|This Month's Totals and Average|
|82.00 miles||54 locks||44.81 hrs||3.03 lmph|
Bright but with high cloud to start the day. Another leisurely start, heading off the boat around 10:00 for the morning service. We'll be getting a name for ourselves - this is the second service recently where the incumbent minister was leaving! Very nice service, followed by tea/coffee. Returned to "Paws" for lunch.
Running later than expected, Pat went for a walk to see the classic cars, I stayed aboard and went "open house" (sorry, "open boat") for the afternoon. We had several groups of towpath walkers eager to see what life aboard a narrowboat was like. One group was from the church, and we set up a tentative connection for next year for a joint-churches service with BCF participation. Had a great afternoon. Watched the southbound historic boats leaving around 16:30, as the sun disappeared behind the clouds and rain started to look likely.
Very cool start to the day, and almost completely overcast. Let go shortly after breakfast and continued southwards towards Audlem. Moorings started getting busy from about 30 minutes out from the bottom lock, and we were starting to wonder if we would get anything nearer. Elected to risk it and continued to the bottom lock. The lower half of the flight was being manned by CRT Volunteers and they assisted us up the first two locks (15 & 14), and gave us a better idea of the mooring prospects. Pulled in at the water point below Lock 13, got water and walked up with the loo while there. Ascended Locks 13 and 12, again with the assistance of the Volunteers, and they pointed us to a space in the pound above 12. Found that "Jubilee" hadn't left yet, and we were invited across for a cup of tea. Sun had come out by lunchtime, giving a lovely afternoon.
After lunch, went for a walk into the village to do a small bit of shopping and to visit Audlem Mill . Came back along the towpath to see which boats were on show at the "Gathering of Historic Boats".
|3.32 miles||4 locks||1.85 hrs||3.96 lmph|
Cloudy morning. Took our time getting going. Had a brief chat with Tony & Jenny on "Jenny B" as they headed down the flight for Nantwich. Headed ashore mid-morning to visit the Secret Bunker . A very interesting and worthwhile visit, giving an insight into the Cold War and the thinking of the time, and an idea of what a nuclear war could mean (hopefully, mankind has learned enough never to use them). Children are catered for with a hunt for spy-mice, and there is a NAAFI canteen for snacks and sandwiches.
Cloud had increased by the time we returned to "Paws", with slight drizzle threatening. The drizzle continued, interspersed with short sunny periods for the remainder of the day. Another quick chat with John & Jan as they passed us on their way south.
Day dawned fine and fair, but rapidly deteriorated to rain by after breakfast. Awaited expected call from daughter re IT problem (waiting so not attempting to manoeuver when call came in). Once telecall sorted, had lunch then reversed back to services for usual jobs. Rain almost gone by lunch.
Moved off and continued southwards. Sun gradually increasing, but still occasional short light showers. Lovely run in the more open countryside south of Nantwich. Ascended through the two locks at Hack Green - quick passage as another boat was just leaving each as we approached. Moored up above the top lock, before Burrows Bridge 85.
|3.05 miles||2 locks||1.38 hrs||3.65 lmph|
Up early (weather cloudy and the possibility of showers), and headed across to the showground for just after opening time. General wander round, concentrating on the craft and food stands, and vehicle displays. Migrated towards the International Cheese Festival marquee mid-morning, interrupting our browsing there to go to the celebrity chef demonstration by James Martin at 11:00. Absolutely brilliant! Four courses in 30 minutes.
Had lunch from a toastie stand (very tastie), then completed the craft and countryside activities areas before returning to the cheese marquee to finish there. Headed back to "Paws" for mid-afternoon, with sore feet and a lot of cheese! Weather had remained fine, and cloud cleared by late afternoon. Great day, especially since it was never planned (days like that often are).
Once office-hours opened, yet another phone call to EE about the broadband/TV contract. Had received an email saying I had failed to pay for two months and that sanctions would be applied (on a cancelled contract with zero costs outstanding). Finally got it sorted (I hope). Set off mid-morning for Nantwich. Mostly cloudy, but still reasonably bright. Moored almost in the same place as a week ago, and walked into town. Wandered round the shops, and had lunch in Ginger & Pickles - excellent food (home-made), great menu, very friendly service.
Returned to the boat and pre-booked tickets for tomorrow. Threatened rain a couple of times, but never really came to anything. Very muggy though. Cleared (household) business e-paperwork now that we had an internet connection again.
|1.59 miles||0 locks||0.83 hrs||1.92 lmph|
Cloudy again, but mostly medium-to-high. Got the washing machine on, then pottered till mid-morning before letting go and heading round to the services again. Did the necessaries, by which time the washer had finished so left with a full tank. Lunch on the move as we headed back towards Barbridge and Hurleston Junctions. Sun did peek out a couple of times, but it generally remained cloudy although warm. Moored up just to the south of Hurleston Junction, with TV and at least some sort of phone signal (albeit, poor). Cleared the ironing and got the polishing done on the other side of the boat. Cloud getting thicker all afternoon, and becoming more clammy. Rain finally arrived just after polishing completed, and lasted till after dinner, then cloud lifted to beautiful evening.
Updated plan is to move to Nantwich tomorrow for shopping, then stay for the Nantwich Show on Wednesday, before moving on southwards again for Audlem next weekend.
|3.82 miles||0 locks||1.80 hrs||2.12 lmph|
Cloudy start, cooler than previous days, with a slight breeze. Finally got started on the polishing. With a couple of stops for a few drips of rain (which dried quickly) managed to get one full side and the counter-area done. Pat did the windows on that side as well (inside and out) so one side completely finished. Slowly got warmer over the morning, and the sun came out by lunchtime (just finished the polishing in time). Several rain showers during the afternoon put paid to any further work outside so chilled for the rest of the day. Rain cleared again by dinner, and wall-to-wall blue sky by bedtime.
Long lie this morning - slow start. Very busy with traffic both ways from early on. Still too hot to polish the paintwork so did a few inside jobs (two loads of washing, and took ventilator covers off and cleaned out gauzes), then had a lazy day. Cloud building from lunchtime, and getting quite muggy. Phone signal almost non-existant today so unable to get email, post the diary, or continue with the canal research and mapping. Can only assume it is weather conditions, although a couple of locals have said it can be erratic here.
Another hot morning. Finished the wash-down (counter and cratch areas, and rooftop equipment) - just a polish to do when its a little cooler. Did another run to the services for water, and reversed back again (it would need an extra 1.5 hours to turn the boat at the next winding hole). Phone signal very poor today, having difficulty even getting email. Wasn't good, but was at least passable yesterday.
|0.69 miles||0 locks||0.66 hrs||1.04 lmph|
With the cooler air, slept much better. Woke to sunny morning, but not overly hot. Took our time over breakfast and started back on the major clean mid-morning. Completed the roof and did the whole of one side by lunchtime.
After lunch, cleared equipment back aboard and headed for the winding hole above Bunbury. Winded and headed for the Calveley services again to take water. (We have a plumbing system that can pump the water-tank back out through the hose for washing down. This means that we can use a large quantity of water but not be washing alongside a water point. As long as we are near enough to top up quickly and often, we do not need to inconvenience other boaters.) Finished topping up and reversed back to our berth at the visitor mooring (the other way round). Got the whole of the other side and the counter area done before calling it a day. A couple of heavy showers over lunchtime, and cloudy most of the afternoon made for a cooler working environment. Quick chat with Dan & Kerry aboard "Mr Jingles" & "Lyra" as they headed south, and with John & Jan headed past on their way to Ellesmere Port.
|1.37 miles||0 locks||0.92 hrs||1.49 lmph|
Surprisingly good night considering the temperature. Left hatch and side-doors open, and glass removed from portholes. What little air movement there was managed to keep the place relatively fresh. No time left on our 48-hour mooring so had to move on. Said cheerio to John & Jan (they were off to Crewe to see relations), and took "Paws" to the other end of Nantwich to the nearest winding-hole, and turned. Very busy with traffic both ways. Returned to the Boat Centre for fuel, then headed off northwards just before lunchtime. Sun back out again, and no sign of the forecast thunderstorms.
Lunch on the move as we returned past Hurleston and Barbridge Junctions, headed back to Calveley services. Had ice cream from the canal-side factory shop just east of the services; very much appreciated by that time. They also have a fantastic selection of cheeses and other deli items. After services, moved round the corner to the visitor mooring. Got most of the roof scrubbed, then the heavens opened with a short sharp downpour of soft hail. Decided I'd done enough today, the rest could wait till tomorrow. Cleared up and sank into a chair to cool off. Couple more showers before bedtime, but no sign of anything worse. A lot cooler this evening.
|6.97 miles||0 locks||3.21 hrs||2.17 lmph|
After a restless night due to the heat, we headed into town for a large stores-run. Hot already by the time we left the boat, it just got hotter! Once shopping cleared away, went to the "Waterside Café" for lunch - they do exceptionally good Staffordshire oatcakes.
Continuing with the IT in the afternoon, got a nice surprise to find "Jubilee" mooring up astern of us. John & Jan came aboard for tea (Jan is currently the Chairperson for the BCF ), and they stayed chatting till nearly dinner time. Great to see them again, and look forward to catching up again later in the year. Heat still hadn't started to abate (33°C inside the boat at 17:00). Light and easily cooked dinner needed.
Have added the new interactive map (see [The Cut][Maps] on the menu). It is still far from finished, but hopefully will give a taste of what's to come.
Up promptly, but slow to get started. Heat already making itself felt by the time we had finished breakfast. Moved off and headed for the winding hole above the Bunbury Staircase. Just as we completed winding, a water vole swam past the stern and headed into the foliage on the offside. It was only a matter of feet away from the boat.
Headed back past our overnight mooring, then past Barbridge Junction, continuing south on the Shroppie. Lunch on the move. Exceptionally busy today, with traffic in both directions. Arrived at Nantwich and found a free mooring just after the entrance to the basin. Took a walk to the chandlery for filters, then caught up with the IT. Pat spent the afternoon knitting. Too hot to do much else.
Call from son in the evening - they were at the hospital for Louise's 20-week scan. Our Grandchild is to be a girl - tech red-hot with communications! Finally started to cool off mid-evening.
|5.77 miles||0 locks||2.84 hrs||2.03 lmph|
Long lie then moved off, headed to Barbridge and the services at Calveley. Cloudy morning which went against the forecast so we thought we were in for another poor day. Sun came out mid-morning. Another very busy day. Arrived at Church Minshall Lock to find a queue - we were fifth! After a 'delay' of about an hour, we got through and decided to stop for lunch.
Departed after lunch for the 1 hour run to Cholmondeston Lock, to find another queue. After about 3/4 hour wait, we ascended and continued for Barbridge Junction. Sun very hot. Noted a good number of butterflies and dragonflies out today.
Turned right at the junction onto the main line of the old Chester Canal (now part of the Shropshire Union) and headed for the services at Calveley (door to elsan room jamming quarter-open, lock on door of toilets broken). Having done the necessaries, moved the quarter-mile round the corner to a berth at the visitor mooring. Beautiful evening, dive-bombed by swallows, flock of yellowhammers in the tree outside the window, stunning sunset , great rendition of Fauré's Requiem from the BBC Proms.
|8.37 miles||2 locks||4.06 hrs||2.56 lmph|
All slept in! Another rainy morning. Agreed forward plan for next few days - stay put today, move off tomorrow for services, then head for Nantwich. Lazy day much like yesterday - me working on the maps, Pat knitting and watching TV. Drizzly rain on and off the whole day. A lot busier with traffic today, both private and hired.
More rain, very occasional sunny spells, mostly overcast. Discussed forward plans and decided to stay put. 'Catering' decided on more baking, 'IT' had fun trying to recreate the routes of some of the derelict canals by research on the web and doing 'landscape archaeology' (looking at a satellite view and trying to see the buried landscape from the humps and bumps, treelines etc). Surprised how well I got on - details to be on the new map when I get sufficient drawn/collated to publish it.
Greeted by a nice sunny morning (for a change). On the move promptly and descended King's Lock. Stopped for water; did the loo, rubbish, and got a new gas bottle while waiting. Moved off, turning left onto the Wardle Branch (the shortest canal in the UK, at 154 ft (47m)) and ascended Wardle Lock. Now on the Chester Canal (nowadays the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal), we headed out of Middlewich in the lovely sunny morning. Quickly out into the countryside and moving through the fields of both arable and pastoral land. Found a quiet spot in the middle of nowhere and moored for the day.
|3.46 miles||3 locks||2.05 hrs||3.15 lmph|
Another lazy day. Early morning heavy rain cleared quickly. Walked down to Middlewich Narrowboats to visit their shop, and clear loo. Walk into town in afternoon for haircuts.
Yet more rain overnight, but cleared by breakfast. Generally boring day in store. Took a leisurely wander into town and did part 1 of the shopping (Lidl + other small shops). Lunch then went back again for part 2 (Tesco plus other small shops). ('Catering' was under the impression that we were short on a few items!) Stayed fair all day although cloudy.
More rain overnight, continued into morning. Had intended to go shopping but didn't fancy getting soaked, so decided to stay put and have a 'housework' day. Rain did eventually fizzle out during the afternoon producing a few bright patches. Dinner from the chippy.
Very heavy rain overnight, but cleared by breakfast. Sun attempting to peep out. Church then lunch, before moving round to the services berth for the usual facilities.
On completion, moved off and continued northwards for Middlewich. Skirted the corner of Sandbach then descended the Booth Lane three, passing the salt factory and storage facility. Descended Rump's Lock and moored in the same place as a month ago, just above King's Lock. Several occasions during the afternoon, the rain started, but stopped again before it became unacceptable, but finally cleared just as we arrived. Disappointed to find that the chip shop was closed on Sundays (a webpage had suggested it was open). Dinner aboard.
|5.97 miles||4 locks||2.66 hrs||3.74 lmph|
Rain started over breakfast so we decided not to move. 'Technical' worked on the new maps, while 'housekeeping' did some clothing repairs and continued the cushion covers (whilst watching the tennis). By the time we had finished lunch, the sky had brightened and the Admiral suddenly decided to make a quick dash down the 10 locks to Wheelock!
Descended the Hassall Green two and went under the M6 (nose-to-tail and slow-moving as usual). Continued down the Wheelock Flight (total of 8 locks). Everything with us so a very fast run down. Found the visitor moorings almost empty (most unusual!) so took our pick for the night. Wind picked up, and rain threatened all evening, but didn't come to anything.
|1.78 miles||10 locks||2.04 hrs||5.77 lmph|
More heavy rain overnight, but a bright start to our anniversary, but no long lie! Let go by 09:30 and descended the remainder of the Red Bull Flight and turned to pass the beautiful church of All Saints at Church Lawton. Descended the two Church Locks and the Lawton Treble, continuing to Rode Heath for lunchtime. Cloud starting to build. Quick walk for stores, then lunch on return. Hint of drizzle over lunch, but didn't come to much.
Descended the two locks leaving Rode Heath, then the Pierpoint two, mooring just above the Hassall Green Flight mid-afternoon (where we moored earlier this year). Clouds had dispersed again so a pleasant close to the day.
|3.91 miles||12 locks||3.03 hrs||5.25 lmph|
Heavy rain overnight had cleared by breakfast, but it was still cloudy. On the move for 09:00, took "Paws" the short distance round to Hall Green Stop Lock, the official end to the Macclesfield Canal. Stop Locks were constructed at the ends of some canals in order to 'gauge' the boats to assess tolls. Canal Companies were very protective of 'their' water and did not wish rivals to drain their canal. Often they had a change of level of only a few inches. (More information on different kinds of lock can be found on the Canal & River Trust website )
Now officially on the Trent & Mersey Canal, we continued around the loop to Harding's Wood Junction and turned northwards for the second time this year. Very busy at the junction, with four boats turning onto the Macclesfield from the Tunnel, and reports of queues southbound. Dropped down through the first three locks to the Red Bull services berth for the usual needs, then down Lock 44, mooring in the pound. Admiral decides she would rather bake then work more locks, so secured for the night. Drizzle set in over lunch. Drizzle mixed with sunny periods for the remainder of the day.
|3.30 miles||5 locks||2.65 hrs||3.13 lmph|
Leisurely start. Mostly cloudy with a few small blue patches. Finally let go mid-morning and continued southwards. Very pleasant cruise through the leafy avenue, although the banks were more eroded and the towpath more soggy. Moored at Bridge 75a, beside the Queen's Head pub, just before 12:00 and walked up to Hightown (a suburb of Congleton) to the Post Office to collect mail. Lunch on return, then walked back up again to clear urgent outgoing mail.
Let go again mid-afternoon and again continued southwards. Some good moorings in this stretch, but we planned for Bridge 87. Moored at a short section of trimmed vegetation just before the "Heritage Cruisers" base, between Bridges 86 and 87. Had been mostly cloudy all day, with occasional sunny spells. Dinner at The Rising Sun . Fantastic meal, excellent service, friendly staff. Even got an anniversary card and 'present'! (if any of the staff end up reading this - thank you so much, fantastic evening)
|6.56 miles||0 locks||2.96 hrs||2.21 lmph|
Overcast morning, with dark clouds threatening rain. Winded "Paws" in the old hire yard and returned southwards towards Congleton. There were a couple of short periods of very light drizzle, but they never came to anything. Passed Gurnett and the outskirts of Sutton, but remained mostly in countryside. Canal banks became less suitable for mooring as we continued southwards (erosion, reed beds, and overgrown vegetation), with only 'recognised' mooring points available. Arrived at the top of the Bosley Flight and pulled over to the services berth on the offside. After the necessaries, moved across to the towpath for lunch, before setting off down the Flight of 12 locks. They are very close together, and we made very good time as all were set with us. More traffic today, with the "Heritage Cruisers" fleet having left Congleton over the weekend. More sunny spells this afternoon so very pleasant working. A mile after the bottom lock, we found a good spot where the pilings were not too overgrown, and moored for the night.
|7.49 miles||12 locks||4.81 hrs||4.05 lmph|
Another sunny day throughout. Took our time getting off the boat, but walked into Macclesfield to visit the Silk Museum and take the tour of Paradise Mill (tours only, no unattended access). Fascinating visit, tracking the origins of silk back to China in 2500BC, how it's made, and the manufacture in Macclesfield. Only a small coffee-shop at the museum so went out for 'sandwich' lunch at The Hope Centre (excellent home-made soup and Staffordshire oatcakes), before returning to finish our visit. Returned to "Paws" mid-afternoon and pottered with various small jobs.
Beautifully quiet night (apart from the heavy rain before midnight). Day broke with sunshine. Long lie after a good night's sleep. Pottered getting ready, then went shopping in town. Returned for lunch. 'IT manager' spent afternoon working on new maps, 'housekeeping' worked on new seat covers and other stitchery. Apart from a few dull spells, sun remained most of the day.
Unfortunately, a noisy night, with 'music' from one of the flats in Adelphi Mill (old mill, now flats/offices) opposite the wharf until 03:00. Beautiful and sunny as day broke.
By the time breakfast was over, the cloud and rain had returned. Set off for Macclesfield (short trip). Showers persist. Moored opposite the old quay for Peak Forest Cruisers, on the new (3-day) pontoons. Had lunch and discussed options for fuelling/museums etc.
Checked with Freedom Boating whether they sold fuel (our map suggested not), but they do. Moved round to their wharf and fuelled, then returned to pontoon for the weekend. Showers still short and heavy, but strong sun in between.
|3.06 miles||0 locks||1.53 hrs||2.00 lmph|
Leisurely start to day - nice and sunny. Let go mid-morning and headed southwards out of Marple, past the old Goyt Mill (a thread-spinning works dating to 1905) and towards Macclesfield. Scenery opened up initially to give a great view out over the valley towards Manchester. Seems we have been moving for ages, but the city is still in sight. Trees again started lining the route after that as we passed through High Lane and Higher Poynton to Bollington. Rain had threatened but held off until just after lunch (on the move), then tipped it down, again! Expected to stop for services on the south side of Bollington but missed it due to a 'communications error', and ended up well past it. Rain stopped again so started to dry out. Winded on the northern outskirts of Macclesfield and returned to the services point. Did the necessaries (charged £3 for water and £2 for Elsan disposal into a hole in the ground - not chuffed!) and moored opposite for the night. Further showers, but all secure by this stage.
|11.52 miles||0 locks||5.52 hrs||2.09 lmph|