward.
After Teddington we passed Richmond and a Rowing regatta at Kingston and thought that the moorings at Hampton court would be full so we stopped a good 3/4mile short by the pavilion.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Harefield to Southall

Miles 10 Locks 5
We are timing our run into Brentford to catch the afternoon tide so a short leg today to Bulls Bridge where the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal meets the main line. There is also a large Tesco so we stocked up on essentials and tried to keep cool. we have seen some strange boats on our travels but this is one of the more unusual.
The canal gets very industrial after about two miles of moored boats around Uxbridge so no good photo opportunities so our last pic of the day is of Uxbridge Lock.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Boxmore to Harefield

Miles 12.8 Locks 21
The locks are spreading out a bit enabling us to get a few extra miles in today. We are moored above Black Jacks lock No 85. The lock and the cottage opposite Black Jacks Mill are shown below.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

To Stoke Hammond to Marsworth to Boxmoor

Stoke Bruerne to Stoke Hammond
Miles 20.6 Locks 7
Today was dominated by the journey round greater Milton Keynes it is not until Fenny Stratford that the old places appear. Th lock at Fenny Stratford is the first rise since we left Stoke Bruerne but the rise is only about 4 inches however the lock is grand enough to have a bridge running right across the middle which has to be opened before you can pass through the lock. As the sign below shows there are very stern warning to anyone who wants to cross the bridge in a vehicle.
Stoke Hammond to Marsworth
Miles 11.7 Locks 14
The day began with a disaster, the instruments gave all the indications that the drive belt to the alternator and water pump had come off or broken. On checking it was worse, a bracket that holds the alternator to the engine had fractured an this caused the belt to run slack. Pic of broken bracket below.
The plan was to run into Leighton Buzzard and find a place where the bracket could be repaired by welding it back together. The almost fairy tale part of the story is that within half an hour of setting off we came upon a floating blacksmith who re welded it up in about 5 minutes. See below.

The bracket was refitted when we moored up outside Tesco at Leighton Buzzard whilst the crew went and did the laundry and food shopping. I ill be keeping an eye on the fixings for the next few days. We moored for the night opposite the Dunstable Boat Club
Marsworth to Boxmoor
Miles 11.9 locks 26
We are now in the heavy locked section of the Grand Union Canal and we have crossed the summit and it is downhill all the way to the Thames. Although we have seen plenty of wide beam boats they all seem to be of the Continuous Mooring type, this morning the exception passed us just before we reached the summit level.
Since we moored at Boxmoor we have see 3 motors and two motors with buttys passing loaded with gravel. we tried to find out where up the canal it was going but, maybe because us northerners cannot understand the local accents, we could not figure out where the cargo was going. If you know send an E-Mail to

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Cogenhoe to Stoke Bruerne

Miles14.7 Locks 25 1 Long Tunnel
We are now of the River Nene moored 2 locks south of the Waterways Museum at Stoke Bruerne. The final trip in the river was not without incident as the photo below shows. This attached itself to the prop just as we were leaving Weston Favel lock, It stopped the engine dead and one prop blade was embedded so far I had to split the log to get it off. I suppose it can be called the river's revenge as I had wrongly stated that all locks above Wellingborough Upper lock were guillotine gates, this is not true the last 3 are mitre top and bottom.
After we had joined the B W Northampton Arm we passed the " Northampton Lighthouse" a disused lift testing tower. It is said that the next highest point due East is in the Ural Mountains in Russia.
The long Tunnel was Blisworth where Canal traffic travels both ways in the tunnel.
And finally the Waterways museum at Stoke Bruerne

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Irthlingborough to Cognhoe

Miles 11.8 locks 10
Our journey to Cogenhoe was interrupted at Wellingbouough for a visit to Tesco to top op vital supplies and get some food. The sections of the Nene on the approaches to the locks both upstream and downstream are very weedy. Thankfully the sections where there is a full flow of the river are in the main clear. The section of the river from Welllingborough to Irthlingborough seem to be a trial ground by EA for Lock Design. Three are Mitre gates top and bottom one of which has both paddles on the same side alongside each other, the other (Ditchford) has a horizontal radial gate. After Wellingborough the locks return to the Mitre gates at the top and a guillotine at the bottom.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Wadenhoe to Irthlingborough

Miles 12.6 Locks 7
More wildlife spotting today, another snake and a mink, not in the same place though. It was noticeable that there were no wildfowl any where on the section of the river that the mink was on.
We had help through the lock at Irthlingborough as the power to operate the lock had failed and EA staff were operating it from a generator in the back of their Land Rover. I thought that the services a few hundred yards further upstream would be affected which would have been a bind as I wanted to do our last free pump out before we left EA territory tomorrow. All was well it was working. In all we have had five free pump outs whilst we ha been off the BW system which at GBP 10.00 each at BW prices we have saved GBP 50.00 on the Gold Licence we bought to use the EA System as well as BW this year. It would have been even more had we been paying at marinas
The promised pictures taken at Wandsford are attached, I do have a few more and some video if there are any requests for more.
The answer to my question regarding slackers and penstocks is that they are what are termed as paddles on the River Nene and most of the BW system

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Fotheringhay to Wadenhoe

Miles 11 Locks 7
Still in a bad area for pictures but managed this taster for now.
Wildlife watching takes up a lot of the time when steering the boat at 4 mph. Today was slightly different. I Saw A Snake swimming in rhe river. Checking out recognition book it turned out to be a grass snake that appears to go swimming quite often.
We also saw a Common Buzzard and a red Kite flying in close company which I think is unusual
For members of RMRC I really saw a SNAKE

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