Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Ring O Bells Tuesday 24 April 2018

I was surprised by how quiet our mooring was last night especially as we were right by a railway bridge, also the share number of moorings available in Wigan with mooring rings.
We got woken at 6-30 this morning by a boat going by, I don't know why because the locks just ahead of us don't open until 8 am.
While we were sitting having a cup of tea before setting off there was a knock on the boat, it was the lock keeper checking we didn't want to go up before he locked up for the morning.

We pushed off a little before ten in the dry and worked down through the first lock,. Again something I hadn't come across on the British Canals, a gear mechanism to open and close the gate. DSCF0816We have a lock where the gates work like this in Oulton Broad.

We had to wait at the lock for a boat coming up, they were only using the towpath side paddles until we arrived and Diana worked the off side. To get from one side of the lock to the other is quite a walk down to the tail and over the road bridge.DSCF0817 We worked the next lock and Diana rejoined the boat at the short length of floating pontoon by the Wigan CRT office. Then under the bridge and sharp left to Wigan Pier, There are a few words about it set into theDSCF0821 canal side steps, although Wigan Pier as I understand it is a little further along with a statue set beside it.DSCF0826

The whole area was heavily industrialised, think of the number of boats that must have loaded and unloaded under this canopy over the years.DSCF0822

One of the old buildings converted into the Orwell Pub after George Orwell, unfortunately its been closed for a few years butDSCF0820 today its covered in scaffolding which may be a good sign for the future. I wonder how long the pigeons have been resident here to make a pile this high? DSCF0823Most of the locks were against us and although they are quite heavy everything seems to work quite well including the anti-vandal locks. Not long after we met Ariel breasted to a butty coming through a bridge hole, a couple of minutes earlier and we could have left the lock gates open for them.DSCF0831

Just after this it started raining and that continued all day, so far we have had 6mm and although it looked bright at times it didn't stop.
The wild garlic is now in flower between the canal and the railway DSCF0837a little further on it was the turn of the Bluebells to brighten up aDSCF0845wet day, I must say in spite of the weather I have enjoyed this canal so far, much better than yesterday.

The journey along this canal is punctuated by milestones, I don't think they are original and we both think the writing is on the wrong side, take this one, Liverpool is to the right, so we would expect to see the word Liverpool as we approached the stone heading for Liverpool, but these stones have it on the face facing Liverpool so you have to pass the stone to see how far it is.DSCF0842 Arrows

At Appley Deep Lock, this lock bypassed two shallower locks, we caught up with a Narrowboat who had just entered the lock, so weLooks Appley were able to share the last lock of the day. He was heading for Parbold for the night and was worried we might get the last mooring, as we locked out first I let him go by while Diana closed the lock up. We stopped just below where the two disused shallow locks rejoined the canal for lunch hoping that the rain might stop but by a little after 4 pm we thought we had best set off again, still in the rain. Our target for the night was the moorings at The Ring O bells and maybe a meal in the pub, but all the visitor moorings were taken so we had to moor down below the long term mooring, in view of the weather we decided it would be dinner onboard again.

Today's Journey 10 miles, 6 locks in 4 ¾ hours

Monday, 23 April 2018

Wigan Monday 23 April 2018

We when we moored up yesterday it was still and the sun was shining, but by the time we went to bed it was squally showers.
A late start today as we had friends who live near us come to visit, but when we set off at mid day the weather was reasonable, a little sun, cool but dry.

It wasn't long before we were passing under Vicars Hall Bridge, this is the one that stopped us getting to Liverpool last year.DSCF0805I just had to photograph this Spaniel sitting on the table, I am not sure if he was watching anything through the side gate but I didn't see any other sign of life.DSCF0810

Immediately we left the Bridgewater canal and joined the Leeds and Liverpool canal I pulled over so that Diana could do a bit of shopping, both Aldi and Tesco are quite close by. As we continued along the L&L looking over to the right I could see a very tall radio transmitting aerial surrounded by several shorter ones.

We actually did some locks today, just two Poolstock ones.DSCF0812These had some features that I had not come across before, firstly the safety ladders are not recessed into the side walls but surfaceDSCF0813 mounted with thick wooden guards, and the bottom gates have a chain winch to close them.DSCF0814

The pond between the two locks is quite short and the upper lock lacked these features, we were a bit lazy and only used the near side paddles to fill the locks, as with no foot boards its quite a trek round and over the foot bridge to do both sides.

Above the lock there are quite a few mooring rings, but we decided to carry on to the junction and just as we did the rain started. There was plenty of mooring space at the junction, but it stinks, so we backed up towards the Wigan Flight locks and used the moorings there, there were only two boats there, the second being Heidi on the Pirate Boat, who kindly came out and took our ropes, most useful as the wind was tunnelling down onto our bows. Not only does she sell pirate items for kids but also makes badges.

Today's Journeymap 09 11½ miles, 2 locks in 5 hours.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Boothstown Sunday 22 April 2018

Firstly thanks to Martin for pointing out I don't really know where I am, last night we were in Castlefield Basin, Manchester, we may be in the other one in 3 weeks time. While we were in the basin I took this shot of the lights last night.DSCF0789

The weather forecast for today was not the best in the world. Rain from the early hours it said. In reality it started about 9-30 and finished a little after 11 after which the sun came out. We spent the morning at the museum seeing bits we missed last time, The have Tim Peak's space capsule and suit in there at the moment.

We pushed off at 2 pm with some very dark clouds in the sky but the rain held off until we were past the Trafford centre. As you have probably realised we retraced our steps back as far as Stretford Waters meeting, where we turned hard right by the Kellogg's works onto the Leigh Branch.

We saw a lad magnet fishing and a little further along there was a load of scrap by the bridge including one of the hire bikes from Manchester.

The house beside the Barton Swing Aqueduct is now in a very poor state, It seems strange that someone can turn their back on the potential capital and let this happen to a property.DSCF0794

We noticed half a dozen kids on the footbridge over the entrance to the aqueduct and as expected a few small stone came our way, more tossed than thrown with malice but with the stones were sweets.

Crossing the aqueduct we could see in the distance the lifting bridge, I assume this is the one that fell down during testing?DSCF0796

We carried on to Worsley where we stopped to fill the water tank, by now the canal was a nice dark shade of brown DSCF0797and this swan had made good use of the dam across the arm leading to the old Duke's mines to build her nest.DSCF0798

We decided to go a bit further and it wasn't long before we passed the cut out steel silhouettes of Brindley, Egerton and Gilbert set by the tow path edge. DSCF0801

We continued on just past The Moorings pub at Boothshall bridge to moor for the night. Needless to say, by now the sun was shining again and it was a clear blue sky.

Today's Journeymap 08 9½ miles in 3 hours

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Castlefield Basin Saturday 21 April 2018

Most of the day was spent am Dunham Massey Hall and grounds,DSCN2221 we arrived before the Hall was open so wandered round the gardens as its included in the entrance fee. As we made our way round we spotted the obelisk that we visited and photographed yesterday. DSCN2215Standing with your back against the house and looking straight up the avenue there it was, you couldn't see the road or canal but you could see a boat passing. It seems that the Earl of Stanford had it erected on the grave of one of his prized race horses but there is no evidence to back this up.

For some reason they were doing free guided tours of the bedrooms so we put our names down for one and found it very interesting. The timing was not quite right for the gardens as the daffs were over and the bluebells not yet out, likewise most of the tulips were still waiting to burst, but these ones were at their best.DSCN2212

During the war the Hall opened a couple of rooms as a military hospital and overlooking the lake is a monument to the regiments that were treated, on the back of each one is a short poem, this was probably the longest.DSCN2216

In the grounds of the Hall is a working water mill that still houses a working saw mill, up until recently they would saw some wood with it but it filled the building with dust and anyone in there needed to ware a dust mask so this was stopped, but the saws are still run from the overshot wheel and belt driven lay shafts.DSCN2220

We wandered back to the boat about half three and then set off towards Manchester, we were the last boat to leave the now deserted moorings that last night had been quite busy.

We did meet a couple of boats during the afternoon but that is about all and expected to see a lot moor people walking the tow path in such a sunny afternoon. At Stretford waters Meeting we hung to the right and headed into Manchester. I don't remember so many shipment containers on the left hand side when we came last and there seem to be even more blocks of flats.DSCF0786

We did pass Banksie doing a bit of art work on one of the bridges with his aerosols and a little further on another chap panting a wall with a paint roller, I assume he is setting up his canvas on top of someone else's handy work. Under the Metro there is now a tent village on the off side and the pile of rubbish has to be seen to be believed, it must be a health hazard for them.DSCF0787

We turned into Castlefield Basin and found a couple of spaces, we chose the second behind a boat with there engine running, the owner came out to shut it off and I checked I wasn't on someone's long term mooring. After stopping their engine they started their genny but that was not for to long and again replaced with the engine running blowing the exhaust straight back in our front doors. Thankfully when we got back to the boat from dinner at The White Lion all was quiet and the boat empty.
As to be expected on a sunny Saturday evening all the bars and restaurants anywhere near the waterways were absolutely heaving, which is why we wandered further into town and passed The White Lion, they offered English, Caribbean and Chinese food. Again they were busy but most people were drinking outside so we had no problem getting a table and I must say the curried goat was great.

Today's Journeymap 07 10½ Miles in 2¾ hours.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Dunham Woodhouse Friday 20 April 2018

It was such a lovely evening yesterday that we got the BBQ out, it was the first time this year that the outside temperature was higher than inside hitting 28° C according to my Maplin weather station.DSCF0758

After dinner when it had cooled down we went for a walk along the tow path under the canal at Bollington Underbridge, round the outside of the grounds of Dunham Massey house and back under the canal again at Dunham Woodhouse Underbridge.DSCF0760 The Dunham Woodhouse is quite a new underbridge built in concrete but it leaks like a sieve. This is quite a busy road and to protect the structure from being hit by lorries etc. there is a large wooden beam suspended in front of each entrance and wooded fendering along the wall on the none pavement side.

 DSCF0764 DSCF0763 
  Even walking under the underbridge the road  sounds very hollow and water appears to be coming up through the expansion joint as well leaking down the sides.
As Dunham Massey House is closed on a Thursday and Friday, considering we had a bit of time in hand we decided that today we would go as far as Sale and then come back so that we can visit the house tomorrow morning and skip Manchester City.

We pushed off a little after ten this morning with a fleece on, but that only last until about 11 am and from then on the weather warmed up, not as hot as yesterday but very pleasant.
Passing the old Linotype works the new housing development is coming on leaps and bounds. DSCF0767

The old main building is still boarded up and the gable ends of other buildings supported by scaffolding, it will be interesting to see what they do with them.DSCF0769

The chimney is also still standing and the building with the clock tower is surrounded with a working scaffold, so I assume its being converted into flats and nestling between the old buildings are the blocks of brand new flats.DSCF0778

A quick stop was made at Halfords for some battery grease but I couldn't find any so I will get it online.

Passing the Sale Boat Club it looks as if they are holding an Indian event with an improvised Totem Pole and some wigwams.DSCF0782We winded just beyond the Watch House boat club to make our way back to Dunham Massey, we didn't meet a boat during the whole trip. Just after we had passed Dunham Town Bridge I spotted an obelisk in the small wood on our right, something we wouldDSCN2208 investigate later. We had to continue past a mooring of last night, cross the aqueduct and Bollington Underbridge to wind, needless to say this is when the first boat appeared so we waited until he had passed before winding and returning to the same rings we were on last night. We had not been here long when more boats started to appear, there are now 6 of us moored in this bit.

Once moored we went to investigate the obelisk and then walk into Dunham Massey, we did consider stopping for a drink but as it was just a chain pub didn't bother, we did pass the old village school which is now part of the village hall. DSCN2209There is a plaque above the old school door saying it was erected in 1789 at the bequest of Thomas Walton.DSCN2209

Today's Journeymap 06 14 Miles in 4 hours

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Dunham Massey Thursday 19 April 2018

Bit of an early call this morning, Thursday is Market Day in Lymm, its quite an affair, today there were 3 stalls, but the amount of noise they managed to generate erecting them is something else.DSCF0754 It looks as if summer has just kicked spring out of the door and today it was hotter outside the boat than in.

Before we set off they was a quick wander round the charity shops and a visit to the market, we didn't want pet food or fresh fish, he didn't have a stall, just sold from the back of his van. We did get some fruit and veg at one stall and a couple of very good pork pies at another, I think that was all of it.

The road crosses the Bridgewater canal in lots of places but historically most of these were what they call "underbridges"DSCN2199 where the road burrows under the canal, often with a sloping road approach on each side, now in lots of cases there is a bridge bypassing them but they still exist and there is one in Lymm, DSCN2203I was hoping to get a photo of a car coming through, but after I hurried out in front of 2 cars there weren't any. Mostly they are not wide enough for 2 cars and definitely no pavement.DSCN2202

We are well ahead of schedule so we were late setting off, just as I undid the second rope a boat came by, we were to see him again later, as we needed water and when we arrived at the water point at "Ye Old No. 3" there he was taking water, this is not the fasted tap in the world so we were some little time before he was full and ready to leave before we could even begin to fill up. We even had time for our lunch and a bottle of beer.

Once that was sorted we pushed on past Dunham Massey House, needless to say its closed on a Thursday and Friday, maybe we will come back for Saturday, we will see how it pans out. Just passed the house the canal crosses the River Bollin on an aqueduct, this is the site of a serious breach in 1971. When the canal was finally rebuilt it was in a channel about 16 feet wide which leaves the offside abutment of the aqueduct some way from the edge of the canal.DSCF0755 We only went about half a mile past this and moored for the night just by Dunham Woodhouse Underbridge.

Before we stop for the night I like to check the stat of charge of the batteries but when I went into the engine room I found that the Sterling Battery Monitor was blank with an unpleasant smell coming out of it, having just looked at the price of a new one I think I will replace it with something else.

Today’s Journeymap 05 3¾ miles in 2½ hours