Thursday 20 August 2015

Weaver Trip Day 12 - High speed washing machine man.

We definitely know we're back on the canals as we moored up at 4pm as boats were still passing as late as 9pm.  Our mooring overnight was OK but I broke our club hammer (or thumping thingy as Chris called it) banging in the pins so a new one needed to be sourced.  Likely our axe has a hammer top so that was pressed into service.

Our mooring last night near Marbury.
 We are beginning to wonder if summer is over as the leaves were starting to fall and trees are changing colour.  This morning AmyJo was covered in leaves.  Are we in for a winter like that in 2010 I wonder?

Our trip down to Middlewich was pretty non de-script except for a few instances.  The first was a near head on collision at a bridge 'ole.  We were just going through slowly when we heard a horn and a bow appeared.  Another boat was streaming straight at us coming round the bend and just stopped in time. 

Many boats lined to tow path making the going slow.

These old posts went on for some time and must have been part of an extensive wharf
Next we passed through a very industrial section with the processing plant both sides of the cut and pipe bridges everywhere .  The smell was non to good neither.

Large works span the cut and yes this boat did want all the canal swerving out of our way at the last minute. her crew scowling at us as they passed.  We managed to squeeze through the gap as they passed.
 Continuing on we passed these two cute little boats.  The larger had church window styled side doors or were they windows?

This one could not be more than 12 feet long

Quaint looking boat with the church windows
 For some time the boat on the right in the picture above had been following us but chasing us to go faster by motoring up close then dropping back.  I was not going to be intimidated by this and carried on.  Why people have to be in so much hurry bemuses me.  Each time I went to offer him to overtake he had dropped back.

Eventually he signalled he wanted to overtake so I slowed and allowed him.  As he passed he stated, looking at his watch, that he "had to keep the revs up as the washing machine was on".  New one on me that, either it discharged into his waste tank or the outlet was blocked as for some time there was no sign of it discharging but hey ho.

Lovely looking place to stop but not for us today.
Not long after we came across the site of a new marina being built.  Looking at the jetties its going to be extremely tight to get in and out and the legs of the jettys do look a bit spindly to me.

New Marina not yet in water
A little further we came across this boat with a novel way to locate solar panels.  There were so many on this boat I reckon he is self sufficient and has power over to run an electric engine.  Have to admit it looked quite good as the panels matched the window heights perfectly.

Nice styling for the solar panels

One of the "wides" on the way to Middlewich
 IN the next photo washing machine man had harassed this old boat for some time to get past.  We spoke to the chap on the larger, old boat and found she was built circa 1910.  He was clearly in no hurry and moaned about washing machine man as he had caused him to run aground in his urgency to pass but as we had taken an interest in his boat was happy to let us pass too which we thanked him very kindly.  His boat had an unusual counter at the stern more akin to a launch than narrow boat. Looking at the photo one cannot help but think its two boats welded together.  His engine chimney was interesting too, wander if he has trouble with it at bridge 'oles.

Hare and tortoise come to mind.

Very narrow aqueduct.
Strangely just after the above aqueduct washing man stopped and waved us to overtake which we obliged.  It was only after we rounded the corner past this pair of breasted boats did we click why he had wanted us to go past.  Big lock was coming up and we guessed he hoped we would set it for him, cheek!

These lovely boats looked well cared for.

Great to see a fully laden work boat leave big lock

Big lock set against us as boats come down.
 Now what washing machine man had not reckoned on was we needed water so we stopped at the water point just below the lock.  He cruised past and stopped asking if we wanted him to wait for us.  I informed him yes if he wanted to but the water pressure was low.  He had not realised we were topping up with water.  With that he dejectedly had to turn the lock himself.  

Moored just upstream of Big lock
 As it was lunch time we locked through with another boat and found some empty mooring rings so pulled in.  We then had a super lunch for £5 in the Big lock pub.

To walk off the lunch we then walked to Tesco's for some necessities then on to Kings lock Chandlers where I managed to buy a replacement thumping thingy.  Having walked up a sweat we could not resist a quick pint in the Kings Lock pub  before returning to AmyJo.  A pint of Valour went down very nicely.

Kings Lock pub is right near Middlewich Junction.

Total distance:7.88 miles Elapsed time:4h0m0s Locks:1 Bridges:27 
Average speed:1.97 mph (2.22 lock/mph) 

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Weaver Trip Day 11 - Anderton and New Recruits

Despite being near the salt works that are worked 24/7 we had a surprisingly quite night so we both slept well.

We rose at our usual time of 8.30am and prepared AmyJo for her trip up the lift.  Chris tidied through inside as today AmyJo was taking on 4 new recruits for the day so the boat had to be clean and tidy.  Meanwhile I cleared the well deck and packed away as much as I could into the bow lockers to give more room to sit out then prepared AmyJo for cruising.

We were booked on for 12:50 so had been told to be on the holding pontoon at 12:20.  At 12:10 we cast off and moved the short distance to the holding jetty.  Here AmyJo's new recruits in the form of Corinna,  her hubby Andy, and their two little boys Lucas and Nathan joined us.  Corinna works with Chris and her 4 year old Lucas really wanted to ride up in the lift.  As they live nearby Chris arranged for them to join us for the trip as a treat for him.

Having ascended this boat moved out onto the Trent and Mersey

Waiting for the signal to enter the lift
 Once everyone was aboard a lock keeper informed me that when the two boats come out onto the river from the lift we could move into the caisson that was waiting to receive AmyJo.

Making our way round to the lift

The iconic view of the lift as we approach

The port hand Caisson and guillotine door in the open position.
 We had to wait in the caisson for some time while two boats entered the other one above us.  The lock keeper apologised for the wait adding the other boaters were a bit slow getting ready and into their caisson.  We said we did not mind and this gave us the opportunity for a little photo shoot.

Boxed into the lift waiting to ascend

Our new recruits left to right, Andy, Nathan, Lucas, Corinna and yours truly.

The mass of gears and other caisson towers overhead.
 Finally with a very slight judder the lift started to lift us up.  The slow movement is so smooth and surprisingly quiet.  The views as we got to the top were stunning.

Start of the lifting process and we just clear the walling.

Passing the other caisson on the way down.  If felt like they were not moving and we were.

View from below the upper level, you can make out roof top and the foot of the picture

and below from the limit of the lift.
 Once we reached the summit the doors were released and we moved out onto the holding trough high above the ground.  This holding area has a second gate at its exit to stop the canal draining away if the lift has a severe leak or maintenance work is required.  Its a mammoth peice of engineering in its own right.  The gears in the earlier picture would have been used to pull the horse drawn boats into the lift along this section.

The upper holding trough with doors lowered

Caisson door lifts allowing AmyJo to exit the caisson onto the holding trough.

We were moored just in front of the boat seen below

Witth the caisson door closed and sealed the canal door can open to left us out onto the canal.

The exit onto the Trent and Mersey.  Be prepared to get a soaking as you pass under the door.

The lock keeper checks the way is clear to proceed and we thank him as we leave.
 Now we're back on normal canals they seem so narrow but, with the help of able seaman Lucas, AmyJo could work her way along with no problems.
AmyJo's youngest helmsman, Lucas takes charge
Assisted by Capt'n Steve the hat
 By now the weather had deteriorated and a drizzle had worsened into rain.  The crew retreated inside whilst Cap'n Hat took the helm.
Now now, I know what your thinking and its hat not pra.....

Leaving Anderton heading for Barnton Tunnel and a winding hole
We decided to give the boys a little more adventure and pass through Barnton tunnel then wind and retrace our steps back to Anderton to drop off the crew so they could go home for tea.  Young Lucas loved every minute of the trip and gave Chris and I a big hug and thank you as he left.  He may only 4 but already is such a gentlemen.  We really enjoyed having Lucas and his family on board and as he loved it on AmyJo we have promised him another trip and a visit to "our" ice cream farm at Tattenhall.

We then carried on in the rain for a few miles then called it a day near Marbury Hall footbridge just outside Northwich.

Coal boat Halsall passes just as we moored up but I was too late to stop him for a top up as I was down below.

Our mooring for the night
Total distance:0.32 miles Elapsed time:1h19m10s Locks:0 Bridges:1 
Average speed:0.24 mph (0.24 lock/mph) 

Total distance:1.53 miles Elapsed time:0h46m56s Locks:0 Bridges:6 
Average speed:1.95 mph (1.95 lock/mph) 

Total distance:2.74 miles Elapsed time:2h18m51s Locks:0 Bridges:12 
Average speed:1.19 mph (1.19 lock/mph) 

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Weaver Trip Day 10 - Last day on the river

Today would be our last day on the river for tomorrow we ascend the Anderton Lift and rejoin the Trent and Mersey and everyone else on the four counties circuit.

This morning we were invited onto Oakapple for coffee before we left so I fired up AmyJo's engine to charge up the batteries and we went to say our fairwells.

An hour later and agreeing to catch up again one day we left just as Linda on nb Kanbedun Again came to say goodbye.  It was lovely to have a leaving party to see us off and a little sad as we have thoroughly enjoyed their company over the last few days.  Look forward to seeing you all again some day.

Linda (left), Richard and Sharon come to see us off.

The last we saw of our mooring before turning the corner
At Vale Royal lock the two lock keepers were especially cheerful today and were interested in whether we had enjoyed or stay, which of course, we did immensely.  They chatted all the while we were in the lift.

Ready to receive us and the two cheerful Lock keepers

Who you looking at....
 In one of the boat yards we spied these two old fire engines.  One hopes they are not the yards fire fighting equipment as we could not see them being much use

This stretch of river between Vale Royal and Hunts Lock downstream has several boat building yards along the banks.  One is Yarwoods who for years built many narrowboats and Brunners (they were the successors of the original Weaver steam packets and were sometimes known as ‘Brunners’ from the salt and chemical company ‘Brunner Mond’).

From 1920 W J Yarwood & Sons built barges & coasters and gave them local names like Hatchmere, Pickmere and Redesmere. These traded along the Weaver, Mersey & the west coast. In 1934 the company made the headlines when they undertook the construction of an aircraft supply vessel, 'Aquarius', under the supervision of Aircraftman Shaw, aka 'Lawrence of Arabia'

We last saw Abbott at the Northwich festival 4 years ago when Jo and Keith on Hadar were here.
After a brief stop in Northwich for water we finally moored up just round the corner from the Anderton lift. We then walked up to the exhibition centre had some lunch and then booked our slot to go up the lift tomorrow,.
Moored up at Carey Park moorings
 After I mentioned our battery problem in our last post Tom from Waiouru suggested I should remove the dead battery before it kills the others.  I discussed this with Fernwoods and then set about disconnecting them all.  Not a definitive test by any means but all I had to hand was an Avo meter.  I checked each one with the meter hoping the culprit would give a lower voltage reading than the others.  Unfortunately they all gave 12.92volt values which would seem to indicate they were all OK.  Tom would agree that this should be done as a drop test putting each individual battery under load but I cannot do that here so that will have to wait until we get back to Tattenhall.

One bank of 6 batteries wired for 24 volts
So far with careful use of the lights etc we have managed to maintain a reasonable charge so settled down to watch a lovely sunset over the lift tonight.

Our view from AmyJo of the lift this afternoon

The setting sun lights up the trees.

Our moorings seen from along the tow path

My favourite picture so far - the Anderton lift basks in the sunset.
Tomorrow we have company joining us for the ride up the Lift.  One of Chris's work mates is bringing her two young boys along to enjoy the lift as they have always wanted to have a go on it.  I'd better break out the pirates flag me thinks.