Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Trevor to Llangollen

Friday 25th July

Trevor Basin

We kept the BBQ out and had a cooked breakfast together.  A chap called John joined us. He has a house but prefers to sleep outdoors.

We all took a bus to Wrexham. Sadly English bus passes are of no use in Wales.  We wandered round the shops, stopped for in Costas for a cold drink, bought a TV aerial in Maplins. Hazel visited the markets for shoes, while James went to the cathedral, only to find it was Victorian and catholic. Then to St Giles Church, which is the old church in the town, where he found the Welsh National Youth Choir having a practice, singing an item by William Matthias: “Ceremony after a fire raid”, based on a poem by Dylan Thomas inspired by WWII. A very dramatic piece with amazing percussion by Simone Rebello. A powerful experience.

Another cold drink, this time in Nero’s, before catching a bus back.

A meal together on the grassy bank, this time Pizza and some excellent haggis prepared by Peter to mark the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

No boating today

Saturday 26th July

Trevor basin

A “Make and mend day”.  Hazel and Peter put up the TV Aerial, and Henry ground off our padlock tabs on the back doors and hatch, as they don’t coincide so can’t be used for a padlock, and they stick out so we could catch ourselves on them as we go down the steps.  James put some primer / undercoat on.

Padlock tab on the hatch

Padlock tab on the door

Henry at work


While washing the boat, James found a dead mouse in our watering can. We somehow think Hugo was responsible.

Kiska II came into the basin so we were able to talk to the new owners, who keep the boat at Chester. They are the fifth owners, and are very much enjoying the boat. It was good to see them. They didn’t know it had been used in “Last of the Summer Wine”.

Our old boat

Again we had lots of conversations with people passing.

There was a very sudden downpour in the afternoon, with a resulting rush to get chairs in and drying paint under cover.

Heavy rain at Trevor

Later we all got together again outside for lasagne and tiramisu.

No boating.  1 mouse.

Sunday 27th July

Trevor to Sun Trevor

We decided to have a communion service on board Gospel Belle, instead of trying to find a church.  It was a special time.

We said our farewells afterwards. Peter and Lin were heading for Ellesmere, and Henry and Lin were going to leave their boat at Crick while they went off to run a camp for kids with Urban Saints.

We set off towards Llangollen. Very soon we found a shallow section where two boats could not pass. Two hire boats, a trip boat and ourselves got in a bit of a pickle. The scenery was lovely.

Beautiful Llangollen

There seemed to be very few places to moor along this section, and we ended up using rings near the Sun Trevor pub.  They were serving food all day, so we went for a late lunch.  It was very poor.  The smoked mackerel starter was very dry and unappetising, and the chicken roast was very unimaginative, with bland vegetables.  To add to this the best cider they could offer was bottled Bulmers, and there was a busy road just across the canal from the boat.

We won’t stop there on the way back.

0 locks, 2 miles, 1 mouse

Monday 28th July

Sun Trevor to Llangollen

Just after the mooring is the first of the narrow sections. James went ahead, and a boat coming down needed to stop in the only passing place.  Going upstream was slow against the flow. 

We noticed some good moorings between bridge 43 and 44, before the second narrow section began, taking us into Llangollen.  James walked ahead, and held up a boat that wanted to come down.

We paused at the facilities and emptied 3 cassettes, before moving into the mooring basin, which is new to us, being built in 2005.

We moored bows on to begin with, so that we could fill up the water tank.  Then we reversed into another berth so that we could plug into the electricity. All the Llangollen visitor moorings have power and water, including the towpath moorings. This saves a lot of engine running, and avoids queues at the water point. The charge was £6 per night.

We went to investigate the shops, and had lunch in a café. We bought some Bara Brith (Welsh fruit loaf) and some Welsh cheeses.  We also found a bottle of Shiraz for £3.99 from Nisa, which turned out not very good.  We won’t buy that again.

That evening the mooring basin was completely full – all 33 spaces taken.

Llangollen basin full

We turned on the immersion heater and discovered later that it hadn’t worked – the water was still cold.  We put on the central heating instead which does.

There were three children and two dogs on one side, and one dog on the other, and another three boats away.  Hugo went off earlier into the bushes, and it was a long time before he came back!

0 locks, 2 miles, 1hr35

Tuesday 29th July

In Llangollen

A Boat horse in Llangollen

Hazel washed some clothes, while James went for a walk.  He went up the footpath to Valle Crucis Abbey, but didn’t visit because there were many steps to go down.

Valle Crucis Abbey

He met a man coming up the steps who was going his way, so they walked together for two miles. His name was Steve and he came from Buxton where he was a dry stone waller, and a fell runner. His border collie, Ellie, wanted to play with sticks all the time, except when she wanted to chase sheep. He kept her on a lead a lot of the time.  They parted company at the foot of Castel Dinas Bran. Steve wanted to do more, but James wanted to return to Llangollen.

Steve and Ellie

Castell Dinas Bran

Back at the boat we caught up with a few things, including screwing brackets under the loose step to hold it in place.

We then walked back into town to go to the Corn Mill restaurant, which we had spotted earlier.  We had an excellent meal there, with good food and good service. Sadly they had run out of Rosie’s Pig cider, so James had to make do with Aspall’s.

No boating today

Ellesmere to Trevor

Wednesday 23rd July

Ellesmere to Hindford

We set off from Ellesmere just as a hire boat was looking for somewhere to moor.  Turning round there is tricky, as the basin isn’t square – the widest point is at the very end. The hire boat did it first, with quite a few changes of gear. We went next, but were helped by the bow thruster. They call it the girlie button in Birmingham.

Leaving Ellesmere

The first stop was the facilities area, where there was no queue. However, very soon there were other boats waiting.

James phoned Paul Dicken to make arrangements for tomorrow.  The Poachers Pocket at Gledhill seems a good starting point, with lunch there, followed by a trip over Chirk Aqueduct and through Chirk Tunnel before turning round and heading back to the pub again.

We passed Tetchill where there are a few moored boats. This is the stop off place for Roger and Mirjana.

Several mooring places along here with 48H rings, courtesy of the Shropshire Union Canal Society.  Every canal ought to have a canal society like this to enhance the boating experience.

We passed the turning to Frankton Locks and the Montgomery Canal. We’ll do it on the way back.

Frankton Junction

It was very hot, and we stopped for lunch between Bridges 3 and 4, as the towpath was south of the canal, which means that it is easier to find shade, which we did.

A little further along we spotted a familiar looking boat, called Kiska II.  It was our first boat, then called Lystra.  The owners weren’t around.

At Maestermyn Marine we stopped to buy some long screws to fix one of our back steps which has come unglued. We also saw a life ring which we bought.

We stopped for the day at Hindford to visit the Jack Mytton Pub for a drink, as it was so hot. They were just about to close. They had Black Dragon Welsh cider, which was good. They also had another which James said he would go back for in the evening.  In the end, we had showers on the boat and never went back to the pub.

We briefly saw the people on Stepaside (BCF – Sue Barnett), and then we had a chat with the people on Plan B – Malcolm and Lindsey

Then Barley Twist (Terry and Chris) came past, followed by Mick and Suzanne on Cranley, both from Byfleet Boat Club.  It was good to have a brief chat with them.

Mick and Suzanne

0 locks, 6 miles, 3hr35

Thursday 24th July

Hindford to Trevor

Two boats left before us, heading our way.  We followed slowly behind, as the first item on the agenda was the pair of locks at New Marton – very rural.  Another boat was coming down, so the first lock was set for us.

New Marton Locks

It was not long before we had arrived at the Poachers Pocket, our rendezvous with the Dickens.  Then we had a phone call from Christine Dicken, saying they had too much to do before their trip to Yorkshire at the weekend. Could we postpone the trip? No problem. We’re flexible.

We decided to move on. We pulled out, following Sam Hardy, and were soon at Chirk Aqueduct, which is dramatic, with a railway viaduct on the left, and views down the valley to the right.

Chirk Aqueduct

 The view through the railway viaduct

The aqueduct leads directly into Chirk Tunnel, and there is a waiting area with bollards, as both the tunnel and the aqueduct are only one boat width. Amazingly, the First Mate Guide suggests mooring here to go to the shops. Anyone doing that would not be very popular with boaters trying to negotiate their passage.

Chirk Aqueduct and tunnel

As we arrived at the far end of the aqueduct, there was a boat waiting to cross the other way, and Sam Hardy waiting to enter the tunnel, as a boat was coming through the other way.  The boat in the tunnel turned out to be a hire boat travelling very fast. He shot out of the tunnel, and did a tight zig zag to line up with the aqueduct, where we were just emerging. We had nowhere else to go, and his passengers in the bows put their hands over their eyes, waiting for the bump. Thankfully our bow thruster moved us out of the way just in time as he shot into the aqueduct, taking no notice of the other boat who had been waiting for ten minutes.  We told him he had lost his water skier.

We entered the tunnel and found it very slow going, as the flow was against us. After the tunnel came a cutting with gloomy moorings, then Chirk Marina, followed by
Whitehouse Tunnel.

Whitehouse Tunnel

At Froncysyllte we had to operate Fron Lift Bridge which was quite heavy work. Then round the corner to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.  We spotted Peter and Lin walking towards us so there were lots of photos, videos, hugs, and changes at the helm.  The aqueduct seemed higher than last time – perhaps because it was clear and sunny, instead of misty and wet last time (2004). It was exhilarating to go across on the boat with nothing between us and the sheer drop to the left. This aqueduct is iron, unlike Chirk which is made of stone.

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

It’s a long way down

We were still following Sam Hardy, and instead of turning left towards Llangollen, he went straight on to the moorings beyond Anglo Welsh at Trevor. This is where Gospel Belle and Trinity had been moored, waiting for us.  As Sam Hardy had taken the last space, we moored alongside Gospel Belle. 

A trip boat then decided to turn and banged into the side of Sam Hardy several times in the process,and told him he was moored in a winding hole. There was no notice to say so. Everyone moved up and then someone else moored there.  Over the next few days several boats stopped there, so there really should be a notice.

We had a barbecue later, as there was a very suitable wide grassy bank under trees alongside the mooring. A great time.  Pete and Aud (Sam Hardy) joined us for drinks later.

There were lots of people walking past and we had several conversations.

Barbecue at Trevor

2 locks, 9 miles, 2 tunnels, 2 aqueducts, 1 lift bridge, 1 mouse, 4hr35.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Nantwich to Ellesmere

Friday 18th July

Nantwich to Wrenbury

Rain in the night as forecast.  One mouse on the floor where the carpet would have been. Another mouse on the deck at the stern.  No Hugo. No sign of him from 5.30am onwards.  The wish was to leave at 8am and beat the lock queues into the Llangollen.

This idea was soon abandoned as we sat down to await the arrival of our feline.  After calling him several times, and watching the queues for the facilities block lengthen, then shorten and lengthen again, we decided to try a cunning plan.  Guessing that he was somewhere close by in the long grass or hedge, James found a way into the field behind the hedge, armed with a Tesco bag and a boat hook. He systematically walked along the hedge, beating it occasionally, and shaking the bag, which Hugo hates.  He didn’t speak, as he didn’t want Hugo to realise it was him.

It worked!  There was a call from Hazel: “We have a cat!” as he ran onto the stern and down into the cabin.  We think he wasn’t very well, as he hardly had any food for the next two days.

By this time, there was a queue for the sanitary station, so we pressed on towards the Llangollen Canal, where we knew there was another at the top of the first four locks.

We expected a queue at the locks, but there were two boats coming down, and none waiting to go up, so it was easy.  At the top we filled up the water tank from a very slow tap.  To begin with we couldn’t see the rubbish bin anywhere, expecting a large wheelie bin with a red lid.  Eventually we found a huge steel bin like a tractor trailer, in a field through a gate.

Hurleston Locks

There is a flow on the Llangollen Canal, as water is led off the River Dee and diverted into the canal above Llangollen town. It flows all the way back for 46 miles into Hurleston Reservoir, which lies alongside these first four locks. We could see the canal water flowing quite quickly down a channel into the reservoir, just above the top lock.

Water flowing into Hurleston Reservoir

The flow of water caused some interesting challenges at the entrances to some of the locks, as there was a strong side stream from the bypass weirs.

Baddiley Locks with a strong side current

Knowing that rain was forecast for the next day, we pressed on for a few miles and a few locks to Wrenbury, where it seemed as though we took the last available mooring, between the two lift bridges.  A lot of boats, almost fender to fender. On the other side of the hedge was a motor home rally, with lots of camper vans.

 Moored in a line at Wrenbury

It was a very hot evening and we wandered along the towpath to see who was there. A few boats we recognised but no one we knew.  We went to the Dusty Miller for our evening meal and had the most wonderful food and service. Unusual for a top location such as this. The “Dusty hand crafted puff pie” was delicious.  They also had Old Rosie cider on draught.

Last time we were in Wrenbury was in 2000. We were booked in for Soul Survivor, Message 2000 in Manchester.  Our gearbox was giving us problems and we had to have it replaced (for the second time) in Wrenbury. We went to the church on the Sunday morning, and mentioned our plight to one of the ladies there, who turned out to be the vicar’s wife, Debbie. Mark, the vicar was at another of his three churches that morning.  After the service, we were back on the boat, when someone knocked. It was Mark, who had come to pray for us, and to invite us for a meal. Such lovely hospitality.  We met their children aged about four and six.

We mentioned this story to the couple sitting next to us at the Dusty Miller. They were locals, and knew Mark and Debbie, and told us that Mark had had cancer and died two years after our last visit.

We booked a table at the Cotton Arms for Sunday lunch at 1230, before returning to the boat. It was very hot and humid.

Hugo stayed in the hedge

9 locks, 6 miles,

Saturday 19th July


Thunder and lightening in the night, followed by heavy rain, so we stayed in bed as long as possible. We would have caught up with emails and blogs but there was no signal for internet, phone or TV.  zzzzzzz

The rain eased off by early afternoon, and we wandered up the road to the village and found the shop. We also noticed that the church service times had changed from 10.30am to 9.15am. We returned to the boat via a footpath that led from the churchyard down to the first lift bridge, through the site of the proposed marina, now a field.

The Calor Gas decided to run out, so James changed the bottles over.  The camping gas appeared to be running out also when we had our barbecue before Nantwich, and we had decided to change it at the shop in Wrenbury, as we don’t see suppliers very often.

Later James went for a walk across the lift bridge, over farmland, mostly green fields.  He didn’t have a map, there was no signal for Google maps, and the little yellow footpath arrows seemed to peter out. He ended up in a huge field with no obvious way out except back the same way. He did see some buzzards and a hare standing on its hind legs.

Wrenbury Church Lift Bridge
No boating today

Sunday 20th July

We set an alarm to ensure we got up in time for church, and had croissants for breakfast. We walked up the path to the church, with shopping trolley and camping gas canister in hand.

We had a great welcome at the church, and met Debbie once again.  Their new vicar has only been in post for a few months, and her name is Alison. She spoke with great clarity about Jacob’s ladder. I am sure she will work really well with the people of Wrenbury.

Debbie in St Margaret’s Church in Wrenbury

Mark’s memorial

We went to the shop to buy milk and replace the gas, only to find that our gas bottle was still mostly full, although the valve is faulty. We decided to keep it until it ran out.

As the service was earlier than we had expected, we decided to cancel our table reservation at the Cotton Arms, and move on.  We had the lift bridge to negotiate, and Calor gas to replace at the boatyard.

We reversed in to the boatyard and purchased the Calor gas. James put the canister back in place, and Hazel took the CRT key and went to open the lift bridge. As she stepped off the stern, she missed her footing and ended up in the water! Someone brought a stepladder for her to climb out. She has a badly bruised arm, a twisted ankle and cut knees.

While she was in the shower and changing, James seized an opportunity and took the boat through the bridge when it was open for someone else.

We cruised slowly along through pleasant countryside, noticing that there are lots of good moorings along this stretch, many with rings, supplied by the Shropshire Union Canal Society. We went through Marbury Lock, and then bought some local produce at Quoisley Lock.  A main road runs alongside the canal at this point, and while we were at the lock, a car came off the road and hit a tree with a loud bang and a big cloud of smoke. Another boat was level with him and they asked if he was OK. He said he was, and drove off again!

We went one lock further on, and stopped for the day. We had a good meal in the Willeymoor Lock Tavern, a converted lock cottage. Everywhere you looked in the pub, there were displays of ornamental teapots.

Teapots in Willeymoor Lock Tavern

3 locks, 4 miles, 1 lift bridge, 1 dunking. 2hr35

Monday 21st July

Willeymoor to Whitchurch

A lovely sunny morning, with two kingfishers going up and down.  Also evidence of a mouse on the floor. Hugo seems to be feeling better. It may be that the heat affected him on Friday, as he has so much fur, and it was extremely hot and humid. He is now eating properly again.

The first lock (Povey’s Lock) was empty for us, and in a mile we were at the first of the Grindley Brook locks. This was also in our favour.

Grindley Brook lock 6

As we reached the top of the lock, James checked round the corner, and the next lock was empty. By the time we left the lock two minutes later, the next one was being filled by the crew of a boat coming down. Two children with windlasses, who hadn’t learned to check first.  They also left the windlasses on the spindle, which can be dangerous.  Hey Ho, school holidays are here!

After the three single locks, there is a staircase of three. We had heard horrendous tales of queues of boats waiting half a day to get up or down. We had no such problems – the locks were set for us and there was no-one else waiting.

Grindley Brook staircase locks

Remarkably, we found some people having breakfast in the café, and it turned out to be Stephen and Anne Waters from Byfleet Methodist Church, plus two friends. We had to carry on up the flight of locks, so we moored at the first opportunity and walked back for a chat.

Stephen and Anne Waters

After using all the facilities there, we continued, and found ourselves following a very slow boat for the mile to Whitchurch. There are three lift bridges on this stretch, and a junction into the Whitchurch arm. It was very complicated there, with boats coming out, going in, carrying on, and coming the other way. 

Whitchurch Arm

Another boat coming towards us turned round in a winding hole, and ended up between us and the slow boat. James walked ahead and operated the third lift bridge, as we were the last boat. 

One of the people on the slow boat saw our logos and introduced himself as Miles Harvey, a director of Premier Christian Radio.

We went another half mile and stopped for lunch (and for the day) at a pleasant spot between bridges 35 and 37.

Then around the corner towards us came Mistol, with Rob and Tricia, so they stopped to have lunch with us before moving on again.  It was great to see them once more. We parted company at Great Haywood on 4th July. Since then they have been to Llangollen via Stone and Middlewich, and have also done the Leek and Caldon canals while we have been going up the Shroppie. They do longer days than we do. 

Rob and Tricia on Mistol

Evening meal al fresco, with a wide towpath, and shady trees.

Buzzards in the trees and kingfishers in the bushes.

7 locks, 5 miles, 3 lift bridges, 1 mouse, 2hr40

Tuesday 22nd July

Hot weather forecast, so we emerged early and set off before Hugo had thought of going ashore, hoping to get to Ellesmere before the temperatures rose too high.

There seem to be buzzards everywhere. There were two last night, and today we passed a tree in which there were four. Also very common today were horseflies. James was doing a little slapping dance at the tiller, while Hazel was wielding our black and yellow zapper, which made a loud crack when she was successful.

There were two more lift bridges, which seem to need many turns of the windlass. Perhaps it was the hot weather. Then came the Prees branch, which goes a mile south to Whixall Marina and a nature reserve. This is one of the little bits we have never done. We will tick it off on the way back.

Whixall Moss Roving Bridge

Prees Branch

Just after the junction, we came across Amy Em moored up. Margaret was attending to something on the roof.  There were handy bollards nearby, so we tied up and said hello. Rex was out walking through Whixall Moss with Cassie, their dog. He was soon back, and we had tea on board Gabriel.

Rex and Margaret

More than two hours later, after catching up with the news, we were on our way again. We had discovered that although Gospel Belle and Trinity were somewhere up ahead, Peter and Lin had gone to Devon for a few days, and Henry and Lin had gone to Sussex.

It was so hot that we felt a need for shade, and we found a mooring soon after bridge 51, where we paused for lunch under a spreading oak tree.

A mile later we were passing Cole Mere, and we spotted Kairos moored up, with the side doors open. We pulled alongside, hoping to see Jonathan and his new wife Barbara, who we have never met. However, they had been and gone, and the boat was being looked after by Bill and Julie, who live there in a wooden chalet style bungalow in the woods, overlooking the lake. A stunning location, as the estate agents would say.

We passed the lovely Blake Mere, where there is a huge sign saying you are not allowed to do anything – there is a list. Then the Ellesmere Tunnel which is so short it did not require our tunnel light.

Finally we turned into the Ellesmere Arm and found a mooring, and visited the shops. We managed to obtain a piece of plastic from a sign writing shop, which we could use for the fuel gauge, which keeps coming away as it is only held on with a sticky gasket. We posted a card to Stan and Mary for their Diamond Wedding.  60 years married is quite something. Congratulations you two if you read this.

James chatted to the guy on Sam Hardy, who we have seen several times on our journey, but always in passing. His name is Pete, and he comes from Stafford Boat Club, and he gave me information about RCR.  He knows Joe and Mags Lockwood, and Graham and Brenda Thick.

Pizza on board.  Hugo was chased on board by a German Shepherd, who came right onto the boat and only stopped at the top of the steps down into the galley. The owner said absolutely nothing. It is quite extraordinary that the word “Sorry” is so hard for some people.


We had text messages from Henry and Peter, sent on Sunday, only just received. They have not gone away yet, so we should see them before they go, probably at Chirk.

11 miles, 2 lift bridges, I tunnel,  4hr20

Monday, 21 July 2014

Market Drayton to Nantwich

Monday 14th July

Market Drayton to Audlem

We sorted out rubbish and loo but didn’t need water. We left two boats at the water point pointing in our direction.

At Adderley Locks we met BCF boats Rutland Rose (Anna and Tim Lacey), and Le Timbou (Roger and Patricia Wannell).

Adderley Locks

We phoned Roger and Mirjana Garland in Ellesmere to arrange for them to receive some post for us. It is a joy to have friends in all sorts of places. It is also very useful.

At Audlem Locks we met Fruit of the Vine (BCF Keith and Diane Yeandl) for the third time this year!  There are 15 locks at Audlem.  We moored between locks 11 and 12, and saw two more BCF boats going past: Constance Alice (Roger and Mary Folley and The Lady Margaret (John and Margaret English and Roger Evans).  The next boat had two cats: a black one and a ginger one.

Hugo makes friends in Audlem

In the evening we went along to the Bridge Inn for a folk session. As we arrived, a car pulled up, and Roger and Mirjana got out!  It took us quite by surprise, although they had sent us a text, but we hadn’t seen it.  The session was mainly tunes, with several fiddles, a recorder, a bowed psaltery (lovely sound), a mandolin, two bodhrans, two melodeons and a guitar (ours).  The only singing came from Roger and Mirjana, and us two, plus one other song from one of the fiddle payers.  We sang Long Way Down; Sally Free and Easy; Well, Well, Well; Miles and Miles of Poly.  It was very casually organised and totally informal.  Good fun.

Roger and Mirjana at the Bridge Inn, Audlem

We found some remains of a mouse when we returned, and Hugo caught another later.

16 locks, 2 miles, 2 mice, 4hr05

Tuesday 15th July

Audlem to Bridge 83/84 Coole Pilate picnic site

We had a look round Audlem especially the church, where we signed the visitors book.  The village was full of flowers and had won prizes in the best-kept village competition. We then collected a few items from the Co-op, and returned to the boat. 


 Audlem flowers

The lock flight was busy, so when we left we had a boat in front and another behind.  After the first lock we stopped by the Shroppie Fly for water, rubbish and cassette duties.

There was some manoeuvring about when we left the water point, as the boat coming up in the lock wanted to go where we were. The boat behind us was due to use the lock next, but they let us go first as it was simpler.  Further down the flight, we saw that a boat was coming up so we left the gates open. Then we realised that he was coming up in reverse. He took ages to reverse back up to the previous lock.

We were surprised to see an oystercatcher in a field as we passed.  There didn’t even seem to be any water there.

We moored near the Coole Pilate picnic site provided by the Shropshire Union Canal Society. We remembered this from before (in 2000), but it has been extended with more picnic tables, and stands for instant barbecues.

Coole Pilate Picnic area

There is enough space for quite a few boats and there is a wide towpath area.  There were only three boats when we arrived, but by the end of the day there were at least a dozen.  Several of them had dogs, but they were well behaved. The boat behind us had a dog and a cat, which were playing together, and the cat seemed to take orders like stay, and come, now!

We heard a whistle and looked out of the window to see President and Kildare coming past, heading south. We guessed they had been at the Chester rally.

President and Kildare

We had a barbecue – our first of the season. There was also a beautiful sunset.

Sunset at Coole Pilate

4 locks, 2 miles, 1 hr45.

Wednesday 16th July

Coole Pilate 48 hour moorings

A day to get some things done.  First of all, a barbecue breakfast.  Then Hazel used her new sewing machine to adjust some trousers. James washed the boat, trying out some new wax polish.

Some blog updates and zzzzzzz.

A very light rain shower later, so the hood went up.

Then Byfleet Boat Club member Ray came past on Stronghold.  It was good to catch up with him. Apparently he won the boat handling this year at Little Venice Cavalcade. Well done Ray! He is aiming for Chester and Ellesmere Port. He told us that Mick and Suzanne (Cranley) and Terry and Chris (Barley Twist) were a few hours behind, heading for the Llangollen. It is going to be a sociable time, as we already know that other friends of ours are up there – Gospel Belle, Trinity, Amy Em and Maranatha.

Ray on Stronghold

James went for a walk a little later and met the chap from Waiouru, who is ex-military, and going in our direction, and the man from Wea-ry-tired, an ex-cop who is heading for Stourport. Apparently the dog wasn’t his, just the cat, who has only been boating for six weeks, after living confined to a flat. The dog was the first one the cat had met!

One of the steps into the cabin from the stern came adrift – the glue had unstuck.  James fixed two blocks underneath to stop it sliding forward, but it needs something more permanent.

Another good sunset this evening.

No boating today

Thursday 17th July

Coole Pilate to Nantwich

A few boats went past early, and we followed at a leisurely pace, knowing there were the two Hack Green locks up ahead.  There was a short queue when we got there, mainly because the second lock was very slow.  There were big signs to the secret bunker, which is not very secret any more. It is even marked on all the maps.

Secret bunker sign

A little further along we were pleased to spot a water vole moving slowly along the water’s edge.

At Nantwich we wanted to moor as near as possible to the shops. The canal is on a high embankment above the town, and as we passed under Marsh Lane Bridge, there were plenty of spaces. As we approached the aqueduct, we noticed all the moorings were taken, and after the aqueduct it was the same thing. We passed Stronghold and then we found there was just one space at the end of the line.

Nantwich aqueduct

We saw Malcolm and Stephanie Grey-Smart across the canal at the Nantwich Canal Centre, and had a chat across the water.  We went to the laundrette there later, to wash the carpets, and we missed them going past on Elisha. We also missed Cranley, with Mick and Suzanne, from Byfleet Boat Club. We heard they had passed from Ray later.

Hazel took the trolley and caught a bus into town to get provisions from Morrisons, and post Jasmin’s card. She is 16 tomorrow.

It was very hot, and there was no shade. We put up the pram hood, and sat in the shade of that on the towpath, with wine and dips.

Rain was forecast for early morning so we put up the hood sides. We also rolled up the newly washed carpets and put them on the chairs so they wouldn’t get stained when Hugo brings in a mouse.

Sunset at Nantwich

2 locks, 4 miles, 1 mouse, 2hr15