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Sunday, May 31, 2009

ANDERTON

Anderton boat lift opened in 1875 and takes boats 50` down to the R. Weaver. In 1908 the hydraulics and steam power was changed to electrickery read more here.
It so happened that while i was here that Sue/Vic and `No Problem` were to make a trip down the lift to the Weaver and i managed to take some photo`s. The problem with using the lift is you don`t get the photo`s of your journey from Terra firma so it was a pleasure to be able to do this for No Problem. Some of Sue`s pics can be seen here.

Sue expertly steers No Problem into the holding area beneath the guillotine gate that will lower before the boat will enter the main lift tank or Caisson as they are called where again a gate will lower leaving the boat floating in the caisson ready to descend to the River Weaver.

The pics above and below were taken through the window of the control centre inside the visitor centre and show No Problem on the monitors leaving the holding tank to enter the caisson.


Safely out of the lift and on their way....enjoy and see you both again sometime.

The Boat lift is well worth a visit even if you don`t have a boat as the visitor centre is very much worth the £2 adult admission. With very good displays and films to watch and access down to the Weaver on foot or for an extra fee a trip can be made by boat. Anderton visitor centre.

Friday, May 29, 2009

NANTWICH to ANDERTON

So after giving my blood i set off from Nantwich with 2 attractive young nurses to make sure i was gonna be ok...........alright it`s just wishful thinking....if only.......maybe you get that after giving a 100 pints.....no it`s MP`s get that treatment on expenses. Anyway up the Shroppie to

Barbridge Jct. and right turn onto the Middlewich Arm passing Mallard the boat not the steam engine i cruised on for quite a while until i came across Sue/Vic on No Problem and moored in front of them and as it was such a nice quiet mooring spent a couple of nights before it was time for No Problem to head off towards the R. Weaver.
The mooring here on the Middlewich Arm is not special as there are hundreds of similar ones all
over the system. Across the canal just a field of cows plus the lucky Bull above who every day after milking walked along the canal and over the bridge to graze in the fields on the towpath
side. The picture above i took after doing the washing up as i thought you might like to see my view as i slave away over the sink. The picture below is from outside the galley window gives a better idea of the scenery.
So on i went to Middlewich and a visit to Tesco to stock up the galley and as the weather was sunny i decided to stay a couple of days and wash the remaining curtains that had all become quite dirty from the fire being alight 24/7 over winter. The roller blinds ended up being washed in the bath and to my surprise after laying flat on the roof to dry came up real good.
But all good things come to an end and it was time to forget washing and `carry on cruising` so after a quick visit to Maureen at the Wardle lock cottage where she now lives after a life time of boating.....that`s working boats not leisure boating it was time to up anchor and leave the Arm and go onto the Trent & Mersey Canal towards Anderton as there are a couple of places i want to visit that were missed on the last trip this way.
After the 4 locks at Middlewich it would be lock free for quite a long stretch and it wasn`t long before i came across the mooring below on the non towpath side with just space for 2/3 boats provided by the Broken Cross Boat Club and moored up for a quick sarnie and a beer. I woke up 3 hours later!!!
I`ll leave you with the picture below showing what happens when a territorial Cob with young in
the area spot an un-invited guest.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

BLOOD & TRANSPLANT

Something that had been on my `to do` list for a long time was to become a Blood Donor and reading the blog of John/Fiona aboard NB EPIPHANY (April 28th) i noted that John had given blood and this reminded me to get this off my `to do` list.
The National Blood Service website gives all the details plus a video tour and also has a search facility for the mobile donor clinics all over the country.
This was the reason i stayed a little bit longer Nantwich than i should have on the 48hr mooring but as it happened no one queried it and i`m sure if BW had come along checking they would have given me the extra time for a worthwhile purpose. A pint was drained from my arm in 9 minutes not by Vampires as i suggested in a past blog but by a very nice nurse who kept a watchful eye on the virgin donor.

Tea and biscuits were available while donors rested before going about their lives.

I have received a text thanking me for the donation and saying i would learn soon of my blood group. So for the next 16 weeks before my next donation my body can make up the pint.
Please give it a go and if like me you are petrified of needles don`t worry it`s nothing like the dentists needle and you hardly feel anything....honest...trust me....i`m a boater.

These brave souls below had hired a boat for the day but hadn`t paid extra for a guaranteed sunny day so it was up with the brolly`s and cruise on.
The picture below was taken in Nantwich basin when i cruised in to fill with diesel. I had entered from left of picture and needed to turn and reverse onto the diesel bay but as you can see it was
occupied. In the end i decided to turn sand reverse along side the boat and hearing my name called it was only then i noticed it was John & Cathy on NB Marmaduke.
It turned out that Barrus had decided to transplant a brand new engine for the original 1 yr old one that had been giving minor problems for a while......and all free, now that`s what you call good service.
So over bacon sarnies and cups of tea an hour was spent playing catch up.......thanks for the hospitality guys and hope to meet you again soon.

Monday, May 25, 2009

PLUGGING a LEAK

The Aqueduct at Nantwich has been leaking for years not from the iron trough but through the bank next to it. Contractors were on site to plug the leak by pumping grout under high pressure
through several bore holes that had been made in the towpath. Once they had detected the wet
spots the grout went in and a couple of days later i noticed the brickwork was drying out so it
seems to have done the trick.


Since coming off the Llangollen i have or was (not there now) moored up longer than the 48hrs
allowed, the reason was i had an appointment with a mobile Vampire and had mixed up the dates but more on that next time.
While here it was nice to meet up with fellow blogger and good friend Sue who together with hubby Vic cruise the waterways on No Problem.
Sue and Vic have recently had some work done on No Problem and very smart the interior now looks.
I`ll leave you with the sunset over Hurleston Reservoir.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Roundheads & Cavaliers at MARBURY?


Arriving at Marbury lock i noticed a lot of caravans and camper vans in the adjacent field and when i asked what the attraction was to camp here i was told of the Marbury show just a 10 minute walk along the lane. The description of what was going on made me decide to moor up below the lock and pay a visit.

The event was `Marbury Merry Days` festival and country fair an annual event to raise funds for the 15c St. Michael`s Church.

There were side shows, craft fair, dog gymkhana & show,cakes, plants etc. etc. Also a 6km fun run where a competitor collapsed and ended up being airlifted to hospital but i see from their website the patient has been released from hospital.

An added feature this year was the `Sealed Knot`..... a what knot i hear. Turns out to be a group that attend events and do Civil War re-enactments with Round heads & Cavaliers doing battle in a beautiful setting between the Mere and the church on the hill. Muskets and cannon fire added to the realism.
A great w`end of entertainment for the £4 admission but by the time I arrived the pay booths had been dismantled so i had nearly 2 hours to wander round FREE, I do like a bargain.


You see that small building to the right of the soldiers heads it was added in 2000 but when i
went inside the craftsmanship that went into the Nave roof distracted me and i forgot to see what the extension was for.





View across the Mere from the church, the show ground being just to the left running down to the Mere.



Soldiers stand behind the church wall while a detachment go down to battle with the approaching Round heads or Cavaliers, don`t ask me who was who.
Loud Musket fire from the approaching soldiers and from the defenders some of whom are on the church roof. Cannons boom as they fire from the side of the church, all quite entertaining and very realistically re-enacted.
A few pics below of some of the exhibits.

One of the old timber framed buildings in the village. Even without the show going on i strongly recommend boaters or any one visiting the village as the setting is just beautiful.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

RACING & CHEROKEE

Met up with Sue & Martyn on Cherokee and discovered they read the blog and a pleasant 30 minutes was spent chatting until the approach of another boat meant i had better get myself through the lock. Nice to meet you both and until the next time enjoy.

After coming down the locks at Grindley Brook the roaring of engines could be heard and below the cause of it can be seen. Now it`s not everyday you can get to watch the racing for free and as it was lunchtime i moored opposite an an enjoyable hour passed by sitting on the front deck. By the time i was ready to move off 3 other boats had moored to do the same plus a few walkers were watching from the towpath.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SWAN UPDATE

After hatching on Mon.&Tues they both on Wednesday took to the water for the first time.
After a while it was decided hitching was a good way to travel.
The nest still has 2 eggs but after mum getting back on the nest for minutes each time and turning the eggs i think she has sensed they arn`t gonna hatch for whatever reason and now it has been an hour since they all went off probably to find an easier place for the chicks to get in and out of the water as where the nest is the bank was to high.
It was nice to witness the first steps of life for these Cygnets and now i await the Moorhen and Coot broods to appear.

IN and OUT

The Whixhall & Bettisfield Mosses are located between bridges 45 & 47 and the Welsh Border mentioned later in this blog is about half way between 46&47. If you click on the link above the map will show the canal and the Prees arm and to the left of the arm on the canal bend by the `A` of Taraloka is where i entered and took the pictures. Just scroll the map around. The black line going through the `r` of Shropshire union canal is the Welsh border where i took the pictures lower down.
Commercial Peat cutting stopped here in the early 1990`s and it is now a nature reserve covering 2,300acres 70% of which is in Wales. Walks of 2-4 km are clearly marked and mapped at various entry points along the canal.
Showing just how much Peat still remains

Just the odd wooden sleeper is all that remains of the large tramway system that covered the Mosses taking cut peat to the old works below.

As well as crossing the England/Wales border at Chirk it is also crossed near Bettisfield between the Prees Arm and bridge 49. The entry into Wales is brief lasting only about 1 1/2miles before once again entering English Shropshire.
So here we have NB Valerie not sure of her nationality with her stern still in Wales and below the
bow back in England. Me i went to the galley in Wales and made a Paned o De then sat on the front deck to drink my cup of tea while she decided. It seems NB Valerie is English as when i started the engine she cruised into England.
Just past the Prees Arm heading for Whitchurch is The Barn a very isolated shop that sells amongst other things home made cakes so a stop had to be made after all a cuppa goes down well
with home made cake. So walking through the gardens the shop is in the Barn at the top of the yard. Enquiring after chocolate cake the lady told me she had just taken some chocolate Brownies out of the oven and off she went into the farmhouse returning with a tray of still warm cakes.
Half an hour later, well we were chatting, i exited with 8 brownies and a 4 pack of beef burgers.
Now as this all happened a while ago i can tell you that those burgers were 95% meat produced on a friends local farm and they were fantastic unlike the Bird`s Eye ones i last had that contained god knows what and shrunk to the size of almost bottle tops.
Give the place a try if you pass by and have a look through the second hand books for sale and enjoy a chat with the friendly lady who cooks so well.

Swan update: now 2 chicks hatched and i think i can see just 2 more eggs.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

CHIRK VIDEO

Just a short video i took by taping the camera to an upturned plastic box on the front locker. The wind was picked up on the microphone and i think the camera was tilted up to much and the glare affected the quality as at the end the trees gave a better picture. Still something different eh!
videoC
Coming soon on a blog near you, well this one actually,

Cavaliers & Roundheads
Grass track racing
In & Out
Cherokee (no not red Indians)
Blood
Plug the leak

and many more blockbusting stories of life along the Inland Waterways.

Must get blogging as there is lots to publish. The blog as you know is always behind my actual progress as is the `Where am I now` map link. At the moment i am off the Llangollen and loitering for an appointment but more on that later.

Monday, May 18, 2009

NEWBORN

Yes I know 2 blogs in one day,"is he feeling ok"I hear you say. Well this is breaking news, excuse the pun but Mrs swan directly opposite my mooring has one in the nest and as far as i can see perhaps 4 more to hatch.

This little one is less than 24 hrs old as mum was off the nest yesterday and all eggs were intact.
Now when the Ducklings appeared on other boaters blogs it was weeks before i spotted any ducklings so i am claiming the youngest Cygnets to be photographed by a blogger, unless anyone has any claims.

Seriously though it`s not a competition between us Bloggers as we are all fortunate to see close up mother nature at work.


IN & AROUND LLANGOLLEN

Well here are the pictures to prove i climbed the Mountain, ok it was a big hill but it felt like i was climbing Everest.
Dinas Bran Castle stands 1000` above sea level and was built in the mid 1200`s, were Barret Homes around then? Read more here and see some better pictures than mine.




Looking down on Llangollen 750` below.


I thought this was the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct but from what i`ve read i believe it to be the Railway viaduct that carries the line to Ruabon that can be seen as you boat across the Aqueduct.



On the far right of picture can be seen the white roof of the Royal International Pavilion venue for concerts and festivals most famous for the annual Musical Eisteddfod.




NB Valerie moored in the marina at Llangollen. Only 5 boats were moored when i took this picture leaving at least 30 odd empty moorings. This time of year is the best for cruising the Llangollen Canal as high summer can be like a slow moving M25.





One of the bridges along the feeder arm that brings millions of gallons of water off the R. Dee all the way down to Hurleston Reservoir.






Above and below the remains of Valle Crucis Abbey founded by Cistercian Monks in 1201. It can
easily be visited with no mountain climbing from bridge 48 by the small motor museum along the feeder arm.