Monday, 15 September 2014

Towards Market Drayton

We decided on an early start to try and be first going up the Audlem we were off at 7.30am.  However not early enough as there was someone ahead of us.
We didn't need water so Geoff did the loo and rubbish whilst we were in the lock and we passed by the water point just outside the Shroppie Fly
The boat ahead seemed quite experienced so we didn't anticipate being held up long.   That is until we reached the fourth lock of the day.  Coming down the locks was a single-hander with no engine who seemed to be casually sauntering along.  He also did not seem receptive of any assistance so Geoff left him to his own devices....his boat was old and showed no licence.  I tried feeding the number to the CRT checking site which came back and said it had no record of the number.  So I filled out all details of the boat, such as I could, and received what seemed to be an automated reply back saying because of the data protection act they could not not let me know what action, if any, would be taken...............................
The rest of the climb passed extremely pleasantly.  All the paddle gear and gates were in good condition and the locks pass through nice countryside.  There were plenty of boats coming down, so Geoff had lots of people to chat to and the boat in front was sufficiently ahead of us.
After the 15 Audlem locks there was a brief respite for coffee and then the 5 Addersley locks were just as easy.
On approaching Market Drayton we stopped short of the town in the open.   Not as picturesque as the last two nights but not too bad.
At tea time Geoff and Barney went to see if Market Drayton town had improved since we were here last but it had not.  Not only that but the heavens decided to open whilst they were there and one very bedraggled human and equally bedraggled dog returned to the boat.   There had been a vague mention of the possibility of a small shower but nothing like this.   Still we have been so fortunate for nearly two weeks now.  I just hope it has got it out of it's system.....

Total distance:6.22 miles 
Elapsed time:5h5m45s 
Locks:20....the easiest 20 locks we have done
Average speed:1.22 mph (5.15 lock/mph) 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Weekend in Audlem

We haven't managed our normal weekend stopover for a few weeks with a church and a pub so this weekend we have decided to remedy the situation.  Audlem was the chosen place and the weather was still holding good for us.

As we approached the town we passed a big new marina, Overwater marina, which was not here last time we came through.  It seems huge and very full of boats.    I often wonder what would happen if they all decided to go cruising at the same time!

We decided to moor before the start of the locks and it was nicely in the open with a good view.
Thee marina even has a shuttle boat taking people to and from the town at a £1 a trip.
As soon as we were moored up Geoff went on his customary explore and I took out the paint brushes as we were moored on the side that needed the black paint doing.  With impeccable timing Geoff & Barney returned just as I had finished!  But it was still early and I had the rest of the day to sit on the bank and relax.  In the evening we wandered up the road to suss out the pubs for Sunday.  We decided on the Lord Combermere opposite the church, but we also stopped at the Shroppie fly for a drink on the way back.

We hit a Baptism in the church so it was very full as two babies, one child an an adult were being Christened.  The hymns were all modern ones but ones we knew and liked so it was a good service.

Lunch was good although the service was not as good as it might have been.  Luckily we were not in a hurry.   Another relaxing afternoon......not sure how I cope...

Total distance:5.89 miles 
Elapsed time:3h25m58s 
Average speed:1.72 mph (2.30 lock/mph) 

Friday, 12 September 2014

Pause in Nantwich

My trip to the dentist in Nantwich yesterday gave me a glimpse of a splendid market town so we decided to stay over a day so we could both have an explore.

There have been plenty of passing boats in both directions but this moored one takes a bit of beating.
We decided to walk in to the town as it is not really too far saving the bus for the trip back when we will be laden with shopping......there is a large Morrisons in town.

The town itself has much to offer and the hanging baskets proliferate.

We visited the church in the centre of town which is magnificent and better pictures than mine can be seen by following the link.
St Marys Church Nantwich

The curtains which took 7 years to complete for the Queens Silver Jubilee are like nothing we have seen in any other church
Once again a much better picture on their web site above 
The town has lots of coffee shops to choose from, many with pavement seating which we could take advantage of today.  There was no sun but still warm enough to sit out.

We returned by bus with a loaded wheelie trolly and rucksack....should do us for a few days!

This is another town which I would be quite happy to relocate to....if it were just a bit further south!!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Dentist Day

We reached the end of the Middlewich arm and turned left onto the Shroppie and soon passed the entrance to the Llangollen.  Sadly we do not have enough time left to take a detour up this time.
As we approached the end of the Middlewich arm  we saw Sunflower turning into Venetian Marina and waved a cheery goodbye.   By now we had picked up a slow boat in front of us....always Geoff's delight.   However the sun was still shining and there was no rain reason to be grumpy!
I had managed to break off half a tooth last night so called Denplan this morning and they made me an appointment with a dentist in Nantwich for 3pm this afternoon.   The intention was to go as far as Nantwich and hope for a decent mooring but a closer look at our guide book showed Acton just short of Nantwich and there were buses every half hour.  We found a nice enough spot albeit with the dreaded ledge again but have decided to stay here.   The bus only took 5 minutes and I discovered that Nantwich is a rather pleasant little market town so we shall stay over a day.  
My face is still not quite unfrozen............

Total distance:7.34 miles 
Elapsed time:3h17m49s
Average speed:2.23 mph (2.83 lock/mph) 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Middlewich Arm

Last nights sunset from our mooring by the flash.
Back to some locks today, the first was Middlewich Big Lock which was still a wide lock, after which we decided to pause briefly and nip up to the town for a few supplies.   As we cast off just before the next lock, two more boats appeared around the lucky as now we are back to single locks.   Single locks and a lot of narrow bridges.   We have seen more boats today going in both directions, than we have seen for some time.    At the junction we turned right onto the Middlewich arm which will take us to the Shroppie.   This is a lovely stretch, good views and there are plenty of enticing looking places to moor.

Mind you this sign says permit holders only and......................... we have a long stretch complete with mooring rings and not a single boat!
Boat of the day!!
We decided to moor just after bridge 14 near Church Minshull but after we had had our lunch we decided it was not perfect so moved on a little way and found a much better place with lovely views. The only snag is the dreaded ledge but we decided we would put up with it.
I settled for an afternoon on the towpath with my book and a little later was very pleased to see Ann from Sunflower walk past.   We had hoped to catch up with them but were about a day behind. However Ann stopped for a cup of tea and a natter.  After her departure I could put off the inevitable no longer.  I had been eyeing the state of the sides of Petroc for a couple of weeks but we had not been on a suitable bank to rectify matters.   Now we were so after Geoff had washed down the side I got out the paint brush.   It was a bit of a lick and a promise but it does look a little better......and I feel so virtuous!

Onward tomorrow in the hope of finding somewhere decent to moor in Nantwich.   We have never been successful in the past.

Total distance:9.85 miles 
Elapsed time:5h36m38s
Average speed:1.81 mph (2.95 lock/mph)

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sad to leave the Weaver

Our mooring last night at Barnton Cut visitor moorings was delightful, in fact it was on a par with the Vale Royal visitor moorings
Barnton Cut Visitor Moorings
Sadly this was our last night on the river Weaver.  We had the first slot at 9.15 booked on the lift to take us back to the canals.

Waiting for the oil to warm up...... so we were told!   
However by 0920 we were on our way
It was a very gentle ride up which only took about 7 or 8 minutes but then there was  a longer wait for the water levels in the caissons to level out

Back to the top which we had left 6 days ago.
Once out of here and we were back onto the Trent & Mersey canal.   It has been a wonderful interlude, almost like another holiday, at least it has from my point of view.   Geoff was not so enamoured...I think he has something against rivers.   I would agree with him about some of the rivers we have been on.....I have no desire to return to the Ouse, although I am glad we made the trip.  Once is enough however!  
Still we are back on the canals again and to his delight he made an error in his calculations about how many weeks before we have to be back at is 5 weeks today not 4 as he thought.......pity he didn't realise this whilst we were on the Weaver, we could have stayed longer!

A couple of hours gentle travelling brought us to the Whatcroft winding hole which is on a large flash.  We have moored here before and it seemed a good place to stop for the day.  Barney and I were able to get our morning walk in once we were on the canal so back to the usual routine...............
Total distance:7.44 miles 
Elapsed time:4h13m28s 
Average speed:1.76 mph (1.76 lock/mph) 

Monday, 8 September 2014

Not such an idyllic mooring this morning!

Last night's sunset from our peaceful mooring.
But not so peaceful this morning......a herd of these came walking past, seemingly of their own volition, transiting from one field to another.

So our departure was brought forward slightly as it wasn't possible to give Barney his usual walk.

Our plan was to move up to Acton Bridge to be there for coffee time when we expected my cousin Ann and husband Dave.  

Just one lock to do where yesterdays friendly lady lock keeper awaited us.
Geoff decided to get off here and walk to Acton Bridge which pleased Barney.   I continued at a modest pace to see if we could find space at Acton Bridge.....we could but only just.   There were two boats moored on the visitors moorings and the space was really not big enough but we managed it by breathing in!

As there was the possibility of 88 year old cousin Freda coming with them, whom we did not think would manage to get on the boat, I went on a recce up the road to farm shop which advertised a coffee shop.   It turned out to be an excellent establishment and was a suitable alternative to Petroc.   As I was purchasing a huge piece of coffee and walnut cake (Geoff's favourite) I was asked if we were there for the race.......when I replied  'What Race' I was told that the Tour of Britain cycle race was due through here in about an hours time.    A hasty phone call to advise Ann & Dave and I discovered that Freda was not well enough to come so coffee could be on Petroc.   They almost made it before the road was closed!   Still it doesn't take long for them to all pass by.

There seemed to be almost as many police motor cycles as cyclists!

After a good catch up with family doings, Ann & Dave left at lunch time and we continued upstream through Saltersford Lock and onto the moorings just beyond.   This has proved to be almost the best spot yet so I have been able to sit on the shore in the sunshine all afternoon....a very pleasing last day on this lovely river.  We have booked to go up on the first trip of the lift tomorrow morning so we can get a good days travel in..........pressonitis again......

Total distance:6.51 miles 
Elapsed time:3h06m43s
Average speed:2.50 mph (3.12 lock/mph)