Narrowboating 2008

ImageWaking to find rain is a traditional start to any boat trip and this was no exception. Luckily it's pretty light, more a kind of drizzle. We'd rented a people mover (a Kia something) and Joan had very kindly offered to pick it up for us and she arrived just after the All Blacks had trounced the poms.

Amazingly the Kia was up to the job, six bodies, booze, baggage, barbecue, charcoal and some food. A comfort stop was required at a motorway service station, this turned out to be surprisingly reasonable with clean but noisy bogs and reasonable, albeit expensive, food and coffee. A retail opportunity presented itself and we were able to buy 5 folding chairs, in rainbow colours, something we've not seen before, for only twice what they cost in New Zealand. 

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Read more: Getting There

Yesterdays Run 7 miles 0 locks

ImageWoke to a much nicer day but there is a huge wind out there. Luckily we are in a small cut so we are quite sheltered but I rather wonder how the boat (and helmsman) will fare in cross wind conditions. We might wait to see a boat go past before we venture forth and there is yesterdays paper to read first.

Lynn shot through for a run to Brewood (and to visit the church). Charlotte and I went for a walk along part (a very small part) of the Staffordshire Way.

After a brief encounter with the weed hatch we headed on around 10:30am. Our boat was reasonably manageable in the crosswinds apart from an incident with a group of surly and unhappy anglers, you'd have thought that having narrow boats come to and fro was something they'd have gotten used to? Apparently not. We had to go close to the bank to pass traffic coming the opposite direction and the wind pushed us onto the bank and their nets. We did apologise. Add a comment

Read more: Visiting Brood

Yesterdays Run 14.5 miles 0 locks

ImageOh Joy. The wind has died leaving a splendid but slightly overcast day. Trouble with a boat full of women is that the bogs do get a hammering with consequent macerating and water pumping, talk about noisy, I've turned on Eric Clapton and can't hear him over the pump noise. Lynn goes ashore for a stick to poke the bog with and says we must buy air freshener. Good thought!

Subsequent investigation reveals that the issues may be related to inadequate suction (blockage) in the rear bog. We'll call the man.

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Read more: Smelly Problems

Yesterdays Run 8 miles 10 locks

ImageStarted with a walk/run into Adderley, a little village with a hall but no shop or any real centre we could find. Mary asked the only foreigner in town who only had a tiny amount of English.

Lynn had a bruising encounter with the first few locks and but really began to get the hang of it. We'll have another go at driving tomorrow. The locks were moderately busy with a few boats coming up, enough to make it a pretty quick transit.

We stopped in Audlem for water and some supplies at the very nice village store. Another chap from Napton Narrowboats arrived to have a go at the reluctant bog and had another go, Lynn reports no success.
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Read more: Secret Nuclear Bunker

Yesterdays Run 8 miles 17 locks

ImageAn even slower start today, we walked/ran into Nantwich and were attacked by a shower of rain, Charlotte and I were obliged to take coffee and doughnuts in the very elegant main street. Once the rain clears it's a lovely town, I think we concluded that last year, with a beautiful 11th century(?) church, well worth a look.

My phone has a swarm of messages from the alarm monitoring company in NZ. Apparently the battery in the alarm is on the blink and needs replacement. After a bit of thought I try to connect to the home email, with no success, could this be a power failure, again? A text message to Garth is in order.

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Read more: Alarm

Yesterdays Run 6 miles 10 locks

ImageWalks and runs to the nearby villages, everyone got a bit bushed but we are all agreed that Marbury is really a very nice place. No supplies purchased but a good bacon and egg breakfast to follow leaving us with another 11 am start.

Met a couple of kiwis from Bleheim at the first lock who have been living on their boat for three years. They highly recommend the experience.

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Read more: Gongoozlers

Yesterdays Run 6 miles 9 locks

ImageEarly start with no rain after heavy overnight showers. There are not many options for runs/walks so we are underway right on target at 9:30.

We saw a lot of boats and had to let several racers past, one pretty rude and gave it heaps. Nutters are always with us. Speaking of which as we crossed into Wales I lost concentration (trying to take a photo) and almost hit the next guy overtaking. Oops.

Finally arrived in Ellesmere at Blackwater Meadow Marina whom I had spoken to earlier to arrange a pump out. Things had been getting seriously smelly even for a pee. Mary, Jenn and I left Lynn and Charlotte to it and walked the short distance into town for yet more provisions and found it to be a nice little town with good shopping, including coffees.

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Read more: Pump Out

Yesterdays Run 17.5 miles 2 locks

ImageBig day on the canals today, all the way upstream to Llangollen basin. Running is slow, in part because of the current and partly the canal has become very narrow. The highlight would have to be the Pontcysyllte aqueduct closely followed by the Chirk aqueduct and Chirk tunnel (459 yards).

Pressure was on on the last part of the canal as a woman attempted (unsuccessfully) to push Lynn to go faster. Ignored.

We had a chat with the a couple of ladies sunbathing at the marina, clearly they think it's summer and were able to watch some marital disharmony when a large and old boat was run aground and madam had to re-park it. Our team cheered when she made it, I think she thought we were being facetious. Add a comment

Read more: Llangollen

Yesterdays Run 12 miles 0 locks

ImageAnother early start but this time we all went to go and climb the hill (mountain?) to the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran. The early rain cleared and it was a great walk (run) to the top with truly fabulous views of the surrounding countryside (Lynn thought is so good she did it three times!). Bloody windy at the top. Pity about the campers and their trash.

Next was the steam train to Corwen and back. This brought back many happy memories for the older members of the party and a smut in the eye for one of the younger ones looking out of the window.

Finally we made the obligatory shopping trip for comestibles and back to the marina for lunch. We'd recommend the basin as the best mooring spot. Add a comment

Read more: More Llangollen

Yesterdays Run 7 miles 0 locks

ImageAway at 10 after a walk/run and hopefully reasonable progress despite a lot of boats on the canal. We went up the branch to Ellemere for more supplies (wine can you believe, what happened to the three dozen?)

Lynn had the 'stop' of the week when she failed to take a bend at full speed. Doors and drawers open in the kitchen. My room became a mess, gosh.

We parked up for a barbecue as we got into England at the Whixall Moss. This was really a delightful spot but we rather forgot about the insect life (It's marked as a site of special scientific interest due to the insects). Moving on we managed to cut the mooring rope that was hanging over the stern. Lots of fun with the weed hatch and propeller. Add a comment

Read more: Stop of the Week

Yesterdays Run 18.5 miles 2 locks

ImageBig day with great weather. The sun has shone all day and has only just started to cool down at 6pm. The wind has stayed brisk throughout however.

Lunch on the run and lots of fun in the locks with weird behaviour from some of the people. The staircase at Grindley seems to attract them, I imagine that the lock keeper must get a a huge number of laughs as long as he can stay dissociated from the stupidity. This was prompted by a group of young people puling at the boat in several directions and climbing over the opening lock gate to stay 'in control' of the boat. Add a comment

Read more: More of the Same

Yesterdays Run 18 miles 15 locks

ImageRain overnight but woke to a beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky. Sadly by the time we set off after our walks/run it clouded over and the temperature dropped to triple thermal and no shorts. You'd wonder how that can happen.

Worked our way to Audlem and went into the village which, on this occasion was closed again, this time for half day closing. I am sure that the shop keepers must be very resentful of the Co-op doing such good business but, like Arkwright, they are 'open all hours'. You're just not going to bother with the others. The co-op even lent us one of their trundlers to take the groceries back to the canal, how nice is that? Add a comment

Read more: Locks

Yesterdays Run 10 miles 9 locks

ImageCharlotte and my walk was interrupted for a coffee (and eclair) at the other Audlem cafe, which has better coffee and excellent service.

Great stretch of lock busting (21 of the suckers) with pretty much one boat down each lock allowing us a very swift and easy transit. Only marred by one woman who filled the empty lock to allow them to come down just as I arrived. I left her to it but I'm pretty sure now she didn't understand. We cut her.

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Read more: More Locks

Yesterdays Run 10 miles 21 locks

ImageCharlotte and I took a longish walk into the charming town of Cheswardine, mostly across country. We got a nasty scare when Charlotte nearly stepped on a long, thin, brown and black 'snake'. It was a cock pheasant 'hiding' in the long grass, it would be the closest either of us have been to one.

Mostly just a long run home after another late start but with very good weather for the most part. We stopped for lunch and later for supplies at Gnosall, lucky to find an excellent butcher selling ozzie lamb as we had no meals in the fridge and the time was getting on by this point.

The stretch from Wheaton Aston to Autherley Junction is very short on mooring places. What there are are filled or in deep cuttings and we were pretty late by the time we found somewhere suitable. Not withstanding we had our final barbecue and drinks on the towpath and were pretty late to bed despite having an early start. Add a comment
Yesterdays Run 17 miles 1 locks
Todays Run 4 miles 0 locks

ImageRain and an early start (7am). Packing and the usual messing around to get a taxi so we could collect a one way rental people carrier. Interesting chat with the taxi driver about Wolverhampton, he doesn't like it much either. Add a comment