Sunday, March 29, 2009

Heading south for a blacking

Not our fault, not Sue’s either.  Some *!*!* clever !*!*! mucking about on a computer.  Why do they have to be so disruptive?  Warning: perhaps we need to avoid too many clever tricks like following other website / blogs automatically.  When one gets infected it affects the followers.  I understand that Sue’s ‘No Problem’ blog has been moved to
Unfortunately when I go there I still get the warning.

Norbury Junction is far behind us now.  We have been moving every day except Sundays and are now on the Coventry canal.  Most mornings were sunny so we got going early but usually found the days contained cold winds and showers.  Shopping at towns or walking in the woods took up part of the day.  There are some good walks through the woods and round the ponds at Pooley Fields Nature Reserve, once a coal mining area which has collapsed causing the ponds to form.

Polesworth is one place we keep coming back to over the years so we see many changes.  The sports pavilion is unused and boarded up now.  Broken glass scattered over the grass where young children may go heading for the swings.  What is left of the recycling bins is just melted plastic after being set alight.  The mooring are quiet enough opposite the unused tennis courts.  We have never had any problems staying overnight but today we move on stopping just short of the Atherstone flight of locks.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

'Following' problem

Sue's Blog site has a Google warning about malware as we have found out by trying to read her No Problem blog.
I was a 'Follower' which means that in my Blogger Dash Board there was a live link to her blog which instantly through up the warning preventing me from creating and posting.  I bypassed the warning and selected to stop following No Problem so I can post this. 
I have discovered that many other blogsites get the warning as well.  This may mean that they are either 'Followers', or have links that automatically go to the 'No Problem' website / blog.  If you own one of those affected bloggs may I suggest that you try to remove the link .
Let us hope that Sue can remove the malware so we can all enjoy reading her blog again.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Parting of friends

From Norton Junction on the Shropshire Union canal we continue our journey alone. Sue n Vic are taking a break from boating while their boat undergoes renovation. There is more to life for them at this time. A sense of purpose for us is to plan trips and meet friends and family during the summer months. The sun burnt off the early mist and boaters moved their boats in the morning sunshine. Spring is on its way.
As we continued on our way it seemed that every other bridge had a boat coming through. One occasion required a quick reaction to engage reverse. In doing so the prop picked up some rope and rag which had been thrown into the canal. The prop had no effect and the boat continued to drift forward. Thankfully the other boat had stopped in the bridge hole. Somehow we got our boat to the tow path and struggled to clear the prop.

We stopped at a bridge in order to check up on one of Sue’s Geo cache boxes. There before us was Valerie and Les called out a greeting. He had put the kettle on and stopped chopping up wood so we went on board for a chat. Thanks for that Les. 

It had taken us 10 days of moving to get from Ellesmere Port at the northern end to Autherley Junction at the southern end of the Shroppie. One of these days we will turn right onto the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal.
We have been that way once but this time we turn left again going through the narrow rock cutting, round bends and under many low bridges. We were forced to lower our back cover many times before finally removing it all together. Several local hire boat companies are getting their fleets ready for the Easter rush, the first major holiday of the year. Gaily was choc a block and as we crawled through a gap we passed Epiphany with John and Fiona on board. After a chat in the lock we continued to Penkridge.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Retracing our steps

The canal north of Chester proved to be shallow in places and we found some of the visitor moorings were difficult to get into but it was quiet and peaceful.  We had managed to place an order with Tesco to be delivered at Waverton.  

An ideal mooring with a car park was just by the bridge. 
After the delivery we moved on to Beeston.  Next day we had the 6 locks up to Bunbury to negotiate.  All wide enough for two narrow boats but remember that iron lock built in soft sand with the warning – ‘One at a time please’.  
Anglo Welsh have a lot of boats just below the staircase locks at Bunbury.  Wide beam boats just would not get past.  We got our diesel here for 66p a litre, this time needing over half a tank full. No boats were coming down so it was a matter getting up through the two joined locks so long as our paddle operators followed the rules.  Boats go in the bottom lock with the top lock full.  Then with the gates and paddles shut behind the top lock is emptied into the bottom one bringing the boats half way up.  Move the boats forward and shut the huge middle gates behind.  Then open the paddles to raise the boats to the top.  Simple !  You just have to see it to fully understand what is going on. 
Got on past Barbridge Junction where the canal branches off to Middlewich.  It was of course the Romans who discovered salt between Northwich and Middlewich.  We stopped near the Llangollen Junction to meet Geof and Mags on Seyella.  Thanks for the tea Mag. 

Then we were off past the other salt town of Nantwich and up the locks at Hack Green stopping at Moss Hall below Audlem.  The Audlem flight has 15 locks in 3 miles and with No Problem going up in front it was all done in 3 hours while the sun shone.  Some help was appreciated when the lock in front was emptied on our way up. 
With the current financial situation British Waterways are creating a back log of essential maintenance.  One day we may have to make a choice.  Which side of Braunston tunnel do you want to be?  The two year old land slip can only get worse by filling in and blocking the navigation.  NABO are asking for reports of missing facilities.  Canalside development tends to forget boaters needs.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cheshire Cat

Been moving every day this month of March and had not realised that Audlem is in Cheshire. It was only when we saw the cat on a pub sign near Chester that we knew it. 

Both boats Moore 2 Life and No Problem arrived at Ellesmere Port and after one of those super Sunday roasts on board No Problem we explored the Boat Museum. Much has changed since 2002 when we were here last. Many old boats, engines and workshops are still here. The Boat Museum Society realised back in the 1970’s that canal use was changing and they were concerned that the old working craft of the inland waterways would be lost. Some are kept here in full working order. They need not worry because there are many old working boat Societies looking after them all over the waterway system. 

While looking round we saw a huge ship moving on the Manchester Ship Canal.
It is not possible to go any further north from Ellesmere Port unless you get permission to go down on to the Manchester Ship Canal. So we have turned round to head south. A long five hour cruise has got us past Chester, the Cheshire Cat pub and eight locks. The first of which are those three huge staircase locks which are approached from under a railway bridge. An impressive set having been carved out of solid rock below the high Roman wall of Chester. 

Friday, March 06, 2009

Pushing north west

We have got past the Llangollen canal junction on the left, and the Middlewich branch on the right.  Looking towards the west we can see the Welsh mountains.  For some reason the locks are now wide and two narrowboats can go in together.  At Bunbury the two locks are joined together in a staircase.  We went in together with No Problem.  Normally it is two down and out before two can go up but this time one boat had entered the bottom lock.  

Instructions now required to do the ‘Bunbury Shuffle’.  We go down while the single boat comes up.  Three boats passing each other in a lock only wide enough for two!  

We stopped by Beeston Castle.  I joined Ann n Sue and walked up to the hill and returned while the girls and dogs continued to the top on a sunny afternoon.
Then it was off again next day to get to Chester.  Passing slowly past miles of boats seems to take ages.  I don’t suppose any of them will move into that new marina at Tattenhall.  Five locks in two miles take the canal down to the City walls where we stop.  

After a quick refreshing cup of tea we did the walk round the Chester Wall.  Built by the Romans and still existing after King Charles the first was defeated by Cromwell’s army.