Daisypath - Anniversary

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Happy Birthday AmyJo

Today we celebrated that fact that it is exactly one year today that AmyJo was launched at Crick marina.
Since then we have travelled 395 miles, locked through 150 locks, passed under 2025 bridges, 6 lift bridges and passed through 13 tunnels.  Not bad considering we are weekenders

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Splash down

Not had much to blog about since our last run out.  

We did get a visit from Richard and Sharon on nb Oakapple in the early evening when we got back and whilst we sat chatting Mark and Corrine from  nb Dee O Ghee called to say hello,  so the kettle was soon back on and the lemon drizzle cake demolished.   Later that evening we had arranged to meet up with Richard and Sharon along with our mooring neighbours Paul and Shella in the marina clubhouse for a drink but when we got there at 8pm they had just closed the bar.  We quickly arranged transport and de-camped into Tattenhall and spent a great evening in the Sportsman's Arms instead.

This weekend the weather looked quite promising.  Chris needed to do some Christmas shopping in Chester so this morning we prepared AmyJo for the off and cruised into town.

View from the cratch as we slipped the mooring this
 We had a lovely slow run past the Golden Nook moorings with the sun warm on our backs.  Many moan about these moorings but for us its a time to chill and wind down as we pass the moorings.  By the time we reach the far end of them we are as relaxed as we can be

Looking back towards Golden Nook moorings
 We passed a few boats on our way towards Waverton and then passed through Egg bridge.  If you intend to stop there over the next few days you cannot stop on the moorings by the bridge as C&RT have their work boat and a wide beam barge moored there.

At Christleton just past the Cheshire Cat Inn one of the gardens had these lovely stones placed by the bank.  A simple idea but still very cute. 

Owl cute are these little fellas
 We started our descent through Christleton lock and then Greenfield lock.  Here more C&RT work boats and barges are moored up.  The barges are all empty and I wonder if they are being prepared for dredging as there are so many, or for the lock closures in January.

Empty barges line the offside upstream of the lock
At Tarvin Lock the lock keeper's cottage look lovely in the sunshine as did the newly painted water tower on the outskirts of the city.  There is something about this tower I like.  I think I mentioned it before that I like the ornate style of the brickwork.

Tarvin Lock Cottage  

Fresh paint on the water tower
All was going well and we made good time but that all changed at Chemistry lock!  Chris found the lock against us which was strange as we had not long passed a boat coming the other way.  She turned the lock but try as she might she could not open the gate.  I nosed AmyJo alongside and helped Chris open the gate then tuning to AmyJo found her stern had drifted out into the cut.  I got on board amidships and made my way down the gunwale to the stern.

That was when I christened the boat properly and found myself waste deep in the cut.  I had some how slipped off the gunwale.  Fortunately AmyJo was in neutral and I had the centre line in my hand.  Off course there had to be a group of Gongoozlers to hand but luckily none had a camera with them but I bet it made their day.  I scrambled ashore and pulled AmyJo to the bank.  Once in the lock I retired below to get a change of clothes before continuing.  As the lock emptied it was clear why Chris could not open the gate.  The lower gate on the onside had sagged by 3 inches and was not sealing with its opposite number.  The flow between the gate was considerable making filling the lock difficult.

We found a mooring just upstream of the new Waitrose supermarket and then took the opportunity to do a big shop.  After that we strolled into town to Christmas shop.  We got nearly all our prezies in under 2 hours!  Now that I like. 

Chester has its own Christmas market, whilst nowhere near as big as some, it does seem to be getting better each year.  The high streets are also adorned with Christmas lights.  With a mild and dry night the whole town centre looked very festive.

Chester Clock and the street lights

Chrismas tree and market outside the town hall

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

This tree looked rather stark against this evening's twilight

Monday, November 3, 2014

October cruise Day 6 - Back to Tattenhall and a Blogger's Meeting

We left Barbridge junction about 9.30am and enjoyed the clear blue sky and sunshine. Considering it is now the beginning of November we consider ourselves blessed that the weather has been good to us so far.

Leaving Barbridge in what could be mistaken for a summers morning.
At Bunbury Locks we were joined by a lovely couple enjoying their cruise in their shared boat nb Avington.  We unfortunately forgot to ask their names but thank you both if you are reading this.  They seemed happy we would be going down the locks together.  In double locks having two boats together is much less stressful and makes easier work for the lock wheelers.  Just as we started our descent of the top lock another boater appeared downstream so with three boats in the locks we had to perform the famous Bunbury shuffle.  This greatly pleased the lady of Avington as although she had heard of this she neither knew what it entailed nor had they both experienced it.  After clearing the locks they both admitted they found doing the shuffle interesting.

We then cruised together through Tilstone lock and Beeston stone lock, however, at Beeston Iron lock we both agreed to go down separately and so with a cheery wave we said our goodbyes.

nb Avington waiting while Stone lock is turned in our favour

Turnotheworld, is it steam powered, but lovely none the less?

The distinctive Wild Boar hotel in the distance
 We have received a comment from Bloggers Richard and Sharon from nb Oakapple that they were moored by Wharton Lock for the weekend and sure enough just above the lock we came across Oakapple

We pulled in below the lock and were greeted by Richard and Sharon who invited us aboard for a cuppa.  We closed up AmyJo and with cake in hand as an offering we walked back up to Oackapple and enjoyed Richard and Sharon's hospitality for a couple or hours.  Meantime the weather had deteriorated and it started to rain.  Not wanting to be too late back we said our goodbyes with a promise to meet up again later in the week.  Thank you Richard and Sharon it was a great pleasure to finally meet you both and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

On the last leg before pulling into the marina the sun broke out again but we spotted these rather interesting cloud formations

Cloud halo around the sun gave this stunning ring of rays

These clouds look like a rolling wave of water

So that's our last long cruise for this year but we are still hoping to cruise for a few weekends over the winter.  We still plan to stay aboard AmyJo as she has now become our home.  We love being aboard and have new found friends in the marina.  We still miss Crick but whilst Tattenhall has accepted us, the other boaters still call us the folks on the posh boat!  We may 'ave a posh boat but we definitely ain't posh :-)

Total distance:8.16 miles Elapsed time:6h58m43s Locks:6 Bridges:15 
Average speed:1.17 mph (2.03 lock/mph) 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

October Cruise Day 5 – Wrenbury to Barbridge

Continuing our trip back to Tattenhall on the Llangollen canal we set of today and spent the day working our way down the locks starting with the three Baddiley locks. Today boats were travelling up stream so working the locks was easier as we d the other crews assisting.
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At Swanley No 2 lock it was clear why the closure of this lock was needed. Someone had damaged the sill guard and the bottom of the gates were passing quite badly.

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The weather today was the opposite of cold and wet and was actually quite warm again when the sun came out which it did most of the day
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With the flow in our favour we made excellent time downstream and by lunchtime had reached Hurlston locks. By now a hire boat had caught us up so together with their crew and the chatty lock volunteer we had met on our way up we soon got down the 4 locks onto the Shorpshire union
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It was apparent that the moorings were fully utilised at the foot of the locks but today we were aiming for Barbridge so that did not worry us.
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When we reached the bottom of Hurlston locks it looked like the boat with the damaged rudder had been repaired as the lock landing was free. We later found out the lock keeper had moved the two other boats off and had only allowed the damaged boat to remain.
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As we arrived at Barbridge and were just about to go passed the Barbridge in the boat moored outside pulled off. We had booked a meal in the inn for the evening so as they pulled of we were able to reverse into heir spot right outside the door. With a little daylight left I did what Del on Derwent6 enjoys most, polished the Chromium in or case.

Total distance:7.18 miles Elapsed time:5h34m0s Locks:9 Bridges:26
Average speed:1.29 mph (2.91 lock/mph)

Friday, October 31, 2014

October Cruise Day 4 - Back to Wrenbury

After yesterday's cold and drizzly day this morning looked more promising.  There was still the morning chill but the sky looked much brighter and a hint of the sun was starting to show itself.

This morning's mooring
 We got under way at 9.15am and found we were making excellent time now we had the flow with us instead of against us.  The sun soon made an appearance lighting up this group of bushes showing off their reds and whites in the sun.  We do so love the Autumn colours and the Llangollen this time off year is stunning.

Lovely red and white leaves in the sun
 In short time we arrived at Grindley brook Locks to find only one boat going down ahead of us so we went straight into the first lock

The lock keeper's office now adorned with national flags

Grindley top lock
Middle chamber

Bottom chamber and the shop and cafe
The last chamber is the deepest
 After the staircase are the three separate locks to descend but these were not in our favour so we had to turn each one. 

First pound of the single lock and practising my reversing sills
Looks like I'm practising my putting but a mooring rope is a lousy golf club
and the mooring bollard does not roll as well as a ball
 Above the last lock we passed this C&RT work boat going up and at first I thought my eyes were playing tricks as I was sure the helmsman's cab was growing in height.   One of the C&RT guys accompanying it assured me I was not seeing things, the cab does indeed rise and fall to allow the helmsman to see over the differant loads carried in front.

Cab in the raised position
A better view of the diagonal bridge brickwork after the last lock
We arrived at Wrenbury lift bridge at around 2pm and as we passed moored boats we spied some crews scurrying to get under way.  Not wanting a repeat of yesterday we got through and lowered the bridge long before the first boat got fully under way.  Just as well as the rapidly growing queue of cars let us off the hook and the other boaters when they did arrive soon realised we did the right thing as a result.

Wrenbury lift bridge viewed from the Whitchurch side.
The visitor's mooring were virtually empty so I took the first mooring space after the bridge.  With plenty of time on our hands we wanted to explorer the village a little so we decided to walk into Wrenbury as we needed a few supplies.   Wrenbury village is a very English looking village with a large green and some beautiful houses like this one.

Parked opposite the green I spotted this lovely old banger and so after picking up our supplies just had to go for a closer look.

Could be a scene straight out of Poirrot's aventures
 The car turned out to be an old Riley.  It as in great condition and clearly was in regular use.  I love it when cars like this are actually used and not buried away, forgotten, under covers in some dusty barn.  

You don't often see one of these nowadays
We decided to eat on board tonight so threw another log on the fire and settled down for the evening.  AmyJo's cabin was soon as hot as a sauna so as it was still mild outside we let the Hobbit die back.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

October Cruise Day 3 - More horn troubles but an unusal cure does the trick

I woke at 3am this morning needing to use the little room after which, for reasons unknown, I could not get back to sleep.  I stuck it out under the duvet until 6am and could lay no more so got up leaving Chris having a short course of death.  The cabin was particularly cold and there was an air of winter outside so I woke the hobbit once more to warm the place up

Moorings at Wrenbury
Wrenbury always holds as special place for us as it was here we met up with Del and Al on Derwent6 (click).  It was this meeting on this exact spot we had set in motion our journey to having AmyJo built.  On that day we enjoyed full sun and warm weather.   You can read the full story of that day here (click).  

This morning was not so warm and mist on the cut meant temperatures were low

Looking towards the lift bridge

Morning mist almost hides the down stream
lift bridge we passed under yesterday

The iconic Wrenbury Mill
 We loosed lines at 9.15am and with no one in sight I got AmyJo under way while Chris prepared the lift bridge for me to pass under.

Not sure what I was doing here but clearly had my hands full
 As I passed under the bridge I looked back and was astounded to see three more boats following me through that had appeared from nowhere.  I had to pull over to wait for Chris whilst the boats passed through. Not one of them thanked Chris as they passed, how rude!  

Behind them, some distance back, was yet another boat had appeared heading our way so Chris was not sure whether to keep the bridge open or not.  Her dilemma was soon resolved when the hire boat basin owner told Chris to lower the bridge as complaints from residents meant only three boats were allowed through at a time to avoid queues of traffic.  Chris complied but by now the 4th boat, a single hander with no BW key, was at the bridge and asked Chris to let her through, which Chris duly obliged.  At least the lady helm of this boat thanked Chris as she gratefully passed under the bridge.

The last boat with polite lady disappears into the distance
leaving us behind to close the bridge.
The four boats then disappeared into the distance leaving us astounded and of course, left with every lock there after against us.  Moral of the story - let some one else go first next time!

Miles of lovely clear and beautiful canal followed
 I decided at a blind bridge 'ole to try the horn and once again not but got not so much as a squeak from the damned thing despite it working fine last night.  This is quite odd as it worked fine before I re-mounted it

 We worked our way up Warbury Lock, Quoisley Lock, Willeymoor Lock and Poveys' Lock, all against us until we reached Grindley Brook Locks.  

The Willeymoor inn at Willeymoor lock - closed when we passed by
Quoisley lock with strong bywash, a feature of these locks
Povey's lock clearly being prepared for next weeks closure
  The Grindley bottom lock is reached via a bridge with unusual diagonal brickwork, presumably used as the bridge is offset at an angle to the canal.  

Bridge portal to the bottom lock pound

Unusual diagonal brickwork

Delightful holding pound as you pass through the bridge
The start of Grindley Brook locks begin with three separated locks followed towards the summit by the famous 3 lock staircase rising just under the A41 with its lock side @69 cafe.  We have passed these locks countless times by car before now so it was a particular delight for us to work them in AmyJo.

Looking down the staircase from the top chamber
Was this a plush lock keepers residence once or a toll office?
 Now privately owed.
At the top of the locks is a sanitary station and 3 water points.  We needed to top the water tank up and dispose of rubbish so stopped for a while and had a late lunch at the same time whilst it was quiet.  
Whilst moored up I thought I'd try the horn again.  I figured if it worked unmounted I'd try it that way for the rest of the trip.  I loosened the two holding screws but before completely removing them tried it one more time and b@gg@r me it worked!  Whats more it has done so every time I've used it ever since.  Why loosening a mounting screw should make it work I've no idea but who am I to complain.

A few more miles on and we arrived at the New Mills lift bridge by the junction of the Whitchurch arm.  I was keen to investigate the arm and hoped to moor there over night as it looked quite pretty.  The sign at the arm entrance tells boaters of larger boats to continue to the nearby winding hole to wind and then return to enter the arm.  Clearly at a steep angle to the main line there is no room to turn into the arm when travelling from Grindley Brook so we abided by the sign, winded and entered the arm.

Looking back into the arm from the lift bridge and the sign
informing boater how to enter

The arm is out of shot to left of picture and winding hole up ahead

At 4.30pm it was clear we had arrived far too late as all available moorings were taken which came as no surprise. I had hought is a long shot at best.  With no choice we winded in the arm and left having at least had the experience of travelling into it.  All signs indicate this stretch is only phase one of the restoration so it may well be extended one day.

The extent of the Whitchurch arm navigation.

 Winding once more upstream of the arm in the same winding hole as before we retraced our steps and moored downstream a few 100 meters of the lift bridge for the night in a lovely secluded spot.  We were now ready to start our homeward journey and the rest of the Llangollen will have to wait for another time.