Saturday, 31 July 2010

Kidsgrove To Milton On The Caldon Canal. 2 Locks, 1 Staircase And The Harecastle Tunnel. Then Onto The hazelhurst Junction On The Leek Branch, 6 Locks.

Eeee, there's nowt so queer as folk.......unless you are a Ginger escapee.

Moving on from Kidsgrove on Friday morning heading for another dose of the Harecastle tunnel, we passed the entrance/exit to the Maccalsfield canal with it's silly sign telling you to keep to the right.
Bearing in mind just where this bridge is on the waterways, you would have to be brain dead not to have worked that out by now.

Through the tunnel and into the "Potteries" where there are still quite a few of these Bottle Kilns standing.

Not too much further along and we were taking on another tank full of water under the watchful eye of James Brindleys statue here at Eturia.
 It very quickly turned into Piccadilly circus here as all of a sudden everyone needed to fill up for some reason or other, but we were first........... this time.

Away onto new territory again, this time onto the Caldon Canal. We did want to come up here last year but time was against us as we had to pick up some guests from Birmingham Airport.

The first thing the canal throws at you is this staircase lock which is quickly followed by some of the lowest bridges we have come across so far.

This sign made us laugh, share the locks where possible?

Unless you enter with another boat on the roof this just isn't happening around here.

We have fallen on our feet with this overnight spot, this is just one view, more to follow tomorrow.

Our ginger fur ball decided that she would have it away on her toes today, and where does she choose to do such a thing?... at a lock of course.
Where else could be more difficult?
She is a bad cat, a very bad cat.

What Moi..???

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


Thursday, 29 July 2010

Paddys Wood To Rode Heath, 14 Locks. Then Onto Kidsgrove 11 Locks.
Off up the hill......... heartbreak hill.

After a glorious evening at Paddys Wood on Tuesday we were ready to take on "Heartbreak Hill" as the run of locks through here is sometimes known. They are also known as the Cheshire locks but that doesn't quite have the same ring about it.

The rain was soon upon us again turning the day into a bit of a soggy slog as we climbed ever upwards. Most of the locks are these paired narrow ones, which (when both sides are working), make the going a bit easier when other boats are around. Even so it is still a long protracted climb and by the afternoon we were wet enough to say that's it!
Maybe tomorrow will be better...........


Well it wasn't any better today so here is a great big Raspberry to the weather guessers.

The whole day has just been about locking so I wont bore you with that, half way up towards the Red Bull yard we actually stopped in a full lock, turned the engine off and put the kettle on (Sic) to watch the rain pouring off the boat. There were no other boats around at the time and that was a welcome break.

The Macclesfield canal passes over the Trent And Mersey here just before it doubles back and joins it.

The water here is very thick and brown, everything is covered in a mud like substance that you don't want to get your nose too close to. This colour and mess is from an ironstone strata in the area.

We are just as thoroughly wet as when we were here last year, also our breath has been clearly visible again today.

I'm looking at that fire, we have coal and logs aboard, not to mention matches.............

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


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Middlewich To Paddys Wood. 8 Locks.

Who shrank the locks?

Leaving Middlewich and the rows of moored boats,

we were soon amongst lots of little locks.

A quick discussion about the last time we worked through one of these narrow locks took us right back to Foxton locks way back in April.
Where does the time go?


The Trent and Mersey along here runs very close to a main road, It seems quite surreal operating lock gear whilst lorries and cars rush by no more than fifteen feet away from the boat.


As usual though, it was not too long before we were back out into the peace and quiet of the countryside.


So many berries everywhere, Black, Red, and Elder all growing well, there are even lots of Sloes emerging, Autumn is fast approaching.

Here is a depressing but true thought, In about five weeks when the kids go back to school there will be the dreaded Christmas Trees in the shops.

Who's a cheerful little bunny then?

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


Sunday, 25 July 2010


Off with her head (again), and one very lucky fella.

I'm beginning to sound like Henry the VIII.

The stem seals have been causing us to use oil at the rate of five litres to every six hours running, this, even with the cheapest oils, is just not viable so the head was off once again.
We did meet someone on the Wigan flight with a BMC and exactly the same problem, he has been using boatyards to do the work and it is still not right.
I have now tried, in my own way, to make sure these seals don't move again.

Time will tell!


There were some great sky scape's on the way in to Middlewich.

Having the engine in bits meant we were unable to move from the moorings and had to suffer a Saturday night in a town full of teenagers.
A huge party got into full swing in one of the houses opposite which was really quite entertaining as we tried to recognise any of the music. It did end up along the lines of Superman and YMCA though.

Two thirty arrives with a huge splashing commotion behind the boat, this turned out to be a young man struggling to get out of the canal via our ropes.
By the time I had got the doors open he was lying on the towpath, this guy was sooo drunk or drugged he didn't know where he was or what was going on. He didn't even realise where the voice was coming from that was asking him if he was alright, mind you it was a completely pitch black night.

Falling in the canal at that time in the morning, in that state and on his own he is lucky he is not just another statistic.

A fellow Blogger, Alan from NB Lazydays, stopped by for a quick chat on Saturday having recognised Ubique as he passed by. I was up to my armpits in oil and spanners at the time so there was no real opportunity of welcoming him aboard.

This is another occasion where you never know who is reading the Blog until they tell you. I have added them to my small Blog list now though.

The engine is now alive again and a test run is booked for tomorrow, all being well, fingers crossed, touch wood and where is that lucky black cat when you need it?

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


Friday, 23 July 2010

Dane Valley To Middlewich. 1 Lock.

50 miles later and some bright spark sticks a lock in the way.

From the two Poolstock Locks at the bottom of the Wigan flight to the Big Lock at Middlewich is just about fifty miles of lock free cruising. There is the stop lock at Preston Brook tunnel of course but at only six inches it doesn't really count.

A shall we shan't we start to the day. We did and got away with it.

This end of the Trent and Mersey is surprisingly narrow at this time of year.
Generally if you are going to meet another boat it is normally around a bridge hole, dont ask me why this is, it just happens. You can cruise for two solitary hours or more, get to a bridge and there's a boat coming the other way.

The morning ritual of waking, washing, getting breakfast ect can take up to two hours with no boat activity, but the very second you let your ropes go....... here comes a boat.

The chances of that happening must be millions to one, making a bet that a boat will pass you at that exact time must be something like betting on the lottery, yet it happens time after time.

This Heron was confidently striding along the bottom as we steered rapidly away from him (or her).

Here we are then.
We have pulled in for a few days to give Ubique a bit of TLC. After a year and a half of pounding the waterways some things need a bit of attention so we have made the decision to stop completely until everything is sorted before continuing our travels.

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


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Marbury Country Park To Dane Valley.

A half day of dereliction then a bit of nature.

This is the old Lion Salt Works, open each day.

Or then again.... maybe not.

Some of this plant is still actually working, if not all of it. Those pipes are so corroded you would not run your central heating through them let alone what this plant must do.

Just a little wire fallen off the bridge, nothing to worry about just make sure you don't run into it that's all.

One of "lagoons" in this area caused by subsidence of the salt mines. It was known as a graveyard for old boats but most have been cleared over time leaving just this one.

The Conkers are well out as are some of the fruit bushes, if I could have stopped quickly enough we could have eaten our first ripe Blackberry today, an odd thought as the schools have only just closed for the summer.

Clover but no Bee, must be quicker next time.
I am trying to talk D into a new camera but if this old Box Brownie keeps churning out pictures like this I have got no chance.

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


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Little Leigh To Marbury Country Park. 2 Tunnels.

Coat and hat but no gloves this time............ an improvement.

Our overnight mooring afforded us great views over the Weaver navigation and beyond.
Setting off into a lovely bright morning the weather pattern repeated itself and the rain was soon with us once more.
Looking back through the boats log this is exactly the same as last year and by the twenty seventh we had the fire alight to combat the damp. Ooooerrrrr!

There are places to moor along the canals and places where you have to be fairly short of the little grey cells to even consider leaving a boat.
Practically blocking an overgrown Bridge Hole must come under the no little grey cells category. Privately owned as well.

Two tunnels for today, the first and shortest being a time controlled entry, we made the entrance window with three minutes to spare.
An ensuing forty minute wait in the rain otherwise.

The second is a bit of hit and hope, there is no way you can see if another boat is already in there until you go in yourself, if there is it means reversing out. Thankfully we were all alone.

It gets very crowded around here, these boats are on BW moorings but you still have to push through the trees to get past.

Well........... here it is, the first sign we have come across. A strange thing standing in the pouring rain taking a picture of a hose pipe ban sign.

This is water saving tip No 5, No 6 is below but I ran out of batteries.
No 6 is this little pearl of wisdom......"Make sure you turn the tap off when finished".

I am glad that sign was there or I might not have thought to do that. Thanks BW.

Water saving tips for BW.
No 1, Fix all the leaking gates.
No need for any more tips.


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


Monday, 19 July 2010

Moore To Little Leigh...ish Via The Runcorn Branch. 1 Stoplock And 1 Tunnel.

My Dongle can swim........can yours?

Yesterday was a day of lunacy at our mooring as boat after boat went past at silly speeds, where they were going or what they were doing is beyond me.
One Lewis Hamilton in his plastic racing boat actually caused waves to break all down the side of Ubique and subsequently knocked the Dongle aerial head first into the canal where it seemed to have drowned.

It refused to work from then on, and who can blame it?
But.........after a night drying on top of the engine it miraculously came back to life this morning and all was well again.

Sometimes you can make a difference.

This is the Nuclear Research Lab where we tried to moor last year and D got carted off to security. Full story here
This year, although not much of a threat to a terrorist, there are signs warning you to stay clear.

I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at the meeting to install these signs.

What do you mean a women just walked in here from her narrowboat?

She walked in and asked to moor...................Baaaaaldrick, we need a cunning plan.

We weren't going to go up there, but as we passed the entrance to the Runcorn Branch it looked too good to pass by. A deft bit of reversing and we were on our way.

An interesting couple of verandas in the guise of an old warehouse adorned these new builds.

Albeit they are nowhere near the canal you do get the general idea.

This bridge has the brickwork seamlessly moulded onto the rock base. Could this be done nowadays?...... I for one think not.

This branch of the canal has two very distinct halves, the lower section is all trees and large houses, where the upper section is mainly barbed and razor wire trying to protect the few boats moored along here.

This is the end of the line, rather aptly named Waterloo Bridge.
You have met your Waterloo.

Not fancying an overnight stop we moved back down and made our way through the Preston Brook tunnel and onto the Trent And Mersey.
This was along with seven, yes seven other boats doing exactly the same thing. The peacefulness of the Leeds Liverpool is now just a distant memory.

Note to BW.
Fix all the leaking gates and you wont have to rely on rainfall to fill and run your canal.

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


Sunday, 18 July 2010


More mooring at Moore.

Now, should we stay or should we go?
This place is like a motorway at the moment and there are three one way tunnels around the corner.
Two tunnels are uncontrolled. "You pays yer money you takes yer chance" type of thing.
It looks like rain.
The final day at St Andrews is on TV all day.
No contest.
Until next time.........................

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Lymm To Moore.

Gloves?.... Winter coats?..... What madness is this?

Slipping quietly away from Lymm this morning into the teeth of a howling wind, it was not too long before the rain started.
The rain got steadily stronger and stronger until it culminated with us sheltering under a bridge along with a day hire boat whose crew looked like they were seriously in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We both had our winter coats on today and you could clearly see our breath pluming as we plodded forth (I also had my gloves on, for which I am now a fully dyed in the wool wuss).

Things did improve greatly as time went by though, making our Peter Pan "flying through the rooftops" bit quite pleasurable.

Making a quick stop at the "Village"...? of Stockton Heath for supplies, (four supermarkets and more shops than you can shake a stick at make this quite some village), we had to walk over the Manchester Ship Canal get to Morrisons.

A long way down there somewhere is where we crossed over with Ubique on Tuesday.

Moving on again and there were plenty of delights to keep the eyes amused, this part of the Bridgewater is very rural, absolutely lock free and well worth the trip.

Modern sculptures, in only the finest pre-stressed concrete, along with an attached encampment of narrowboats could do nothing to destroy the enjoyment of the rest of this canal.

We have a lovely mooring alongside a field of golden wheat this afternoon, our lovely golden cat has vanished into it and blended in perfectly.

What else could she do?

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