Tuesday 30 April 2019

Easter Break to Market Drayton - part 3

On Wednesday we found that it was market day in Market Drayton.  We had planned on staying the day so walked into town.  It was getting warm and the sun was out.  Just like a summer's day.  We enjoyed walking through the numerous stalls.  Both Marie and Chris managed to buy some summer dresses as well.

The start of the market

Having walked about all morning we arrived at the Hippodrome, now a Weatherspoons.  With the warmth of the day we stopped for a drink.  Becks is 3 for £5 so I took up the offer.

On the way back to the boats Steve and I needed the boys room so dived into a pub, however, the canny landlord called out "what'll ya have guys" so we felt obliged to have another drink, but after the needed comfort brake.  To be fair our beers (Doombar) were waiting for us on our exit and nice they were too!  

Enjoying a drink outside Wetherspoons

 We returned to the boats in the early evening and after freshening up we set up the barby and had a pleasant evening sat outside chatting the night away.  The evening was pleasant but the temperature soon dropped.  No matter we just wrapped up warm and carried on.

waiting for the Barby to settle in the evening sun.

We rose earlier next morning as we wanted diesel and water at the services.  It was slightly misty as we crept past the lone of moored boats, then winded at Talbot wharf, backing up onto the fuelling jetty just in time for it to open.

Cool and misty as we get underway

Having filled with diesel it was time for watering.  There was a bit of a queue building by now but a space just big enough for AmyJo was left between the two boats filling at the taps (there are two water points here).  I worked AmyJo over and settled in between them when a fourth boat owner called over "Oi we want water too my friend".  Now I knew the boat on the tap behind us was nearly full as they told us as we moored up so I politely replied "and so with a bit of patience you will get some before me".  In fact they did get to fill before us as the boat behind us soon moved off so we did so we did not jump the queue when the boat infront later moved off.

View for the water points from the fueling wharf before the queue formed

Later, just as the shouting boater left the water point Steve and Steph came through the bridge 'ole in nb Merlin.  They had to stop in the bridge 'ole as Mr impatient was now blocking their way, however he seemed not to realise this and proceeded to yell and guffaw at them to come through and get out of the way.   It wasn't until I pointed out to him in fact it was he that was in the way he shut up and moved over allowing Merlin to proceed.  Really! some people have no idea that they are in the wrong at times.  We just stood and watched the antics as he left.

Merlin Stuck in the bridge 'ole as the other boat blocked their way

After the fleet had all winded we set off on our return leg via the Adderley locks, at the top of which Graham and I managed to buy another of those lovely pork pies.

Addeley top lock
How's that for a pork pie then  (smudge looks longingly at it too)
Next, we started our descent of the Audlem locks, this time making good progress.  The group now worked as a team and the routine we adopted meant we all managed to help each other though assisted by the crews of ascending boats.

A young willing crew from another boat help with the lock gates for me.

Plenty more to go

Having descended Lock 13 we found plenty of mooring space on the visitor moorings in the pound.  As we had a table booked for another meal in the Lord Combermere we stopped and moored up for the night.  I have to say we all particularly like the food in the Lord Combermere,  its worth the walk to the pub just for that.

Total distance:8.18 miles Elapsed time:6h51m37s Locks:6 Bridges:22 
Average speed:1.19 mph (2.07 lock/mph)

Friday 26 April 2019

Easter Break to Market Drayton - Part 2

After a peaceful night we prepared the boats for our ascent of the 15 Audlem Locks and 5 Adderley Locks.  The morning was grey and overcast with a slight drizzle but it was surprisingly a lot warmer than the last two days.

Someone once posted on facebook about boaters who, when using mooring pins, loop their lines through the loop of the pin and not round the pin itself.  A comment from another said it does not matter they never break.   Well here is proof they do.  Had the line not been correctly passed around the pin itself  but round to loop instead the boat would have ended up adrift.  This may well have occurred earlier in the morning as two boats had passed at some speed.

Mooring pin and sheered off loop.  

At our now usual time of 10am we set off up the flight.  Steve, now with Steph who had joined us last night, lead the way followed by Graham.  Next was Marie.  I asked Chris to work Marie through the locks and I followed last single handing.  To my relief several boats were descending and their crews, whilst waiting for the lock, helped me through.

A dull day at lock 12 just above the Shroppie Fly pub.

For some reason progress was slow with all of us having to wait for the boats coming down to clear the lock we were moving to next.   It soon became apparent why.  A run of working boats started to appear descending the locks.

The first of several working boats leave the lock whilst Marie moves off into the vacated lock, meanwhile,
 I wait in the lock for them both to clear before moving out

And another

Eventually passage stopped altogether.  A gent walking down from the above lock asked that I remain in the pound and hover away from the towpath to allow his butty to be roped through, all the while a queue building behind me in the locks and pounds below.  There was nothing for it but to sit it out until finally we passed the butty.  Progress was much better there after.

Butty being roped into the lock

Slowly inch by inch.  You can see the queue of boats building up below the lock

Now the butty was passed normal progress resumed

Audlum Top Lock  There is an honesty box here and the homemade pork pies are truly scrumptious!

By time we got to the top lock it was decided to stop on the visitor moorings for some lunch and a bit of a breather before tackling the Adderley locks.  I had purchased a large homemade pork pie from the honesty box at the top lock so tried a slice.  It rates as one of the best pork pies I've had in along time.  Needless to say it didn't remain long before it was gone

Welcome break for lunch

The first sighting of ducklings of the season  sorry for the burred photo we had to be quick

At the Adderley locks more working boats passed through  this time a butty was being towed by a motor so as not to hold things up too long.  I do love to see working boats on the move but they do seem to pick the busiest of weekends to go through locks.

butty towed rather than roped through the locks.

We worked as a team through the Adderley locks and eventually moored up on the visitor moorings in Market Drayton at 7:30pm  Surprised to find moorings free for us all at that time of night at what is a popular spot to stop overnight.

Total distance:6.27 miles Elapsed time:9h58m33s Locks:20 Bridges:16 
Average speed:0.63 mph (2.63 lock/mph) 

Wednesday 24 April 2019

A busy few Weeks and Then a Break Away Part 1

Hi All

Not blogged for a few weeks as we have been based at the Shady Oak busy getting the pub ready to open.  I have a lot to post about as we have just returned from a week trip to Market Drayton and back.  I'll not write one mile long post so will split the trip up in a few post over the coming days.  Watch this space.

I have been mostly working in the beer garden cutting grass and weeding flower beds.  I also swept the car park and generally tidied up.  

I had to move another boat for the broker at Tattenhall Marina during the work at the pub.  This time it was the blue Collingwood boat I'd picked up from Aqueduct marina last year.  Steve, the broker, has now moved his operation to Nantwich so I will be moving his boats to there and Uplands basin at Anderton over the coming weeks.  This meant I got my first trip along the Middlewich branch and over the newly restored breach.  I must say they have made a great job of reinstating the canal and towpath.

The rebuilt Middlewich breach section

I'm please to say the opening of the Shady Oak on the 10th April went really well on Wednesday and the grand opening on Friday night was a huge success.  Boaters from the nearby Tattenhall Marina and Golden Nook moorings came in their boats in large numbers so that every available mooring space was taken for a half mile in each direction.  More boats were moored there than I have ever seen before. The evening entertainer, called Charlie, had many up dancing most of the night.  There must have been a few heavy heads next morning.  They have had a very busy Easter weekend so all is going well for them.

On the Sunday we began our planned trip to Market Drayton.  This trip our friends Marie and Graham came with us and this time Steve and Steph on nb Merlin came along too.

We left at about 10ish with a strong icy wind blowing but the sun shining.  It was interesting getting the boats into the locks in the wind but we managed without bumping the walls to heavily.  Today Steve was single handing so we had four boats with only Chris and I as a couple.  We all worked together to get the boats through the locks but this was slow going. 

Ascending Wharton Lock, our first lock of the trip with an icy wind but sun shining

As the day progressed the sun was lost behind building cloud and it started to feel much colder, an extra layer needed.  At Bunbury staircase the locks were deserted, no volunteer lockies nor gongoozlers.  We paired the boats up in the locks and worked them through

Bunbury locks, cold and deserted except for us.

The weather continued to deteriorate and the wind continued to pick up.  This did not deter any of us and in fact we all were quite enjoying the trip despite the cold.  It is alway good when we get to do our first real trip of the season.

A rare sheltered section gave brief respite form the wind
The usual wait at the Iron lock.  Bowing walls mean only one boat can use the lock at a time

 The run from Calverley saw us crabbing along towards Barbridge, the wind quite gusty by now, but at least the sun started to make an appearance again, it still did not warm up any.  

New industrial units being built after Calverley and the Boughey Depot

Leaving Hurlston Junction behind

Hedge hopping cars!  Stacked 3 high in the nearby Scrap yard on the A51.

Dog sculpture in Nantwich must have felt the cold as someone has given it a scarf.

We passed through Calverley and then Hurlston Junction and continued on to Nantwich  where we managed to find moorings for the night at the Aqueduct.  After a long cold day we decided to eat aboard our own boats and a much needed early night.

Total distance:9.18 miles Elapsed time:7h41m43s Locks:6Bridges:21 
Average speed:1.19 mph (1.97 lock/mph)

Next day we left at 10am.  The weather was better with morning sunshine but the cold of the day before remained.   Smudge, bless him, braved the cold again with Chris while she worked the two Hack Green locks as thats where he prefers to be, he hates being on the boat in a lock.  His new coat giving him some protection from the cold.

Smudge supervises whilst Chris helps Marie up through the first lock

The morning started to improve and the sun continued to shine.  The wind was abating, though still keen, made easier passage.

AmyJo ascending the first lock after I had helped the others through

By the time it was my turn Steve and Graham had moored up and came back to help me through.  Their winter togs show just how cold it was despite looking nice and sunny in the photo.

Once clear of the locks we proceeded on to Audlem.  By now Smudge had had enough of the cold and settled on his bed on the warmth of the engine cover.  He is getting on for 3 years old now and is finally calming down.  He is much more laid back while we cruise these days but demands a cuddle once we're moored up, not that I complain.  We've always had a daily cuddle ever since he was a pup.

Sheltering in the warm back cabin after working the locks.  Does not look happy!

That evening we moored on the visitors moorings below the Audlem Locks and had a super meal in the Lord Combermere Pub.  At last the wind was gone and it started to feel warmer for a change

I think I've bored you enough for now but will continue the trip diary in the next post.

Total distance:5.37 miles Elapsed time:4h2m45s Locks:2Bridges:14 
Average speed:1.33 mph (1.82 lock/mph)