Sunday, 14 September 2014

Back Home. Our UK home.

Friday 5 September. 4 3/4 miles, 1 lock.

Beautiful day on a lovely canal. Set off from Kidsgrove in a warm overcast with a light haze day through country side with many beautiful bridges. Reminded us of the Shropshire canal. Pulled into Congleton for lunch then off into town to sort out (try anyway) Diana's phone. I think we are about to give up on T-mobile and ee  networks. Went to Marian and Alan's for tea and then they took us to the birthplace of Reginald Mitchel, then the cloud, the highest point in the area. Couldn't see much because of the haze. They then showed us the flight of 12 locks we need to climb to complete our journey. Apple and blackberry crumble for pudding then back to the boat.

The Aqueduct at Congleton

Saturday 6 September. Nil

We were picked up and taken to Quarry Bank, a National trust Textile Mill. The interesting bit was a tour of the Apprentice House where 60 girls and 20 boys lived while working in the mill for 13 hours a day 6 days a week for board and keep. No wages. Back on the boat by 1700.

Inside the Quarry Bank Mill
The Apprentice House
Went home via Jodrell Bank
Sunday 7 September. Nil

Diana went to Marian's to do some sewing while I fiddled with Molly Rose. In the evening we took Alan & Marian and enjoyed a Sunday Roast at their local pub.

Monday 8 September. 7 miles, 12 locks, 1 swing bridge.

Left Congleton before lunch heading towards Macclesfield. Had lunch at the bottom of the Bosley locks then up the last 12 of this trip. Flat water from here. Planned to stop at a pub for tea but after mooring up found it closed and for sale.

Entering the last lock
The last lock is closed behind us.

Tuesday 9 September, 3 mies 1 swing bridge.

Through countryside until reaching the Macclesfield moorings. A bit disappointing. They were rough, couldn't get into the bank and then there were signs everywhere restricting us to 24 hours and not allowed to run the engine. Bit tough when short of power.All in all not welcoming. Into town and got no joy out of T-mobile even though the shop assistant was doing her best. Changed providers to "3" so Diana now has a new number.

Wednesday 10 September,4 miles.

Went into Macclesfield and visited the Silk museum and had a tour around the Paradise mill. The guide explained all the machinery and turned them on as we went. Lunch in a delli. Diana to the opp shops and I went back to the boat via the hardware shop. Motored on over a high embankment overlooking Bollington and stopped in a country setting further on.

Thursday 11 september, 3 1/2 miles.

Walked back into Bollington and checked out the lower part. Had lunch in a cafe and then checked out the upper part of town which was the nicer of the two. Motored north thinking we may walk into Lyme Park another National trust estate but the house is closed on thursdays. traveled on a bit further then moored up opposite a line of residential moorings.

The Aqueduct at Bollington

Friday 12 September. 8 miles, 2 lift & 2 swing bridges.

Stopped at Marple to do some shopping. We were last here on 14th May at the start of this years adventure. Reaching Marple also completes the Cheshire Ring, which we first got onto on 11th June 2010. Now down the Peak forest canal and back to Furness Vale to moor up in preparation to going home. Tonight the Furness Vale Boat Club were having a meeting so we went along to meet the locals. Some worthwhile contacts here.

Saturday 13 September. Nil.

Worked on tidying and cleaning the boat until about 1600 then off to a BBQ with the boat club.

Sunday 14 September. Nil

Bit of maintenance on the boat. Being sunday we went to the local pub for Sunday Roast in the evening.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

On the Macclesfield

Monday 1 September. 2 ½ miles

Back up to Tunstall (10 min) to try and other supermarket for the bits we didn't get yesterday. Lunch on the boat then headed south and turned up the Caldon canal, filled with water, turned around then walked to Emma Bridgewater pottery, From there we went to the centre of Hanley. Had to have diner in the Reginald Mitchell pub. If you have an interest in aviation history you will know who he was, if not it doesn't matter.

Tuesday 2 September. Nil

Into Hanley to the Potteries museum. Spent a good 3 hours looking at the history, process and a large collection of pottery artefacts. Probably the best collection we have seen. There was a Reginald Mitchell gallery with a spitfire under restoration. A quick look through a large shopping centre then back to the boat.

Outside the Museum
Inside the Museum
Model of a Bottle kiln

Wednesday 3 September. 2 ½ miles.

Set off north heading for home. Stopped for water, visited the Royal Dalton and Wedgwood factory shop, a revisit to Burleigh shop, bought some diesel and moored up for the night.

Thursday 4 September. 3 miles, 1 tunnel.

A short run to the south portal of the Harecastle tunnel where we left the boat and walked to Churchill pottery factory shop, last one! Didn't stay long before walking back to the boat and then through the tunnel. The other times I have been through I was the lead boat, this time I was number 2 in behind a very slow boat so it was idle most of the way and even into neutral several times so I didn't run into him. We were in the tunnel for an hour. Normal time is 35 to 45 min. In the past I did it in 30. we are now on the Macclesfield canal, new territory for us.

Boats leaving the south end of th Harecastle

Monday, 1 September 2014

Back in the potteries

Tuesday 26th August. 4 miles, 14 locks.

No sun yet, no rain either but they day looks bleak Did my first oil change. No problem but took twice as long to clean up than do the change. I should get better next year or organise the changes when the temporary crew are mechanics. A good day of locks with plenty of boats coming the other way. Of the 14 locks only 2 needed emptying and at most there was someone else to open the gates. The OAP's we meet on Saturday came looking for us today and joined as for afternoon tea.

Wednesday 27th August. Nil

A day out with Alan and Marian, the OAP's.

We were picked up at 1030 and delivered home at 2130. first up to a National Trust property, Little Moreton Hall. A Moated Elizabethan house built to impress, to show wealth and gain status. It has been in the Moreton family until given to NT in 1938. The family left the property a century or two ago and the tenants were not allowed to make alterations so the NT inherited an almost original house. They have done a great job with it. Next was Mow Cop via the Astbury church which features on all Cheshire calendars. Mow Cop a ruined castle was built in 1754 on the top of a hill and can be seen for miles around. It looks like the ruins of a castle but was built that way. From this hill we could see almost all of the places we had travelled so far. Next stop was Biddulph Grange Garden, NT. With a quick stop on the way to visit James Brindley's grave. He was known as the father of the canal system.
Biddulph Grange was the Victorian Mansion of James Bateman, who had collected plants from all around the world and laid out the garden in countries. There was the Himalayan Glen, Chinese, Italian and Egyptian gardens along with the Victorian garden. The Mansion had been developed into 5 star apartments and the developer had given the gardens to the NT to return to their original form. Win/Win, apartment owners have a beautiful garden looked after by NT and the people have a delightful garden to enjoy. The real highlight of the this visit was that the manor had been used as a hospital and Marian had trained there and was courted by Alan at that time. Many stories to tell. We finished the day with takeaways at their place and then went and watched Alan play a match of Crown Bowls. Similar but different to lawn bowls.

Thursday 28 August. 3 miles, 13 locks

Finished of the last of the Heartbreak hill locks arriving at the Harecastle tunnel to late to transit so moored at the entrance for the night. At one of the last locks alongside a pub we meet a man with a Barn Owl and got to hold and stroke her.

Friday 29th August. 2 Miles, one of which was underground.

First through the tunnel and moored up by 0930. Set off for the potteries and saw that “Areandare” was a couple of boat lengths in front of us. We have communicated with Barry & Sandra from time to time since meeting Sandra on a tow path a few day over 4 years ago in 2010. We have now meet Barry, who comes from Gisborne. Sandra was away with her sister. First pottery to visit was William Edwards, a boutique pottery we visited last time and thought his work and concept were delightful. The shop was closed but on enquiry a staff member came and opened it up. While talking with her she offered to show us around. Her expertise was to mix the glasses required to match the artists colours. She took us through the whole process from the designs being perfected on the computer, making the screens and printing the transfers. Then a quick look in the factory to see the transfers being hand placed onto the clay objects. Next door is Burleigh Pottery. Last time we were here it was “potters holiday” where all the factories are closed so no tours. This time we found that they now have 2 holidays a year and you guessed it this was the week. The site of the Burleigh pottery is now owned by the Princes trust (Charles) and a few million has been spent on a visitor centre. The factory has been leased out to a commercial operator. After our hard luck story on timing a private tour was arranged and we spent a good 2 hours going through every nook and cranny. Phil the guide, who's Grandfather was there during the war, was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable I'm sure we had the best tour going.

Saturday 30 August. Nil

A day off. Didn't leave the boat all day. Did bits and pieces and a bit of cleaning.

Sunday 31 August. Nil

Wet morning. In the afternoon we walked to Tunstall and found a pub for “Sunday Roast” Best slice of Beef I have tasted this trip. A bit of supermarket shopping then back to the boat where we socialised for a while with the couple from the next boat.

Monday, 25 August 2014

August Bank holliday

Monday 25 August, zero.

Weather not good in the morning so didn't move. Rain stopped after lunch so walked the mile into Sandbach, another of those places where the locals say there is nothing there. A delightful market town with a long history.

7th Century Saxon Crosses

The Black Bear pub with thatched roof

Note the thatched bear

PS. have added photos to last post.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Week on

Sunday 17 August. 2 ¼ miles.

Walked back to Walton Hall to look at the Cycle Museum. A grand old gentleman showed us around his collection. Spent about an hour with him as he had been to NZ and best place was Napier. He happened to be there over an Art Deco weekend. Checked out the local pub for a Sunday Roast, didn't stay as it was just a smorgasbord. Lunch on the boat then moved off. After fighting strong crosswind for a while, moored up with the help of two other boaters in the shelter of some trees. Walked into Daresbury and went to the Lewis Carroll centre. Interesting little spot. Having missed out on Sunday roast we went to the “Ring of Bells” for a lovely al-a-carte meal.
A poster at Cycle Museum

A bit bigger than Napier Tower and no aircraft to be seen.
At a scientific centre on the way to Daresbury.

The Lewis Carroll window in Daresbury church

The Ring of Bells

Monday 18 August. 8 ½ miles.

Stopped at Preston Brook chandler just to see what they had, my sort of shop. Bought some LED bulbs and lights to reduce our power consumption. Backed the boat up the canal a bit and turned down towards Runcorn. Stopped and looked around Norton Priory. Mainly ruins but the under-croft survives from the 17th century. Continued to the end of the canal at Runcorn and walked down to two large bridges that cross the Mersey and Mersey Ship Canal then back to the boat through town. Getting late by this time and not going to stop here. Moored up at the Priory gardens for the night.

Two bridges at Runcorn
The end of the line at Runcorn

Tuesday 19th August. 5 miles, 1 tunnel, 1 lock.

Heading south again and after the tunnel strike the first lock for some time. Just a teaser with a rise of two inches. The lock takes us from the Bridgewater canal onto the Trent and Mersey canal. Spent the night above the Dutton Lock where we spent 2 nights on the Weaver river in 2010.

Looking over Dutton Lock

Moored here where this breach closed the canal for over a year, I think.

Wednesday 20th August. 4 miles, 2 tunnels.

Walked into Acton Swing bridge where we had had a delightful experience at a farm shop in 2010. All changed now and very commercial. Later on we passed the Anderton lift which puts us back into old territory. Lift closed for the night.

Thursday 21st August. 5 ¼ miles.

Had some work done on the heater as it needs to be working now with temperatures dropping.(9 degrees overnight). As we head south it is interesting remembering places we have been before. Last time we called into Marston to look at a Salt museum which was pretty derelict. This time they are spending millions on it but won't be open till next year. Who knows we may get to see it in operation. Later on we passed an boat, seeing our flag “where you from” “Napier” “so are we”. We moored up together for the night. Their house is about ½ mile from ours.

Kiwi flags together

Friday 22 August. 4 miles, 1 lock.

A short day into Middlewich through the last double lock of this trip. Bit of shopping & organised a pumpout for 0900 in the morning before all the hire boats return and get sent out again. Bank holiday weekend.

Saturday 23rd August, 5 ½ miles, 8 locks.

Up and away. If we hadn't been committed we probably would have stayed put as the rain was heavy. Pump out complete and we are number 3 for the lock. The private boats are trying to beat the hire boat rush. In a bit of a rush I slip down the stairs onto my back. Bit of a worry for a while but kept working all day. Went through the 4 locks to get clear of the congested area then moored up to wait a change in the weather. After lunch the sun comes out so off we go . A couple of OAP's talked to Diana at one lock then when we arrive at the next they are there and have opened the gates so we can go straight in. They live near the Macclesfield canal so hope to catch up with them when passing. Picked some blackberries then moored up to rest my back.

Sunday 24th August. 1 mile.

Sun shining first thing so boat has warned up after our Sunday sleep in. pleased to find my back was pretty much right again. Around lunch time we moved on to where I had expected to be last night. Moored at the first spot available then off for a Sunday Roast at the local pub. Becoming a bit of an enjoyable habit. After a quick look around Wheelock and a visit to the Farm shop we moved the boat around the corner to a better mooring as we may be here for a couple of days looking at the forecast. The view out the front of the boat is the first of the 26 locks to get us to the Macclesfield canal. Last time we did 20 in the day

A church in Weelock

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Manchester Ship Canal

Friday 15 August, 1 1/4 miles

Walked into Thelwell and down to the Penny Ferry to cross the Manchester Ship Canal, the price is now 11p. The ferry is to give continuing rights to cross over this part of the canal that was previously a public path. On the other side we set off to a bird sanctuary. The first place we checked out the gate was locked so walked on and meet a bloke with high powered binoculars and large camera lens. Yes there is a bird sanctuary but you must be a member to have a key and if I let you in I will loose my key. We reversed our tracks and continued down the side of the canal to the Latchford Locks. Crossed over and walked back to the boat for lunch and then cruised around the corner to Grappenhall for a bit of food shopping.
The Ferry Man

A Ship sized bollard


Latchford lock

Saturday 16 August 2 1/4 miles.

Stopped at Stockton heath boat yard for water & diesel. It was suggested we should go into town so after lunch we did. As the Manchester ship canal is not far away we crossed over on a swing bridge then did a few shops, back to the boat. Moved on and had to stop at "Houghs Bridge". Walked a little further down the towpath to Walton Hall Gardens. An estate now owned by the local Council. Lovely gardens and a large hall that is being renovated as a function centre.

Lots of bridges
Houghs Bridge
Walton Hall

Thursday, 14 August 2014


Thursday 14 August, 2 miles

Generally mucking around on the boat, a bit of tidying and a bit of washing the outside between rain showers that rinsed it off.

Diana in to Lymm to book a haircut then back for lunch. The haircut was at 1400. When she came back the rain looked like it had cleared for the day so we set off on a long trip to Thelwell. Moored up by ourselves in one of those nice spots.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

In your own backyard


We have meet some lovely people on our travels.
There are some I don't want to meet.
This has to be boaters rubbish.

If we want to stop people throwing their rubbish in our canals we had better stop throwing ours on their towpath

To Lymm

Tuesday 12 August. zero

We walked through Dunham Town to "Dunham Massey Hall". A National Trust 18th-C house in a setting of manicured lawns and gardens, lake and woods where the deer have freedom to roam. During WW1 the house had been used as a hospital and was presented as it was in 1918. Quite moving to read the stories and medical notes of the patients. Stamford Hospital, as it was called was in the downstairs rooms while upstairs was how the family used it during this time including one room full of the furniture that had been down stairs.
A private garden in Dunham Town

Dunham Massey Hall
downstairs ward
Operating theatre

Stanford Military Hospital flag

Wednesday 13 August, 4 miles

Set off, and soon looked across the canal to Dunham Massey Hall as we passed. Around the corner and stopped to look at the village of  Little Bollington. Quaint with a mill that had been converted. Around a few more corners and moor up in Lymm. A quick reconnaissance shows us another interesting and slightly different village which will keep Diana's camera busy.

Durham Hall from canal

Tasteful conversion of  an old corn mill.
A walkway into Lymm

4 days in Manchester

Friday 8 August. zero

Spent the day with Dave & Angie. First stop the Museum of Science & Industry MOSI. Did the Air and Space Hall, The two most interesting to me were the prototype Lightning and the Avro 707 (I think that is what it is called), It was used to develop the delta wing. From there across to the Textile Gallery. Interesting but not a patch on Queen Street Mill in Burnley.
Caught a Tram to Salford docks to visit the Lowry Gallery to see the exhibition of his stick men. Worth the trip. While there we bought tickets to War Horse. Then a quick look in the Imperial War Museum, North. A big emphasis on WW1. Back to the boat then to the local pub for dinner.

AVRO 707

The Lowry 

Imperial War Museum

Saturday 9 August, zero

Dave & Angie decided to move on as the weather forecast after today was not the best for boating. We spent the day walking and exploring Manchester. A visit to the Craft & Design Market. Nice to go to a market where quality and innovation is on display. Some very talented artists there. Lunch from a market stall then wondered through the city back to the boat for an early tea. Caught the Tram back to Salford to see War Horse. Watching the live performance was different. I reserve my opinion on whether a front row seat in a movie theatre with close up shots or watching live from the God's is the best. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sunday 10 August, zero

Wet Day so hunkered down for the morning then went back to the MOSI and this time concentrated on the Power hall with working engines and locomotives. Did a bit of a supermarket shop on the way back. In the evening we went to Coronation Street "The Tour". Coro street production moved to a new center last Christmas so we got to look around the dressing rooms, Wardrobe, Makeup, and then on to the sound stage where Gail's house, Jack and Vera's house and the inside of the Rovers Return were still there. Other memorabilia we also on display. Outside the street is a lot smaller than one imagines from what the TV shows. We now know what we will see in NZ in 2 years time

Pulling a pint at the Rovers return

some of the scenes we know so well

Monday 11 August, 9 miles.

The morning weather had improved from the last couple of days so we walked into the Peoples Museum. Different again as it focused on Unionism and the Labour Party. Very understandable how these were the important things to the working class. After lunch we set off in sunshine. By the time we went around the first corner the predicted showers for the day had started. Not the nicest of days to be travelling but I survived in my (Barry's) Dryasabone. Just before we stopped for the night the last shower of the day passed.