Monday, 5 October 2015

Maiden Voyage

Tuesday 29th September

Our first night aboard Ella!!!  We were able to load all our belongings onto Ella at 6.30 in the evening and were able to make up a bed to sleep in and find the kettle to make a cup of tea!

Sandwiches from the local shop was our supper and then our first night's sleep aboard.  

Dave by Ella

Wednesday 30th September

Today was spent unpacking all our belongings and finding a home for them throughout the boat.  After a long and exhausting day yesterday, it felt initially a daunting task.  Where was everything going to go?  Would we have enough space?

Once we had started, it was really quite enjoyable and everything ended up being put away in all the different storage spaces cleverly built into the boat.   

Supper in the evening was in the pub, the Broughton Arms.  The boat had been launched from their carpark! 

Kitchen (Galley)

Thursday 1st October

Woke up very early this morning, highly excited as we were going to begin moving Ella from Rode Heath to her mooring at Overwater Marina just outside Audlem.

The boat was facing in the wrong direction, so we began our journey by reversing her 50 yards to the nearest winding hole and turning the boat round so that she was facing in  the right direction.  Sounds easy, but narrowboats are not designed to go backwards, so the whole procedure took a good 30 minutes to complete! 

First bridge
 We cruised from Rode Heath to Wheelock.

Dave and Toby
On arrival at Wheelock we moored up at the water tap and put on water.

Toby having a drink at the tap!

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking Toby and basking in the warm autumn sunshine. Supper was an Indian Takeaway from a splendid Indian Restaurant called Shampaan.

Day 1 - 4 miles, 14 locks, 4 hours.

Friday 2nd October

Early morning mists
Today we cruised from Wheelock to Middlewich.  Again the weather was kind to us and we made good progress.  

After we passed through King's Lock in Middlewich we stopped at the chandlery to buy diesel.  We met Steve who knows Daniel and got a good deal on the diesel purchase.

Diesel for boats is sold at two different rates.  One for propulsion and one for domestic, the government taxes the propulsion rate and is more expensive than the domestic rate.  As our engine heats our water and the central heating, we can get a good split in favour of the domestic rate.

We caught a glimpse of Dionysus, the boat that was launched on the Friday before us, passing under the bridge onto the Middlewich Branch.

We spent our night moored up on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal, another excellent cruise.

6 miles, 6 locks, 4 hours.

Saturday 3rd October

Today we plan to cruise all the way from Middlewich to Overwater Marina.  Again the weather was good to us and we set off bright and early.  

We made a brief stop at a farm just outside Church Minsull which sells Yankee Candles and then continued on from there.  

It was a long day, and at the last two locks we got caught in a queue of boats.  It is amazing, you can cruise quite happily and see no-one, and then, when you get to a lock there are three boats ahead of you.  Where do they come from?? How does that happen?  We met a hire boat under tuition, full of New Zealanders over to watch the Rugby World Cup, narrow boating was a completely new concept for them.

We arrived at the marina just on dusk, moored up and Dave collected fish and chips from Audlem for our supper.

18 miles, 5 locks, 81/2 hours.

Total cruise:  28 miles, 25 locks, 161/2 hours.

Ella moored at Overwater
A successful end to our maiden voyage, and the beginning of new adventures on board Ella.


  1. Hello Janet, nice to see you're afloat, what brilliant weather to do it in too. We are starting our own boat build very soon, and are interested in where you sourced the linear gas hob from, and what make etc, having trawled so many internet searches and sites we have not found anything like this. We'd be interested in this as well as the windows with blinds in when you get a chance. Many thanks Caroline

  2. Hello again, Caroline and Martin, good luck with your build, it really is an exciting time watching how everything comes together. Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, but it has been pretty hectic here. We were on holiday for three weeks at the beginning of September and came straight back into the launch and we haven't stopped since!!!
    However here are the answers to your queries. The windows with blinds - you will need to go through the boat builders in order to order them, the supplier doesn't supply to the general public, but Bourne Boat Builders will set up an order for you if you are still interested. I must say they are amazing, the handles for pulling the blinds up and down are magnetic, very clever!!
    The linear gas hob is produced by a company called Thetford Marine and is called Thetford Topline 931. I believe that Bourne Boat Builders were able to get it from Midland Chandlery and if you go on their website it is featured but with no image at the moment. Try the Thetford website for more information about it. Again, it is very easy to work with and even better it is easy to keep clean!!!
    Hope this has been helpful, who is building your boat? Do you have a date in mind for completion? We did find that we needed to be very flexible about that!!
    Good luck and let us know how you get on, Janet and Dave

    1. Thank you, we know how time just gets eaten up with life, your information is very much appreciated and will help us compare with some other shortlisted choices. Our build is due to complete in spring next year with Bluewater Boats. Hopefully we'll find time to put some info on our blog too. Caroline and Martin.