Friday, 11 August 2017

Llangollen

We took the narrow, winding canal through to Llangollen for a couple of days.
Llangollen motorcycle Festival
Although it is only 4 miles, it took us approximately 3 hours!  At times you have to  check if another boat is coming in the opposite direction as there isn't the room for two boats to pass.  It is lovely and scenic but you have to concentrate the whole length due to the depth of the canal in places and other boaters.   The moorings in Llangollen basin are lovely and there are plenty (maximum stay 48 hours).      The Llangollen motorcycle festival was in full flow when we arrived.  We had a walk to horseshoe falls, where the canal begins its life, passing the horse drawn trip boat on the way.    Llangollen canal is a bustling tourist town with many shops and attractions.
Ruins of Dinas Bran Castle
Whilst we were moored in the basin we also walked up to the ruins of Dinas Bran Castle, a medieval fortress abandoned in 1277.  There are amazing views from the top, well worth the hike and a slight diversion due to Nugget!

It was lovely to see Martin and Andrea who joined us for the return journey to Trevor Basin.  After previous failed attempts by Helen and Chris, and with Martin and Andrea's support, we 'enjoyed' the complete walk across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  Thanks to Martin, we also had a drive up the Horseshoe Pass - truly amazing views from the top and a lovely calm sunny day.
    
      

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Chirk and Pontcysyllte Aqueducts!

Thursday 3 August -
 Giving us a little practise before the 'big one', our journey took us over Chirk Aqueduct which runs parallel to a railway viaduct. Once you leave the aqueduct, you enter Chirk Tunnel.  You have to ensure there are no boats coming through in the opposite direction through both Chirk and Whitehouse Tunnel before entering. We moored up outside  Chirk Marina which is useful as it has Elsan facilities (£2) and they have overnight mooring facilities if required. 


Friday  4 August -
 They day dawned bright and breezy and after cruising for about 45 minutes, passing through Whitehouse Tunnel and a single lift bridge, there is a sharp bend and then lo and behold, the canal disappears into the sky!

Yes, we have reached the engineering marvel that is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. Nervous anticipation - but its too late as you navigate across the 1000ft narrow trough of iron plates.  Hold on tight as there is absolutely nothing between you and the 126ft drop to the River Dee running beneath the aqueduct.



The aqueduct was constructed 1795 - 1805.  There are limited but delightful moorings in Trevor Basin, plenty to explore where there is a visitors centre, café and pub . A 15-20 minute walk takes you to the village of Cefn- Mawr. Visit the old high street for a glimpse back in time. 
There is a large Tesco on the outskirts of the town. 

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Nantwich to Chirk


Hurlestone Junction to Poveys lock (approximately one mile from Grindley Brook), total cruising time 7.5 hours.  A nice quiet part of the canal with plenty of moorings, courtesy of the Shropshire Canal Society.
One of the many lift bridges
Saturday 29 July - Martin, Shirley and Alex came to visit us and help us up the Grindley Brook Locks, including the staircase lock which is under the supervision of a lock Keeper.  The locks were very quiet so the ascent took a mere 1.5 hours leaving plenty of time for an ice cream at the wonderful canal side cafe.   There are plenty of pleasant moorings above and below the locks.  The nearby Horse and Jockey pub is well worth a visit - dogs, children, muddy boots are made welcome.  The food was delicious.

Sunday, we cruised from  Grindley Brook to Platt Lane Bridge - total cruising 2.5 hours, pausing on the way to rescue a narrowboat which had run aground near a bridge.
Blake Mere - view from the moorings



Monday - We cruised through to Blake Mere, there are some fantastic moorings at the side of the mere with breathtaking views.  After pulling another boat to safety, we had a short walk into Ellesmere and enjoyed the afternoon sat watching the wildlife on the mere. 

Tuesday - After a short 30 minute cruise, you are in Ellesmere, where you can moor up in the arm in town next to Tesco - handy for stocking up.  The town has everything you need.  and after stocking up on provisions we resumed our cruise before mooring at bridge 7W. 

Ellesmere Basin

Wednesday  - a mixture of sun and showers all day.  We cruised through from Bridge 7W to   bridge 21, Chirk - total cruising time 3 hours. 

There was a tailback of 14 boats waiting to descend the New Marton locks, luckily we were going the other way!  In the afternoon we had a lovely walk over the Chirk Aqueduct and into the town centre.  Nugget had a run in the large park and we had a look round the Parish Church of St Marys.  Chirk is a Welsh border town and its main road was constructed by Thomas Telford. Chirk is now bypassed by the main A5 trunk road into Wales.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Wigan to Nantwich

27 May 2017 - 3 June 2017

Down the Wigan flight and on to Abram for an overnight stay (total cruising time 6 hours). 

Oughtrington
The following day we went through Plank Lane Lift Bridge (with ease as it was  Sunday), through Worsley and over the Manchester Ship Canal.  We don't particularly enjoy this stretch, however since we last came there have been some improvements,  a lot of houses have been built and the canal side smartened up.  Even so, it was a long stretch.  We eventually moored up on the Bridgewater canal on the offside just after Lloyd Bridge at Oughtrington just outside Lymm. (Total cruising time 7.5 hours)

The following day we cruised through to Stockton Heath.  There are a variety of shops here, including an Aldi which is useful.  Luckily we arrived at Preston Brook Tunnel at 2.30pm which was great as the 20 minute slot allowing boats to pass through was 30-40mins past the hour.  We moored up between bridges 211 and 212.  The swallows were ducking and diving for the midges, quite a sight, but they never seem to eat them all!!  There is a pleasant walk down from Bridge 211,which leads to the River Weaver - Nugget enjoyed watching all the bunnies running about (total cruising time 5 hours)


Queue for Minshull Lock (luckily opposite direction to us!
The next day we just made the time slot for Saltersford Tunnel  and then straight through Barton Tunnel.  Unfortunately it was another drizzly day, went on past the Anderton Boat Lift and moored up just before bridge 193 near Lion Saltworks, which now has a visitor centre. Half an hour walk takes you to Northwich, where there are plenty of shops, including a large Asda and  Sainsburys.  For the evening we moored at Billenge Green Flash. Fantastic wildlife there, we saw two Great crested Grebe's and lot of herons;  beautiful spot.(total cruising time 4.25 hours)

Hurleston Junction
We woke up  to glorious sunshine.  Cruised through stopping at  Middlewich for some provisions from Tesco's and filled with water just before we started our ascent up the narrow locks.  Moored  for the night at Bridge 25 on mooring rings - we are now on the Shropshire Union Canal - Middlewich Branch.  Beautiful hot sunny day, had some gentle walks with Nugget and sat out in the evening.  (total cruising time 3.75 hours)

The following day was glorious too, had a leisurely cruise through to Bridge 6.   We went for a walk  stopping at 'Venetian Marina' for a cuppa.  Chilled out in the afternoon and had a lovely BBQ sat at the moorings with picnic tables kindly set up by the Shropshire Union Canal Society (the facilities provided by the society are really good)

Venetian Marina usually have visitor moorings at £85 per week and is a short Taxi ride to Crewe Railway Station. Diesel is reasonably priced and you split the 'heating'/'propulsion' as you wish.

The next day, a leisurely cruise to Hurleston Junction, and the branch off to the Llangollen  Canal - our next adventure on Coventina !





Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Bottom Blacking & Botany Bay

April 2017

Oh no, these things come around too soon !! DIY Bottom Blacking time again !!



This year we decided to try Botany Bay, Chorley, Lancashire as it is not very far from our moorings.

We can thoroughly recommend Botany Bay and Carl the crane operator - a little expensive at £540 for the crane and power wash, but this was negated by the excellent service!

Adjacent to the boatyard is the 'Lock and Quays' pub, which came in handy!



This time we opted to use Sealex B130 bitumen as used by railtrack! This is quite thick and the first coat is brushed on with some difficulty.  Further two coats by roller, time will tell as to its durability.
The boatyard allowed us a full week which is more than adequate to allow the bitumen to fully harden before re-launch.


Friday, 26 August 2016

The return Crossing

On our last unscheduled night in the Ribble Link Basin  we went on the short walk through Haslam Park to the Four Lane Ends Pub for a meal.
Four Lanes End Pub

We had the early bird meals and Nugget was impressed too as they had a 'Doggy Corner' with treats and toys... very welcoming and nice food.




We were over the moon on Tuesday as the waterways team said that all the boats (now totalling 14) could go on the link.
Rotating sea lock - Savick Brook






As there were so many boats go get through, they started letting us down the locks and Savick Brook at 9am to wait at the rotating sea lock for our departure at approximately 2.30pm, with high tide being at 3.24pm.

 It was a beautiful sunny calm day and after the long wait, we all set out into the Ribble Estuary.  It was an amazing crossing, we didn't feel rushed and we could enjoy it.





We all finally arrived after approximately 2.5 hours at the lock at Tarleton.  The last 20 minutes was the only time we felt some pull against us as the tide went out .










In the evening we went for a lovely meal to a small Italian restaurant in Tarleton called Don Alberto.  We can certainly recommend this, lovely food at reasonable prices.

All in all we had an excellent trip this summer.  Thanks to Brian and Anne on Andante for sharing some of the locks, a pleasure to meet you and as always thank you to Martin and Andrea for helping us with the Wigan flight - very much appreciated.




 

Monday, 22 August 2016

Waiting in the Ribble Link Basin

Our crossing was due to take place on Sunday 21 August back to Tarleton.  Unfortunately due to high winds the crossing was postponed until today.
Waiting in the Ribble Link Basin
  It is now Monday and the crossing has once again been postponed due to the terrific downpours we had most of the night and this morning.  The torrential rain has flooded Savick Brook and the water is so high the boats are unable to pass under the bridges on the way to the Ribble Estuary.
Due to this, there is now a backlog of boats waiting....