Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Staying Put At Stone.

Our cunning plan today was to arise early...ish (7:30) and get a few more hours along the canal before the rains hit.

The rains hit at 8:00 even before we had finished breakfast, as I sit here typing this at 1:30 it is still belting down and we have got the fire alight again which is making us both warm, cosy and just that little bit sleepy.

I don't think it will be too long before I am reading what is written on the insides of my eyelids.

Here is another picture to tell a tale, these moorings were empty when we arrived.

A steady stream of private boaters have been giving up and are now waiting for a change in the weather.

I have a lot of sympathy for the hire boaters who are having to keep going to wherever it is they are going, this is their summer holiday.

All the cheery waving and smiling has gone out of the window at the moment though.

Here are a couple of pictures of the bottom end of the Macclesfield where it became so straight you can see a bridge through a bridge through a bridge and so on.

That's it for now, the eyelids are starting to droop as the warmth does its job.

A nice warm fire in July just about sums up the English summer doesn't it!

Until tomorrow...........................................

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Stoke On Trent to Stone. 9 Locks.

Moved over to the water point at Etruria (Named after the Wedgwood house and pottery) in lovely morning sunshine, half way through the fill and it was back to the falling water again.

Opposite the point stands this statue of James Brindley who was the Trent and Merseys creator. Strangely though this canal is listed on Google maps as the Grand Trunk Canal.

Whatever its name it is a bit of a treat to get back to a canal that actually has some water in it, the Maccie is also a very shallow canal easily matching all the "Northern" ones.

Another couple of these Bottle Kilns, these ones seem to have been left standing while the powers that be built a housing estate around them.

They do say that every picture tells a story.
This one is of our chimney smoking away on the 25th July as we try to keep the damp at bay.

Some creatures don't mind this weather as this mummy Duck producing yet another brood seems to prove.

This is the Dolphin boatyard that is fully functioning, that sign along the front of the building states:
Tackle & Bait, Air Guns, Archery, Boats & Engines and..................
Country & Western Line Dancing.
I don't know what to say about that, it might appeal to some boaters.

If you can bear with me for these next two pictures and look fairly hard at the ends of the lock beams in each one.

Those black lumps are people!
They arrived at the lock from an approaching boat, opened the paddles as fast as they could after we had entered then sat on the floor perfectly still with their backs to each other.

As soon as the lock had emptied they burst into life again winding the paddles shut and opening the gates after which they sat down again.
This is the strangest behaviour I have witnessed to date, it reminded me of the fight scene in the Phantom Menace with Darth Maul.

We are staying put in Stone today (Tues), so it should be an easy guess as to what the weather is doing again.

Until the next time.......................................

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Mow Cop to Kidsgrove On The Trent & Mersey. 1 Stop Lock. Then Kidsgrove To Stoke On Trent. 1 Tunnel.

A bit of a catch up here as I have got a day behind somehow, so I will Blog for two days in one. Another cunning plan.

Not too sure what to make of this bridge, it looks like the side of a Viking Longship stretched across the canal.

We have arrived at the Trent & Mersey to find these paired locks with an old toll booth in the middle.

We then had a debate as to which one we should use to go down, canal etiquette being what it is we didn't want a stressed boater telling us we are doing it wrongly. As it turned out it didn't matter either way.

The odd colour of the water is caused by local ironstone strata.

No I'm not being clever..... I read that in a book.

I had to reverse Ubique through this lock as we wanted to go to the local Tescos, there were no moorings above the lock and nowhere to turn around below it, that got some of the local kiddies confused for a while.

On getting back on board the sky took on "that" look again only this time accompanied by thunder and lightning.

Down it came again in droves, the canal was hissing such was the force of the drops as they landed. We were going nowhere for the rest of the day, so we had a cup of tea................ believe that and you will believe anything.

Off we went into a nice bright sunny morning for a change, only to go and spend an hour of it in pitch blackness chugging through the Harecastle Tunnel. This one was an absolute breeze, dead straight and quite wide.

The claim to fame of this one is that once the convoy of boats are inside............... they shut the doors at the other end, nice.

At least if you are going the other way and they shut the doors you can still see a way out at the other end.

This is the door end and you can see how low these tunnels get by those marker chains hanging from the roof, if you touch one you don't enter.

We have been looking out for these Bottle Kilns as there were so many potteries along this stretch. Apparently they liked to send the pots by canal as it was a softer form of transport than the roads. I think that this one is fairly near the old and now demolished Wedgwood site, they have moved along the canal now and we are going to go for the trip around as it is open to the public.

A bit of a miracle has happened, no rain for a whole day (Sat).

Sunday on the other hand is a complete washout again, staying put at Stoke it is then.

Until next time...............................

Friday, 24 July 2009

Bosley Locks to Mow Cop.

Another fairly short day today as we are getting good at reading the weather and were safely moored before it all started again.

We awoke this morning under a cloud, not quite what you might be thinking but this hump of rock that has the unlikely name of the Cloud.

It can be seen for miles around and we have been staring at it for what seems a very long time now as we have come down the Maccie.

This impressive building is Ramsdell Hall, not quite the norm for the canal.... don't you know. Now clear orf from ones grounds.

Here we go again, the clouds get ready to join forces and let go of what they are holding.
We estimated about half an hour and we were right.

Near where we are moored is a boatyard that actually had a set of these decorative chains for holding the chimney on the boat in case a tree knocks it over. I have been trying for ages to get a set and have been quoted all sorts of prices starting from £25 and then going to silly money.
I found these tucked away under a pile of key rings at the yards shop and the nice lady said give me two quid, those clouds definitely had a silver lining.

We should be back onto the Trent & Mersey tomorrow which will complete our "South Pennine Ring"

So until then......................

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Bridge 43 to the Bottom of Bosley Locks.

Not a very long post today as we are on dial up speed........ speed is completely the wrong word to use in this case.

The rain came, the rain saw and the rain conquered.

These narrow locks are different yet again in that they have two sets of mitred gates instead of one set at the bottom and a single top gate.

Off we started down the Bosley flight of twelve locks when we picked up something around the propeller.
As it turned out I was very glad that we did this time.

While I was grovelling in the bilge I noticed a pile of grease balanced on top of the now quite hot exhaust pipe. This turned out to be from a split pipe on the stern tube greaser.
An hour later we were on our way again and thanking whoever it is that you have to thank when something like that happens.

The clouds gathered and gathered

until they looked like this, then they let it all go.

We moored as soon as we could but it was a little late as the warm dry feeling had worn off.

Until tomorrow................................

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Marple Junction to Bridge 43 Macclesfield Canal.

Do you know, that even with all this beautiful scenery around me and this relaxing way of life that I lead I can still wake up grumpy.

Other times though, I just let her sleep!!

At last we are off again, sitting around and watching telly is ok for a while but then the feet start to get itchy again, even though it was another wet day the ropes were off the bank and we were gone.

Back through all the views nature can muster...... until someone stuck a pylon in the way, just ignore that.

A bit further along we came across this encampment of boats, they stretched on and on, It will take us a bit of time to get used to all of this again.

There are nearly 100 bridges along this canal although it is only 26 miles in length. Some of them are these delightfully named "Snake Bridges". We are moving under it and the photo has been taken looking backwards.

These are where the towpath changes from one side of the canal to the other and are built in such a way as to make it unnecessary to disconnect the horses from the barge that they were towing.

I trotted over one of these as we had spotted a garage nearby and we needed petrol for the generator. I know we have been out here for a while now but the cashier should have been wearing a mask and holding some sort of weapon as she mugged me for £6.14 for a good old gallon of petrol.

I can remember when it was..................................Ok Ill shut up now.

Another one that has bitten the dust, this one has been here for a long time and is directly opposite to a boatyards entrance. Cant help thinking that there are a lot of missed opportunities along the canals.

This old mill at Bollington has had a makeover and has a plethora of cafes, drop in centres and suchlike all tucked up in its old world charm. There is even a tree growing near the top of its very large chimney.

This well tended garden caught my eye just before we moored for the day, the old Ducks seem to like it as well.

When the sun did come out we were moored opposite all this greenery which helped to turn the water green too. Nice.

12 locks to do tomorrow taking us down from the summit by 118ft, hopefully it wont rain again!

Until then...........................................

Staying put at Marple Junction.

While we have been waiting around here for the boat to dry out it has given us the opportunity to watch some golf, this turned into a three day marathon golf fest.

It was good though!

As you can see I have eventually got some pictures to upload, to do this I had to be sitting here at 05:30 this morning, not good. I think it might be time to find another Blog host, one that actually works when it gets busy.

The pictures below are some I promised to put on and others from our approach to Marple.

This was before the weather turned for the worse, lovely scene.

Were those clouds building up? getting ready for a non stop drenching lasting two days. At least we are not missing any good cruising weather while we wait, there is always a silver lining somewhere.

A couple more of that terrific aqueduct.

This last one is of the final few locks to the very top, once again it is one of "those" arrivals where the boat is on the other side of the road to the houses.
That is quite a steep climb up that road and watching the cars whisk past in seconds as we move slowly but surely to the top gives you a good sense of perspective.

Well the boat is dry again and the flooring is back where it should be, a quick tankful of water and we will be back on our travels.

Until tomorrow........................(hopefully, fingers crossed, touch wood and all that stuff)

Monday, 20 July 2009

Another two days go by and I still cannot upload any pictures to this site.

I do not know what is going on here, but if any of you other Bloggers out there can help, I could really use some right now.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Marple Junction on the Macclesfield Canal.

A total lack of pictures today for which I do apologise but this Blogger site is in stress mode at the moment.

I know it is too many people Blogging at the same time, but to my mind if it is this popular why are the powers that be not increasing the sites capacity? To get anything to upload you have to post early in the morning or forget it.

Back to the boat.

We have had a bit of a problem of late.

Walking across the bedroom carpet I realised that my socks were getting wet, this is not good on a boat,............ water should be on the outside.

Anyway to cut a very long story short, the leak was from the hot water pipe at the mixer tap in the bathroom, the water had been seeping down the pipe and under the waterproof floor covering until it found a way out through the bedroom carpet.

This has caused us to pull all the carpet and floor covering up to dry everything out, what a mess!!!

Thanks to this we are staying at Marple Junction for a couple of days where we have been taken aback as to how many boats there are moving around here. We have been used to seeing no more than one or two boats a day for over a month now, coming into this melee of boaters has brought us back to earth with a bump.

This canal is very easy to work, hardly any locks with a few swing bridges, this might account for all these weekenders.

I now have another boat name to add to my list:

Moose Drool, The Vented Spleen, Floater and now Felonious Mongoose,
this is a good one with accompanying picture, which of course I cannot upload at the moment

A roaring fire was the order of the day yesterday as the rain has been falling for two days now and the air was just so damp,............ this is July isn't it?

Until tomorrow.................

Friday, 17 July 2009

Romiley to Bridge 22 on the Upper Peak Forest Canal.

Moving on through the sixteen locks of the Marple Flight, found us being lifted 214ft and making us 500ft above sea level..............strange being in a boat this high up.

This collection of real oldies was outside of the museum at the Dunkinfield junction, they look like they have been there a while and if they are being restored I couldn't see any signs of work.

Along the canal we crossed another aqueduct with a railway viaduct looking down on us. The canal is 100ft above the river making that railway a long way up indeed. I have more pictures of this aqueduct which I will post when they are sorted out.

Now we start into the meat of this canal, each lock averages a thirteen foot rise but when the scenery is this good nobody minds. The people in this picture are a hire crew who have set themselves a target of places they must get to, but to do this they are having to cruise for ten to eleven hours a day!!
That doesn't seem much of a holiday to me and is not really the idea of having a narrowboat, each to their own I suppose.

The locks here are nothing short of spectacular when D opens the gate paddles, the sense of being in a washing machine is quite strong.

Hows this for a mooring? we were along the Upper Peak Forest here stopping early just for the view.

This was the other side of the canal.
Moving on from here we went right to the end basin but the description in the books of how nice it is up there seems to have been slightly exaggerated so we turned around and came back to the view.

We should be moving on to the Macclesfield tomorrow so until then...................

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Saddleworth to Staleybridge. 16 Locks 1 Tunnel. Then Staleybridge to Romiley 5 locks and Turning onto the Lower Peak Forest Canal.

Bit of a catch up here condensing two days into one. Nothing would upload to the Blogger site for a while through here.

As we began to work our way down the rest of the locks on this side of the tunnel, we were surrounded by people once again seemingly coming out of nowhere. There are eight people watching the water flow into this lock. As soon as we had worked through they moved onto the next one and watched the whole process again. A bit like the crowds moving from tee to tee on the golf course.

It was here that a couple armed with large cameras followed us down through nine locks taking pictures all the way. As it turned out photography is their new hobby and upon taking our email address they have promised to send us some photos.

A very modern, square and featureless tunnel here, back to the "storm drain" approach.

This is looking back after making the strangest approach to the last lock on the Huddersfield Narrow canal.
Chugging on the west side of the tunnel has taken us through some of the best canalscape that we have seen so far, although the canal is quite slow to work as the locks fill at their own pace (slightly faster than the Tectonic Plates) and the shallowness keeps the speed under two miles an hour, everything else is just perfect. Stone built houses and walls line the way where there are no trees to dapple the water with sunlight and...............get the picture?

One more quirky set of lock beams, these are in the closed position and only look normal when opened.

We have now turned onto the Lower Peak forest canal and are facing another flight of 16 locks in the morning,

so until tomorrow.......................

Monday, 13 July 2009

Onto Saddleworth. 2 locks.

After the Standedge tunnel trip, we have found a nice little mooring at the village of Saddleworth where we will be staying for a couple of days.

How nice is that? all we have to do is walk to the left down the embankment and we are amongst the shops. There does seem to be proportionally more Cafes and cream cake shops here than other shops, must be very touristy at the right times.

The village does boast it's own police station though, complete with the old blue lamp. "Evening all". (Am I showing my age here?)

Not far from the village is this fairly new pub/eating house which has been built next to a new marina. The marina has one boat in it and has a locked bridge for the entrance, the pub has no moorings at all, this all seems a terrific waste on a canal very short of moorings and pubs.

Working through some of the locks here you begin to notice these date stones set in the walls as the water level drops. This 1871 stone is the earliest one I could find, 138 years old,....... now that is older than me. Only just says D. Another swim? says I.

After all the low water problems on the East side of the tunnel the West side has far too much, even flooding this bridge towpath.

We are now going to be heading off towards Birmingham to pick up another couple of passengers/lock slaves in August.

Until tomorrow............................