Tuesday, 22 April 2014

River Weaver Aqueduct to Burland

We sat out most of Easter and as the weather forecast is naff for Tuesday we heaved out our pins yesterday and set off for the winding hole a couple of miles away. We passed a couple of boats along the way and were just approaching the winding hole when Balmaha passed with Mo recognising Lois Jane as Sandhills Number One. We winded and were soon moored up with Mo and Nessa enjoying coffee and biscuits on Balmaha, Sandhills fifteenth lovely creation. It was then a quick tour of Lois Jane and we were all on our way again both heading for Llangollen. It was lovely to meet you both and hopefully our paths will cross again.

Mo and Nessa
We had intended on stopping just before the junction with the Llangollen but the water levels there were quite low, and with the weather still good we decided to turn right and head up the flight of four locks and get away from the 'Shroppie Shelf'. 

Nesting Swan

And we're on the Llangollen
At the top the lockie was keeping a log of the boats passing through and added LJ to Monday's list, having a chat to him and a quick look at Good Friday's list he had logged 48 boats whilst on duty, he said at one point there was a four hour wait, with the staircase locks further on having a six hour wait, glad we decided to go off on the Middlewich branch that day.

We moored up a little further on just after bridge 4  with a view over another field of cows, so that'll keep me happy.

Moored up in the sun
10.3 miles and 6 locks
Total 100 miles and 83 locks

Monday, 21 April 2014

Nantwich to River Weaver Aqueduct (Middlewich Branch)

It was Good Friday when we left Nantwich and very busy it was too, we were guessing due to the Jazz Festival in the town over the Easter weekend. On leaving we felt as though we were part of a boat parade, we were in a long line of boats going through the moorings. We were soon passed the moored boats and the parade started to separate a bit. It wasn't long before we came to the first junction, Hurleston, with the Llangollen canal off to the left, we carried on ahead and will come back this way after the Easter break when hopefully it will be a little quieter. 

Passing the Llangollen Canal at Hurleston Junction, we will be back
Next up was Barbridge Junction with the Middlewich Branch, we'll be heading right here after stopping at the elusive water point to top up. 

LJ at the water point
We'll be heading up here, the Middlewich branch of the Shropshire Union
Passing by this herd of cows
The grey and white one was being very vocal
Approaching the first lock of the day we could see a boat just going in so James moored up while I went to see if anyone was coming up, yes there was a quite a queue, five boats were waiting. We took our turn and headed off again with the same at the next lock, did they all know something we didn't? We passed Aqueduct Marina and then over the aqueduct itself with the River Weaver far below and moored up a couple of hundred yards after. Its a nice spot so we'll probably stay a few days, to avoid the rush of Easter boats.

And over the River Weaver

Moored up for Easter

James made friends with the locals
On Saturday we took a walk to the nearest village, Church Minshull where we were surprised to find a pub there as our guide book didn't mentioned one, then a stroll back down the towpath to LJ.

7 miles and 2 locks
Total 89.7 miles and 77 locks

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Audlem to Nantwich

After a wander back to Audlem and the Old Mill to view the canal scene art exhibition we decided it was time to leave our wonderful view and head off to Nantwich, it was an easy run and wonderfully warm and sunny with only two locks to do. At the first lock as LJ was on her way down a guy on his own moored on the lock landing and said for me to go onto the next lock and he would finish off there, very kind I thought so on leaving the second lock, as there was nothing coming the other way I open the paddles to fill it again for him before setting off on our way again. We approached the first visitor moorings in Nantwich and decided to moor up and check the others closer to town, good job we did as the all the others were full. Shortly after the boat after us at the locks passed and shouted out that he was grateful for us filling the last lock for him. 

At the first lock (with the helpful guy approaching)

First visitor moorings in Nantwich
The next day we moved off onto the Aqueduct visitor moorings and headed off to town.

Nantwich is a small town but again lots of history, on the road from the canal to town (Welsh Row) there are 96 Grade II listed properties on it alone. 

We popped into Aldi here and topped up the cupboards, with a few bits for Easter from Morrisons this morning before we head off tomorrow. 

This lovely building is a book shop/cafe on the main square
Last night we headed off to have a curry, which was really good, we went to the one right next to the station and had their five course meal for £9.95 each. Nantwich Marina is just along the canal so this morning we popped into the chandlers and managed to get an air filter, which we have had problems getting. 

7 miles and 2 locks

Total 82.7 miles and 75 locks

Friday, 11 April 2014

Market Dayton to Audlem

After a final visit into Market Drayton yesterday to pick up a few bits and bobs we were off, we were going to stop for water but with two boats already there we decided not to, we still had plenty left it was just a top up. There were a few moored boats around town so we were going quite slow and it wasn't long before one of the boats had left the water point and had taken a liking to our rear end! On the nice long stretch with permanent moorings on the offside the idiot decided to overtake us. Once we had passed the line of moored boats we were up to normal speed which was about the same as them, it was a couple of miles to the locks and at every bridge hole they virtually stopped, but continued normal speed by any moored boats, whereas we were slowing down by the moored boats so we got to the locks a minute or so behind them, why is it that some people just have to be in front?

The Adderley Locks

One of the many farms
We did the five locks in the Adderley flight and called it a day at the top of the Audlem locks.

Overnight mooring at the top of Audlem Locks
This morning we took a wander down the flight to see where would be best to moor as we want to stay for a few days and the stretch below the bottom lock looked lovely.

So we set off in glorious sunshine and did the fifteen locks, stopping off at the Shroppie Fly, unfortunately just for water at the point outside, we'll head back there for a drink sometime as its only a short walk away. 

The Audlem flight of 15 locks

Northwards we go, only 7 miles to Nantwich

Work boat stopped for lunch, took them nearly all day to go down the flight

This little hut is right by the lock

I stopped for a rest, but the fire wasn't alight

A bit further down and the old stable block

Spring has arrived, lovely blossom in the sun

Just stopped for a water top up this time, we'll be back!

Loved this old water pump,  you can just imagine the work boats filling up the Buckby cans
We're now moored in a lovely rural stretch with a view over Cheshire farmland with fields of cows with their calves and a pond with proper geese, as well as the Canadian ones.

And finally moored up for a few days

With a lovely view from the side hatch

7 miles and 20 locks

Total 75.7 miles and 73 locks

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Market Drayton

We decided to stay in Market Drayton for a couple of days and had a nice visit from Mick and Elly on Parisian Star, they were passing through so stopped off for a visit and quick trip to the shops before continuing on their way. It was lovely to see you both again before you head back home to Oz in a few months and thank you for your lovely comments about Lois Jane.

Me with Mick and Elly

Mick doing a good job of hiding

Bye guys, hope you enjoy the rest of your time 
We have had a couple of trips into the town, it's about a mile from the canal, there is quite a range of supermarkets Lidl, Morrison's and a smallish Asda, there is also plenty of other shops including Wilkinson's and Argos Extra. On our couple of trips we thought the town seemed very quiet but not so on market days which is Wednesday and Saturday. It was bustling and many bargains were to be had from the many stalls, James managed to get a great deal from the meat stall where we got 5 large chicken breasts and two massive rump steaks all for a tenner, then managed to persuade the guy to throw in a couple of pork loin steaks as well. 

Market day the town comes to life
The town itself is very historic, there has been a street market since 1245. Many of the towns houses are black and white half timbered buildings from the 17th and 18th Centuries after a great fire in 1651. Some of these buildings had facades added in Victorian times. 

This pub claims to be the oldest in town, shame the building needs loads of TLC

Lovely buildings throughout the town

Grove House, now part of the school, the engineer building the canal once owned it

Stables to Grove House, shame it's a really bad conversion
We are moored up on the embankment on an aqueduct going over a road and the River Tern, there are forty old stone steps leading down to the road below, one of the routes into town.

LJ is up there just behind the trees

The 40 stones steps leading up to the canal

Monday, 7 April 2014

Wheaton Ashton to Market Drayton

At last a proper internet signal so I'm able to do another catch up blog.

We left Wheaton Ashton on Wednesday 26th March stopping off at Turners garage for some of their reasonably priced diesel and stopped in Gnosall.

Spotted this kingfisher, it stayed just long enough to get this photo
Wheaton Ashton to Gnosall 5 miles

It was here that the guys from Stafford Enterprise came and picked us up on Friday to get a hire car, we headed down to Poole to see Jess and Lee and do a couple of little job at the house for them. One of the jobs was replacing the back fence which had been in a sorry state for sometime but finally came down completely in the winds they have had down there, luckily the weather was kind to us and we even got some preserver on as well.

We managed to get out on Saturday night to our favorite Chinese in Poole which is just a short stroll from Jess's. Mac's Garden is an all you can eat Chinese but freshly cooked to order, we certainly got our money's worth. All too soon Monday morning came with Jess and Lee both having to work so we headed off with our next stop being at Mum's about an hour and a half away. Here we helped her a bit in the garden where she had a shed removed and it just needed a bit of tidying up and stepping stone pathway rerouted, then it was off out for dinner again in the evening. 

We headed off Tuesday morning as we had to get the car back to the guys in Stafford by 3pm. We got dropped back to LJ just after 4pm and decided to make the short journey up to Norbury Junction. We went through Shelmore Wood and then the Shelmore Embankment which was the last part of the canal to be completed. It came about as Lord Anson refused to allow the canal through his game reserves at Norbury Park so it had to follow a different route, one that would take five years to complete due to many breaches. The embankment is about a mile long, 60 feet wide and about 60 feet high. We reached the moorings at Norbury to be greeted by Peter and Heather on Blackberry Way. We had a bit of a catch up, it's been a month since we last saw them when we left Birmingham.

Mooring at Norbury Junction

Gnosall to Norbury Junction 2.3 miles

We headed off on Wednesday on a bit of a mission as we had heard of some Ash trees which had been felled in Woodeaves Cutting and logs had been left for passing boaters, we were not disappointed and managed to pick up a good supply. 

This has got to be one of the most photographed bridges

One of the many old wharves

This bridge lives up to it's name of 'High Bridge'

We moored up just before the visitor moorings at Tyrley Locks ready for a day of sawing and splitting on Thursday.

Quiet spot just before Tyrley Locks visitor moorings

Lots of space for sawing and splitting

Norbury Junction to Tyrley  Locks 9.5 miles

On Saturday we headed off down the locks and into Market Drayton, where we are moored high up on another embankment looking down onto a fishery. It was then off to Lidl for a much needed shop, our fridge and cupboards were bare.

One of the sections of cutting through the rocks

Amazing how these trees survive with the roots clinging to the rock

At the end of the Market Drayton visitor moorings

View from the towpath outside LJ

Tyrley Locks to Market Drayton 1.3 miles and 5 locks

Total  68.7 miles and 53 locks