Saturday 21 May 2011

Beeston Locks to Tattenhall Marina

Today we were up early for a prompt departure because although we didn't have many lock miles to do we had to check-in and moor-up in our new marina; and then find a way of getting back to our car in Great Haywood.
Tattenhall Marina will be our short term mooring until our next annual leave when we will return to Great Haywood picking up the top end of the Trent and Mersey enroute.
Aries Cars came at 2.00pm just after grand prix qualifying to transfer us back to our car! I had a range of companies to pick from but showed my allegiance to Volvo (picking the card with a V70) on the picture - sad I know!!
By 8.30 pm we had been back to the marina to pack the car; visited Ellesmere Port and I am standing waiting for fish and chips in Northallerton.

Our new berth for the summer.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday 20 May 2011

Wrenbury to Beeston Locks

Friday 20th May 2011

At 15mins past midnight we were disturbed by an alcohol fuelled low life from Wrenbury who was walking along the line of moored boats banging on the roof and shouting "f**k off! You shouldn't be here! I live here" which was nice. I have my fingers crossed that he fell in and we will find him floating face down on the canal later today.
Sadly we didn't find him but suspect he lives on a boat east of the manual lift bridge!
By lunchtime we were decending the Hurleston Locks down to the Shroppie main line. We stopped and moored on the beer garden of The Barbridge Inn and we were unimpressed by the Pub. The menu, the table and the sticky toffee puddings were all of similar stickiness. The speckled hen was sadly undrinkable, and I suspect the beers are as badly cared for as the pub itself. The scampi and chips were edible but I will not be stopping there again to try anything else.
We travelled further north and west on the Shroppie on parts of the canal we have never travelled. The wide locks and heavy gates are an unwelcome challenge at this end of the day! Finally mooring just above Beeston Stone Lock where we must appear invisible to the passing 'ownerships flyboats' and 'Anglowelsh hirers' who all seem intent on washing us out of the cut!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Whitchurch to Wrenbury

Thursday 19th May 2011

Left our moorings in Whitchurch and worked through the Grindley Brook Locks. The locks were busy but we seemed to strike lucky as the whole flight only took a little over 1 hour.
Arrived at Wrenbury lift bridge at 1.30pm. And moored up for the evening.
We were booked into the Dusty Miller for 7.00pm.
We enjoyed a fantastic meal again although they fore-fitted their tip when they continued to charge me for a bottle of still water that was 23 months beyond it's best before date! (£4) Even though this was pointed out to the proprietor.
Then back to the boat for last orders and bed!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Frankton Junction to Whitchurch

Wednesday 18th May 2011

Set away in good time as we intended to travel down the Prees Branch and the Whitchurch Branch on our return along the canal.
Stopped at Ellesmere once more travelling down the Ellesmere Arm so that Elaine could get her Tesco 'fix'. The journey wouldn't be deemed a success without gathering some Clubcard Points en- route.
However it also gave us the opportunity to try the pork pies from Vermeulen's Deli - as recommend in the Pearson Guide. They were fantastic!! Great recommendation.
Had lunch along the Prees Branch after winding at the Marina.
Finally mooring just beyond the Whitchurch after finding there was no mooring space down the Arm. However we travelling the full length of the Arm so can tick that one off!
Although it was a very wet morning; the afternoon was reasonably dry and sunny and the day ended with a lovely evening sunset.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Llangollen to Frankton Junction

Tuesday 17th May 2011

Pulled out of the basin at circa 10.00am after a fantastic meal the night before in The Cornmill it was unlikely to be an early start.
Seemed to take an age to get to Trevor with hire-boaters reluctant to deploy crew members at blind corners and narrow sections leading to much delay and confusion!!!
Finally moored at Frankton Junction for the evening. Darkness settled with a peacock squawking in the trees nearby!

Elaine again holding the tiller on the return across the Ponty!

Back across Chirk Aqueduct.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Chirk to Llangollen

Monday 16th May 2011

Today we negotiated Chirk Aqueduct and Tunnel and travelled across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and down the very narrow section from Trevor to Llangollen Basin.
Although we arrived in Llangollen in good time for lunch at a tea-shop we had struggled all day to make reasonable pace as the current on the canal was quite strong and shallow.
We moored in the canal basin which was a great novelty with water and electric for each boat. Although there was a £6 charge it was well worth the investment to be so central to Llangollen. Last time Elaine & I travelled down to Llangollen was 10 years ago and the marina basin had not been created; a great improvement!

Chirk Aqueduct.

Elaine at the helm across the Pontcysyllte - not nervous much!!

The Flinstones Range of furniture next to the canal in Llangollen

Elaine and I walked up to the Horseshoe Falls beyond the limit of navigation. About a two mile walk from the basin and the falls are pretty unimpressive.

Horseshoe Falls Llangollen.

Spotted this Mandarin Duck on the walk up to the Horseshoe Falls.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday 19 May 2011

Ellesmere to Chirk

Sunday 15th May 2011

Left moorings by the Mere and at Ellesmere travelled down the arm and moored for shopping at Tesco. A brief gimble around the town before setting down to Sunday paper reading with a cup of coffee. Soon we were underway once more; and after topping up the water we were heading towards Chirk. A duck hitched a ride; although it's stowaway status didn't last long as the galley girl evicted it as she had concerns that it may crap on the boat!
Moored for lunch just beyond Frankton Locks for lunch.
The weather was changeable with showers and high winds at New Martin locks provided some entertainment with boats blown onto the offside bank. We joined the back of a queue of 6 boats and encountered a delay of circa 90mins!
By 7.00pm we reached Chirk and moored half a mile before the aqueduct.

The view from our mooring next to the Mere at Ellesmere

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Wrenbury to Blake Mere

Saturday 14th May 2011

Full cooked breakfast to start the day - making the most of our farm shop purchases from the Adderley Flight earlier.
Updated some of the blog although still 4 days behind (struggled for adequate signal).
Set away at 10.30am through the Wrenbury lift bridge and enjoyed a thoroughly pleasant days cruising despite the heavy rain showers in the afternoon. I had forgotten how nice this canal actually is.
Negotiated Grindley Brook assisted by the lock keeper who, although possibly not as jolly as the Nicholson Guide suggested, was very helpful all the same.
Finally mooring on the edge of picturesque Blake Mere.

Grindley Brook - locking through under a threatening sky!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Nantwich to Wrenbury.

Friday 13th May 2011

Up early as it was my 45th birthday! By 7.30am I had opened my cards and presents from family and friends. We were then soon underway and climbing the locks onto the Llangollen. Topped up the water tanks at the top of the flight and pushed on to Wrenbury - mooring before the lift bridge for a lunchtime pint in the Dusty Miller before walking into the village and cutting back through the church yard on our return to the canal.
Staying in Wrenbury for the afternoon to recharge our batteries and had a wonderful birthday meal in the Dusty Miller in the evening. The bar had been recently refurbished and the food and wine was fantastic. We hope to stop off here again on our return back down the canal.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Audlem to Nantwich

Thursday 12th May
Generally an uneventful day with much of the same on the long straight lengths with the Shroppie.
Finally mooring outside the Nantwich Marina. After a wander around the marina we cooked some fantastic burgers and average sausages obtained along the canal on a disposable BBQ. Generally the meal was a success although the weather prevented us enjoying the full outdoor experience (eating in the boat).

BBQ at Nantwich.

On the way to Nantwich we did pass a Secret bunker that was well signposted from the canal. Not sure how much of a secret it really was!!!

Signpost for the secret bunker!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday 14 May 2011

Goldstone Wharf to Audlem

Wednesday 11th May 2011

Pulling from our moorings at 7.30am I enjoyed an early morning cruise up to the first lock with the smell of bacon sandwiches being prepared in the galley.
Tyrley Locks were very busy and full of the usual busy bodies who couldn't organise their own negotiation of the flight but had plenty of advice to give to others.
As we negotiated the pound of the penultimate lock we became grounded as the lock below was emptied. It was a problem soon solved once the lock above was emptied, but embarrassing all the same - attracting the usual gaggle of gongoozlers! I think the ice cream van was the only thing missing from the canal side scene!!
We were soon through the lock and mooring in Market Drayton for lunch. We walked into town.
Although we had an enjoyable lunch at a cafe in the Market Place; the town is otherwise dreadful! 50% of the retail property is vacant and the other 50% is occupied by businesses that survive off the last pickings of a dying civilisation! (Wilkinsons, Lidl, Aldi, charity shops, etc.) However, it must be a good place to have your hair cut as I noticed no fewer than 8 hairdressers on my brief sweep of the town.
After lunch we filled up with water and pushed on to Audlem; mooring outside the Shroppie Fly. I managed to sneak on the end of a mooring big enough for five boats but otherwise occupied by two badly moored hire boats who I am sure that I was being indignant for sharing their mooring ring!
On our way down to Audlem we bought some bacon, sausage and scones from the farm shop at Lock 1 on the Adderley Flight. Alison, the female part of the farm shop business, had adopted a lamb that followed her around like a dog! Elaine thought it was lovely!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Brewood to Goldstone

Tuesday 10th May 2011

A light breakfast and an early start in order to arrive at Gnosall for lunch. At Gnosall we moored up below a crows nest which had it's problems but after a fantastic pint of Ruddles County at The Oak and delicious fish and chips from the take-away we weren't bothered about a bit of guano on the boat roof.
We pushed on after lunch arriving at Goldstone Wharf for good moorings.
To summarise the day it had been slow progress as we seemed to have spent hours and hours on tick-over passing long rows of permanently moored boats.

Young ducklings - eagerly awaiting food!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Penkridge to Brewood

Monday 9th May
Left Penkridge and as we locked up through Gailey, Elaine presented me with a 'duck call' that she had bought from the craft shop (a strange gift; but something I always fancied); also it sounds nothing like a duck when blown!
As we passed Calf Heath Marina I looked out for narrowboat 'bramble'; a colleagues boat but I guess they were out or I was looking in the wrong place; as I couldn't spot them.
After negotiating Autherley Junction like a real amateur we progressed up the Shroppie. As we passed under the M54 we spotted Ian & Linda from Doncaster who were making use of the shelter from the showers as they painted their boat in the relative gloom of the bridge. Although gloomy it makes for a cheap wet-dock I guess.
We finally moored in Brewood and went shopping for a few essentials.
The evening came to a close with an amazing thunder and lightening show; made more dramatic by our location in a deep cutting.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday 12 May 2011

Sunday 8th May 2011 Acton Trussell to Penkridge

Waking and having breakfast in the hotel seemed strange with the boat moored outside. However it was a last chance to chat to family and friends before they all departed back to the working week.
We then spent the majority of the day in and around the hotel with lunch in the bar. It was soon 4.00pm and we promised Robert and Suzanne a trip along the canal so they travelled with us up to Teddesley Boats at which point they turned to walk back to the hotel while we moved on to Penkridge for the evening. It had been a busy weekend - if not a little stressful - although we were now looking forward to a fortnight on the boat for our honeymoon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday 7th May 2011 Wedding Day!

After showing a few of our friends and family around the boat who were staying in the hotel across the canal, we settled down to watch the grand prix qualifiers Turkey.
We then left the boat and took our wedding attire across to the hotel where we would take up occupation for 24 hrs. After our wedding and reception we wondered over to the boat (about 1.30am!) to lock up and found that several of our guests had decorated our boat further with balloons. Although we were staying in the hotel in a fantastic room (suite) I was still very tempted to sleep on the boat! However it was late and by now all our clothes were in the hotel so we headed back to the suite.

A sign displayed on the rear hatch!

The wedding cake.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday 7 May 2011

A Cruise to the Wedding Venue

Friday 6th May 2011
After viewing the wedding cake at Amerton Farm we decorated the boat with bows and ribbons and set off for Acton Trussell.
A really enjoyable journey with passing boaters wishing us well! Although one guy did shout 'don't do it' much to the
annoyance of his other half!
Moored at Acton Trussell opposite the Moat House at about 3.00pm and enjoyed an excellent evening meal with friends and family.
Returned to the boat in torchlight with light drizzle spoiling an otherwise fantastic day.

The Mooring.

The cake - amazing skill!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone