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Sunday, January 23, 2011

HANGING AROUND & LOOKING BACK

Well as the blog title suggests i`m not moving much of late and have been spending a lot of time laying the floor. My trip to the US is fast approaching and having been iced in for so long my intention has been to stay in the area of the marina, or at least not to far away, NB Valerie will live in while i`m away.
So not much cruising means not to much to blog about as i`m sure you don`t want to know the mundane daily aspects of living aboard.........you do?
Doing the floor is messy so after every session out comes the broom for a good clean up. The other day i travelled into town and purchased 10 satsumas for a pound. I relaxed in the evening and watched the Arsenal/Leeds match and during that night spent 3 hrs on the phone to Jaqueline in the states. Had a nice lie in till 11am had a shower and went for a walk. I`m bored writing this.

Started looking back through my picure discs and realised just looking at the places and events i had blogged what a good decision i made 5 yrs ago. Giving up living existing on the land with the daily ritual of  donating X amount of hours per day working only to see so many others living off my sweat, politicians, faceless councilors, the fat cat power company`s that squeeze more money from me to feed their shareholders greed, the list is long. Now i decide what i spend my money on and i dictate my pace of life. My freedom is measured by the way NB Valerie`s bow cuts through the waters that flow through my vast country estate. If i show the thousandsof miles of  my water road respect it will honour my right to a long and healthy lifestyle. 
I feel i must be doing something right as i look back at the memories because a lot of what has been seen and experienced can`t be seen through the eyes of a car traveller and best of all the rest of my life has been blessed by my meeting Jaqueline. 
So let me take you back and share a few memories.
Warwick Castle and Warwick itself are just a few minutes bus ride from the canal. Like many other places visited my home is close by so no long journeys to endure with the chance to have a second visit the following day to see and enjoy everything at a casual pace. 

Moored in York, the bridge is the City centre just 2 mins walk. The journey up the R. Trent was my first experience of tidal water cruising albeit scary at first the scale of the river against the canals made the trip
enjoyable. I remember climbing the 275 steps to the top of York Minster Cathedral and the views, walking the many narrow streets each with an historic past. Above The Shambles with buildings giving an impression of reaching out to each other as the rise above the narrow street. Shambles was the city`s butcher`s market and is mentioned in the Doomsday book.

The Bingley Five-Rise staircase locks in west Yorkshire built in 1774 lift the canal 60 feet. The whole trip across the Leeds & Liverpool canal brought stunning views of  countryside, canal buildings, and old Mills of the 19th Century standing silent their secrets hidden in the dusty interiors.
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Litchfield Cathedral easily accessed from both the Coventry or Trent  Mersey canals or even the northern sections of the BCN. Nice market in Lichfield and i remember buying a pair of steel toecapped boots for use on the boat for £10 that are as good as new today.

Cannock Chase seen from the Trent &  Mersey canal consists of 26 sq miles and is a designated area of outstanding beauty in other words it`s a great place to walk. Henry Vlll used it for hunting.

Pink Floyd playing live canalside? Ok so it`s Twycross Zoo near Atherstone on the Coventry canal. I remember finding it by a chance glance over the map and visited on a lovely sunny day. From the bus station i discovered a bus service that offered a bargain combined bus and zoo ticket. The 16 seater mini-bus turned up and went through villages and hamlets on the 40 min journey twice the direct route but hey i`m a boater so time is on my side and i sat back and enjoyed the countryside. 
Skipton is a lovely town in Yorkshire with a 900yr old castle and short canal arm that is a highly recommended walk. Also Skipton has an annual canal festival and the famous market stretches all up both sides of the main road past numerous alleyways or `Ginnels` as they call em up north. 

Now up here in Yorkshire things water side are big and this lift bridge, glad it didn`t need a windlass to get it up, is  the New Jct canal our route from the Aire & Calder to Keadby and a tidal cruise south on the R. Trent.

Still talking Yorkshire `Big` this is what you share water with on the Aire & Calder.



Gongoozlers are everywhere you go on the waterways. Just hear mum saying " now just watch but don`t think about chasing them"


The Bridgewater canal was a pleasure to cruise and an overnight stop at Dunham Massey led to witnessing a St,. Georges Day motor bike blessing by the local biker vicar. Hundreds of bikes both 2 & 3 wheeled took part and then attended a rock concert set up on a lorry trailer. Soft drinks were order of the day and the event ended at about 6pm with the police in attendance only having to control local traffic.Another spin off from this cruise break was easy access from Altrincham to Manchester by tram plus the National Trust Dunham Massey Hall and deer park.

Some unusual lock gear on the Rochdale in Manchester.

Friends passing by is a regular all over the system, here is Andrew Denny on Granny Buttons another blogger.

We all have our favourite mooring places and this one is on the Trent & Mersey past Anderton. It`s very quiet and looks down across green fields to the R. Weaver in the Acton Bridge area. Anyone new or experienced who hasn`t  used the free boat lift from Anderton to the Weaver is missing a really wonderful experience.

Llangollen Basin journeys end on the Llangollen Canal a trip i`ve made every one of my 5yrs afloat and i never tire of it. A slight downside is the £5/6 charge for a mooring with leccy hookup as the max 2 nights allowed is not enough to enjoy this lovely Welsh town and surrounding attractions. Saying that though you can moor up just outside the town and bus or walk in. The climb up to Castle Dinas Bran (hope that`s right my Welsh friends) is well worth the huffing & puffing for the incredible views. A walk to Horseshoe falls or a ride on the preserved steam railway, the old Cistercian Abbey are just some of the attractions here.



Unusual sights a boat appears to be lost on the road bridge but i think the lorry driver knows where it will all end.


Another nice mooring on the Shroppie just a short distance from the bottom lock of the Audlem flight.



Hitchhikers guide to the waterways.




                                A blurry hurriedly taken picture of a mink passing me in the shallows.


         And at the end the sun sets on another day of freedom but it all starts again 1st light                                     



Well i hope you enjoyed looking back with me and for sure i now have some ideas for cruising when i get back from the states. So here`s to safe journey`s to all boaters and those just living land side and dreaming all i can say is don`t give up the dream nothing is impossible if you determined.


1 comment:

LES said...

6 comments:
antinady said...
Remember most of those places too (oh, that's right we were with you) especially all the steps to the top of York Minster - not something I would do again!
Nice pics, bring back some good memories.
See you in a week or so. x

Sun Jan 23, 07:11:00 PM
Jaqueline Almdale said...
What a lovely look back Les...thanks for sharing with us, and for encouraging the dreamers out there...like me. 10 days, 14 hours, 54 minutes until you are here with me again.
I love you to the end of the universe--and back again!
Jaq

Sun Jan 23, 07:46:00 PM
LES said...
My darling Tina/Angel
How can i forget you and Andy were with me in York, those years we travelled together were fantastic, thankyou both. See you both soon.

Sun Jan 23, 08:37:00 PM
LES said...
Hi Jaq
How i laughed at your precise timing down to hours & mins.
For some dreams become a reality don`t they P. xx

Sun Jan 23, 08:46:00 PM
Nev Wells said...
Blimey Les, great minds think alike.... I have done such a post, it is a great way to reflect on a year.

Mine is set to appear on the 27th... look out for it !!

Nev

Mon Jan 24, 04:01:00 PM
LES said...
Nev
Just checked it and some good memories there it seems. It`s nice to look back, i find it gives me a push to re-visit places.

Fri Jan 28, 08:52:00 PM

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs