Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Buxworth to Higher Poynton

We spent 2 very pleasant days in Buxworth basin & as the sun scared the rain off  for a while we were able to get the washing done & the engine serviced.  On Monday  as we left we managed to get moored up at the top of the arm so we could do a shop at the handy Tescos then it was just a short cruise up to Marple, it was very busy & the only mooring spots left were under trees so we kept going to just passed Goyt Mill & found a nice spot with a view & a signal.

Tuesday we pottered on to High Lane, stopping at the visitor moorings just before the bridge, before the coffee was made we realised that just over the hedge was the brand new kids playground & squeals of delight from the local children trying it out, that was ok, it was the empty lager cans strewn around the seating area that prompted "we're off!" 
More moorings just through the bridge & all seemed quiet, well it was until 9pm when loud music was drifting down from the pub,' The Bull's Head' seems like it was a disco night, anyway it went on till 2am. Maybe the lager drinkers would have been quieter!

Wednesday we went back up to Marple, found a good mooring just past bridge 2 so stayed for a couple of days, handy for shopping & we also had a rainless day ( few & far between at the moment!) so we got a coat of paint on the roof. Our roof was a dull reddish colour when we bought Poppy & on a hot day a couple of years ago a lovely old chap, John from Bluewater Marina demonstrated to me how much cooler a light coloured roof kept the boat ( very technical, hand on dark roof - too hot to touch, hand on light roof - cool)
We painted ours cream not long after but of course being cream gets grubby & we decided this year to give it a fresh coat so half is now done, it will be finished when  a)we get some more paint & b) then have a dry day.

Thursday we moved from Marple just a short hop out into the countryside near Goyt Mill again & then yesterday we moved up to Higher Poynton 

Passed this old 'pill box' left over from WW2, they really did think that we may be invaded by the canals, it is being put to better use these days

We stopped off at 'The Trading Post' for diesel ( self declare, 75p before tax) & a couple of new mooring pins as the 'eyes' on all 3 of our old ones have sheared off ( maybe from hitting them with a lump hammer!) & finding a nice spot between bridges 15 & 16 we got moored up just before the rain got going in earnest.

One of the reasons we have been keen to stay in this area for a while was to do some walking but the weather to date has been dire & when we have had some respite we felt we needed to get the jobs out of the way, well today the forecast was for more rain but this morning Mark said lets just put our boots on & go,  so with cagoules in the rucksack we did. Walked across bridge 15 & up to Lyme Park, it's uphill most of the way there so a good leg stretch. 

In the extensive  grounds is 'The Cage' which was built as a hunting lodge but was also used for locking up prisoners, must have been grim as it's very bleak up there.

 Being stingy we didn't pay to 'do' the house & grounds but did manage a coffee & bun in the cafe. 

Lyme Park House

good walking country

On our way back looking towards the canal which is just visible in the centre of the photo

back at the canal, bridge 16 & it didn't rain.... 

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Castlefield to Buxworth

4 canals in 4 days so we have been busy, having had enough of city life we set off up & out early  (7.30!!) on Thursday morning. The reason for the early start was we were headed for the Peak Forest which meant 9 locks on the Rochdale then the Ashton with another 18 locks and apart from calling into the very handy  canalside Asda for a restock we didn't want to have to moor on the Ashton overnight.

Lock 92, 1st lock out of Castlefield onto the Rochdale with the Hilton in the background

 The 1st 9 locks were not easy or pleasant, the lockgear is stiff & heavy to use but the worst thing I found was walking the towpath under the buildings which are smelly & foul, yuk I was pleased to get out! 
One thing we really like about the Bridgewater is that even in urban areas it is usually free of rubbish, mainly thanks to the efforts of the Water Womble  the same cannot be said for the Rochdale & Ashton, anyway enough grumbles... things improved somewhat on the Ashton as the locks are narrow & the lock gear easy to use so apart from the wind which livened things up now & again we made steady progress.

Interesting apartments on the Ashton

fighting with the wind getting into a lock

A sight for sore eyes (& arms!) top lock on the Ashton

We finally moored up on the Peak Forest just before the lift bridge at 7.30pm, 
12 hours,12 miles & 27 locks & we quite enjoyed it!

On Friday it was just a couple of hours along to Woodley & then we spent the rest of the day relaxing until 9pm when it was apparent that noises from a house behind the hedge heralded 'party night' so we upped pins & had our 1st night time cruise, just for an hour till we found a quiet spot for the night.

Having checked the weather forecast we  thought were in for the odd light shower yesterday and we set off for the Marple flight at 8am with blue skies, within the hour it was pouring down & pretty much continued to do so for most of the day - a very long shower!
As we went up the flight we noticed the pounds were low & and I had to let a couple of lockfuls down to get through 9 & 10, it seemed a cruel joke as we were sodden & the rain was bucketing down.
I took over steering for the last few locks  with Mark standing above on the bridges shouting instructions which wasn't too stressful. I'm getting the hang of it slowly & determined to become proficient so we can take turns at both steering & locking.

Unfortunately I didn't take any pics of the Marple flight due to the rotten weather but it's impressive, very scenic & well worth visiting with or without a boat.

We emerged at the top at 1.15 & stopped off to use the service point, which is just at the top of the Macclesfield then winded & back up to the junction & onto the Upper Peak Forest.
Looking for somewhere to moor up but the towpath is lined with boats for far enough & when we got past the boats it's either too narrow or overgrown to moor up, any spot that is moorable has a boat occupying it, so on we plodded & finally moored up by bridge 33.

 Another busy day, 8 miles,16 locks,1 tunnel, 2 lift bridges, 2 swing bridges & a lot of rain...

Today a short hop to Buxworth Basin, it's a lovely spot & we would love to stay for a few days as we've been dashing about & it's time to slow down a tad but it's a strict 48 hrs which is not a bad thing as it means no-ones hogging the best bits.

Poppy in Buxworth

Sid's latest antics, now we have to hide the toilet roll (& the kitchen towel roll)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Worsley to Castlefield

On Friday morning we left the pleasant surroundings of Worsley 

the ochre colour is due to dissolved iron ore in the water

On route we passed 'The Lighthouse'  

& crossed the Manchester Ship Canal on the Barton Swing Aqueduct

looking left towards the Manchester skyline

looking right towards the road bridge & the M60 in the distance

Had lots of family time over the weekend & on Sunday with family aboard we cruised into Manchester, managed to find a mooring in a very busy Castlefield & enjoyed a picnic in the sunshine, later they got the tram home back to Stretford.

busy Castlefield

We had a walk over to check out the big screen area, complete with beach, before the football final & thought we may watch it there to save on our power but in the end we were just too idle & watched it on TV.

Manchester 'beach' 

I woke at 3am & someone was running their engines !! It was pretty busy with boats end to end & no spaces left so difficult to figure out who was the culprit except it was someone on the opposite side, just as well because if I had actually got up………

Had a potter around yesterday, visited the John Rylands Library & the Museum of Science & Industry  I was a bit disappointed  not too see more about the history of the canals in Manchester but it is undergoing some serious revamping with the main building currently closed so I may be doing them an injustice.

9pm last night & just settling down to watch Rich Hall’s programme about the American Deep South  when the boat opposite turned their engines on, opened their hatch & started playing music so we all could hear, cheers guys!
I bit my tongue & closed the windows, it quietened down about 11 so not too bad I suppose…..
This morning we needed to go up to the service point to water & as a few boats have moved on we have now moored up well away from the offenders.

We will probably make a move on Thursday or Friday & the current plan is to head up the Ashton then onto the Peak Forest, maybe…

It seems that the water situation on the Leeds Liverpool is getting critical, & BW plan to close it between Gargrave & Wigan on 2nd August unless there’s significant rainfall, well it’s pouring down here tonight so that’s a start.

a couple more pics

erm.. can't I play with this freshly baked bread bun then ?

for Richard ;-)

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Wigan to Worsley

No hold ups on Tuesday morning & we set off down at 9.30am sharing with nb Serenity, 
2nd lock, only 19 to go

masonary marks on lock sides, Derek, Dave, Doug ?...

the stone masons numbered each lock

powerful by-washes

meeting some boats coming up, making it easier as locks now in our favour

It was warm, thirsty work but as we arrived at the bottom lock at 1pm I think we made reasonable time, so much so that the bottom lock was 'locked' necessitating a phone call to BW  & of course  phone numbers in Nicholsons out of date so a walk up to the service point to get the current number (01942 405700)  A lockie soon appeared, he hadn't expected us to make such good time! 

We moored up overnight at Dover Bridge & then spent last night there too as it was quite pleasant but today we needed supplies so onwards to Leigh,  mooring just before the bridge which is very handy for the shops.

Once stocked up we pushed on, as you go under the bridge you leave the Leeds Liverpool Canal behind & onto the Bridgewater, & after a couple of hours pleasant cruising we are now moored up in Worsley.

Tomorrow it's Stretford & a weekend with the grandkids!!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Busy going nowhere....

We were all ready for off this morning, I'd even made a flask of coffee to sustain us down the  flight when we spotted several BW workers scratching their heads & poking poles into the top gates.

 Mmm, seems there is a problem with a paddle & before long we're told that flight would have to be shut for the day for repairs, so us & the 7 other boats will just have to wait 24 hours


Fortunately we are in no hurry to be anywhere & so we decided to have a  walk down to
Wigan Pier  where we found

a  mill worker 'lass'

& a bargeman looking down the canal 

The (rebuilt) terminus building

We were hoping we could have found somewhere for a coffee but found nowhere open so we walked up into the town, had lunch & a bit of a potter then, being lazy, got a bus back up to the canal where we found an empty pound & some BW  bods busy clearing up


 it seems we had missed most of the action, we should be okay to go down tomorrow but they are not ruling out needing to shut again for a few days....

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Withnell Fold to Wigan

As predicted Wednesday was a busy day, we arrived at Johnson's locks at 9.15am so plenty of time to use the services before 10am, the appointed lock 'opening' time as per current restrictions. There were  three boats waiting in front of us but one was only going through the 1st lock to wind then back up so as no other boats appeared we ended up going down on our own.

 Johnson's Hill top lock

Filling the 2nd lock

It was a beautiful morning with hardly anyone about apart from the odd dog walker so  after Mark had done a couple of locks he gave me the tiller & I did the rest, good job I didn't have too long to think about it! Anyway it went (mostly) fine & as I steered into 1 lock a lady watching commented " you've done that a few times" err no actually..... so apart from getting the steering a bit wrong once & ending up in the bushes not too bad an effort.

Mark doing a lock for a change

We stopped off at Botany Bay to pop in to B&Q & then on to Chorley where we walked into town for food supplies, it was a bit of a slog as by now it was very warm so nice to get back on board & catch a bit of breeze as we cruised to Adlington, our overnight stop. A long, hot day.
Decided to stay put on Thursday, had a lazy day & at 11am not too early a start on Friday but it was a fairly short hop to Wigan & we  ended up mooring a mile or so before the locks whilst still in the countryside.

Saturday, chores & washing, not much else to say about that really! 

Today we moved up to the services at the top of the flight as we needed water, when we got here at 9.15am there were several boats waiting for 10am to start their descent. As we pulled onto the water point which is between the top lock & where the 1st boat in the queue was waiting we were quickly asked if we were going down,  err no not today, just getting water... I think they were worried we might be trying to to queue jump.....

After watering up we moored up over on the other side of the locks & eventually  got ourselves organised for a walk down the flight & into town. Not a big shop ( too long a walk back up the hill!) but nice to have a coffee & a bun.   
We are having a quiet evening with no TV as Mark can't get a satellite signal, probably as we are surrounded by trees, a chance to do some reading & an early night I think as 21 locks tomorrow - already a few boats moored up so hopefully plenty of hands to make light work ;)