Sunday, 19 November 2017
Overwinter Cruise - Week 6
Sunday 12th November - Wrenbury
Another glorious day - we are flying the RAF flag for Remembrance day as both our fathers were members of the RAF and Dave's father fought in WW2.
We took a walk along the road out of Wrenbury running alongside the canal and passed the lift bridge that was open beside the Bromac Nursery.
We crossed over the canal at Thomason's Bridge, an accommodation bridge, and walked back along the canal.
When the canals (or railways) were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, they were often routed in such a way that farmers and other landowners had their land bisected, so bridges had to be provided to allow access to fields on both sides of the canal. These bridges are frequently referred to as accommodation bridges, and however solid and well constructed, often don't lead anywhere except from one field to another.
Monday 13th November - Wrenbury to Barbridge
Today we moved the boat down the Hurleston Locks and onto the Shropshire Union Canal.
The house standing at the top of the locks belongs to Linda, owner of Cheshire Cat Hireboats based at Overwater Marina. She also does RYA training courses specialising in courses for women only!
It was an interesting journey down the locks, we passed another boat at midpoint, but the pounds were very low and both boats got stuck.
Dave struggled to get out of the lock and the boat tipped at an alarming angle!
After letting more water down the flight we managed to complete our descent safely especially through the very narrow bottom lock.
Dave then turned left onto the Shropshire Union and we headed for Barbridge. We have spent 5 weeks on the Llangollen and thoroughly enjoyed exploring the canal and meeting many of the people cruising and working the canal, we shall be back!
Tuesday 14th November - Barbridge to Visitor Moorings opposite Top Flash
On our journey we passed a lovely example of hedgerow coppicing, looked quite recent, would like to see it in a few months time.
Aqueduct Marina where friends from New Zealand have a boat whilst they spend their summer back home.
Now this made me laugh - spot the odd one out?
We spotted this bird of prey as we were cruising along - I wondered whether it was buzzard?
Once we moored up we went for a walk along the towpath and footpaths to try and get down to the River, but it was incredibly muddy!
A relaxing evening with a cuddle from our rather large lap dog!
Wednesday 15th November - Top Flash to Middlewich
This morning we had a visit from Des and Iceman the juvenile peregrine. Iceman is only 5 months old and Des had lost him whilst out training.
A boat had reported seeing a peregrine to the Cheshire Falconry where Des works and today he had just managed to find him again.
Des was looking for the boat to thank them, and we were fortunate to meet them.
I showed him my photo, but he didn't feel it was his peregrine, thought it might be a goshawk or a buzzard. If it was a goshawk it would be an escaped bird as there aren't any naturally in the area. So he was going to check back at the Falconry.
We continued on our way with Toby keeping a watch from his favourite spot!
Quite happy until he came across a family of swans, two adults and one youngster, a beautiful photo as he came really close.
We moored up just above the Wardle Canal and spent the day shopping in the town. A pleasant change to be able to walk in ordinary shoes for a while!
Thursday 16th November - Middlewich to Paddy's Wood
Today we have decided to leave Middlewich and head towards the Harecastle Tunnel.
We have a slight problem in that our horn doesn't work and we won't be able to go through the tunnel without one. King's Lock Chandlery have said they can get hold of an Air Horn by midday so we delayed our start until midday.
This is Wardle Lock, going down onto the Wardle Canal, the shortest canal on the system, connecting the Trent and Mersey Canal to Shropshire Union (Middlewich Branch) Canal.
We pulled into the Chandlery which is immediately through the bridge, filled up with water, diesel and waited for the horn. Then we were told that they couldn't get one, so we asked them to fit a new horn. All this took 'canal time' to achieve and we eventually left on our journey at 2pm!
We estimated a journey of 3 hours to get to Paddy's Wood by which time it would be dark, but we persevered and actually arrived at our destination at 4.30, just after sunset and as twilight was falling. It was the first time we had ever cruised as the light was fading, quite exciting but not something we would like to make a habit of! We would have stopped earlier, but the pounds between the locks seemed to be very low and we couldn't get close enough to the side to moor up safely.
Friday 17th November - Paddy's Wood to Rode Heath
This was our secluded mooring at Paddy's Wood, very peaceful!
We had to pass a dredging team at work near the bridge at Wheelock, good to see this being done!
I went to the best Pet Shop in the area, to stock up with supplies for Toby.
Flying overhead we saw two what looked like RAF Halifax planes, I wonder where they were going?
We continued on our way up through the twin locks all the way to Rode Heath. This stretch of the canal is known as Heartbreak Hill as the locks are deep and sometimes very close together and sometimes spaced apart, but do you walk or get back on the boat?
We moored up at Rode Heath where Ella was launched into the water in September 2015, and where we first saw the Bourne boat nbCharlotte, which was the start of our dream.
Saturday 18th November - Rode Heath
Had a quiet boat day, caught up on paperwork and found a lovely walk along the canal as far as Church Lawton and back through woods and fields to Rode Heath, very pleasant. Also spent some time grooming Toby, with the weather the way it is, he does get very dirty, so a good brush and de-matting session has improved him no end!
Next week we continue on the Trent and Mersey Canal through the Harecastle Tunnel.
Map Key Week 1 - Brown Week 2 - Purple Week 3 - Dark Blue Week 4 - Light Blue
Week 5 - Green Week 6 - Olive Green