Sunday, 21 July 2013

Where does the time go, time, what’s that?

For those regular readers of my non-regular blog, apologies for not being as regular as I should be. Three 'regulars' in the one sentence isn't probably grammatically correct, but as I don't do grammar it'll just have to stay as is. New Years resolution (not sure if its six months late or six months early) is to ‘find’ the time to do a post at least once a fortnight. Will I be successful, probably not, but it’s the thought that counts.

My last post that was embarrassingly on 23rd May, now the 21st July, found us half way up the Macclesfield Canal. Since then we’ve finished it off, done the Peak Canal, up as far as lock 23W on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, the Ashton Canal, a bit of the Rochdale Canal and we’re now on the lock free Bridgewater Canal that runs between Manchester and Runcorn. Having, lock wise, done the Marple 16, 23 of the Huddersfield (both ways making 46) the Ashton 18 and Rochdale 9 I think my primary lock crew (AKA Nicky) will be happy although it does help firm up the floppy bits. . . . .

Anyway, quick run through of what we’ve been up to these last eight weeks to bring you up to date.

 Had our first experience of a fuel boat that just happened to be passing us the morning that I sent them a text to find out if they were in our area. How lucky was that. We fuelled up and got a few bags of coal as the stove was still in use on some cold nights back then, although it hasn’t been used now for the last six weeks. Even finally got round to blacking the stove when I was sure (!) the summer had arrived.

In an earlier blog I took the micky out of our youngest sons girlfriend who saw a crocodile (AKA floating bit of wood) in the River Dee. Well have to take it back as here it is now on the Macclesfield Canal.


One of the Roving Bridges or Snake Bridges that there are quite a few of on the Macclesfield Canal that in the old days (yes even earlier than when Nicky was born) enabled the horse pulling the barge to cross over to the tow path on the other side of the canal without having to be un-hitched that would have to be done with normal bridges.

As we enjoy our walks, especially those with an added purpose, we couldn’t not pay a visit to White Nancy that’s situated above Bollington on the Macclesfield Canal. Not as far to walk as ‘The Cloud’ as in my previous post, but good nonetheless. The picture on the left shows it in the distance and on the right as it is up there.

Not that I’m planning to take a dip in a canal anytime soon, but should I get the urge, then I’ll certainly be wearing some footwear.

Moving onto the Peak Canal where we stayed at Bugsworth Basin for what turned out to be some four weeks in the end, three of which I was by myself as Nicky had to go home as her father wasn’t well. All well and good now though and he is on the mend. Solar Panels did their job again as I only ran the engine for one hour during this period to move the boat. We’ve averaged a saving of £80 a month on fuel since we left the marina at the end of January so still pretty chuffed with our investment.

Picture of us moored in one of the basins at Bugsworth Basin and the Boy’s on one of their walks with me when we were ‘home alone’.

Nicky’s back now along with Az and Emma, who are with us for two weeks and encountering their first lift bridges.

Benji’s happy too as he’s now got a choice of laps to clamber up onto.

There isn’t much weight to Emma and some of the locks we’ve encountered certainly haven’t been the particularly lightest or easiest to do by a long way, but she still gave it a go, even if the leaky doors were filling up the lock quicker than she was emptying it sometimes!


Forget exactly where we were when we took this photo on the Huddersfield canal, hopefully someone will be kind enough to tell me if they recognise it and Nicky waiting for the lock to empty.

The girls walking, well girl and middle aged lady to be more correct I suppose, walking between the locks and the Boys wishing they were there.


When we were going into this lock Nicky was warning me to go slow. When I got into the lock she said there were some logs in there at which point we suddenly stopped. What was described as logs were in fact tree trunks and wedged us in the lock. Managed to dislodge them okay and then push them forward with the pole and out of the lock once the water had levelled. Assume it was caused by boys with too little time on their hands . . . . Here I am at the front of the boat dealing with our challenge of the day.

And after a hard day, what does one do, that’s right you start to fish whilst waiting for Nicky to finish taking photo’s and get me a cold beer.

Moored up for a few days above lock 23W on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and luckily only encountered one shallow pound that saw us run aground a few times, but it was reported that it was bad further up although we’d heard this before hand and decided not to go any further than we did. Took a walk up as far as the Standedge Tunnel that’ll have to wait for another time.

The stretch we’d walked up was certainly very scenic. Looking forward to doing the full length at some point although we don’t expect that to be until sometime later next year by which time hopefully the water levels would have risen.

Here are the boys, yes they’re both there doing their synchronised drinking routine on a hot day with the gated entrance to the Standedge tunnel in the background.

and the kids and the Boys making the best of our long awaited heat wave.

Stopped on the gated side of Piccadilly Gardens for our first night in Manchester, but as it was only a 24 hr mooring we moved onto the other side the next morning, but after having kids climbing on our boat that night we pulled back and double moored to a hire boat at midnight. We were still up at the time as were the Germans on the hire boat so wasn’t too much of an effort or inconvenience, but certainly happier for having moved.

And finally, the low light of our visit to Manchester

The Etihad stadium, home of Manchester City (AKA The other team in Manchester)

And the highlight of our visit to Manchester

Yes you’ve got it, Old Trafford, The Theatre of Dreams, home of Manchester United and THE team in Manchester. If your reading this (Carol of NB Rock n Roll) you got ‘The other’ team the wrong way round in your post a few weeks ago.

Our final stop in Manchester was at Castle Quays at Castlefield where there’s a nice little arm off the canal. As we turned in I was wondering if it was going to be such a good idea as it seemed like it might be a bit of a noisy area, but it turned out to be fine other than a few late night conversations by those who had to shout to be heard in the silence of midnight. Unfortunately out of a long row of possible benches, the one outside our bedroom porthole was the one of choice last night and whilst they were speaking English I could barely understand a word they were saying what with the Manchester or northern dialect whatever it’s called. We also came across a water and Elsan point, that wasn't in our Nicolsons guide, between bridges 100a and 100b. It's a small brick building with just a chalk sign saying 'Sanitary Station Open' so I assume it must be a fairly new addition.

Well that’s us now, after a period of being apart, family on holiday and having a few quite days at Castle Quays to recover, where now back to where we prefer to be, that being away from civilisation and doing as little or as much as we want.

Stay tuned and if my New Year’s resolution works then I should be back at the beginning of August ! 

And so in signing off,

Day273 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 461 miles and 242 locks further on from when we started.