Boatwif Blog

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Having numerous locks on us…

Knowing where the flags were stored on Cleddau wasn’t the problem, although suspending them above the boat wasn’t entirely easy…    However, by  late afternoon on Friday August 25th Cleddau was ‘dressed overall’,     ready to signify to walkers, boaters and cyclists that something was going on. The Something was HALOUS, the annual event organised by Macclesfield Canal Society during which all twelve locks of the Bosley flight are manned by volunteer lock operators.   On Saturday morning volunteers assembled for...

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Tales of the Unexpected

When it’s just a question of turning a boat round to retrace your route you don’t expect there to be much different to see or to reflect upon – but you might be wrong… On the outbound trip to Aqueduct Marina (near Nantwich, south Cheshire) a brilliant mooring spot had been sighted, a length of mooring with wide-reaching views overlooking the pretty village of Church Minshull. ‘Moor there on Friday once we’ve finished at the marina,’ was the thought. Keen...

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Outbound on a mission…

Cleddau and crew are afloat on a mission, the first of several… First off it was head southbound down the Macclesfield Canal, then north west down (yes, down Heartbreak Hill) on the Trent and Mersey Canal and then south west across the Middlewich Arm. Outbound the trip has involved 42 miles and 46 locks, from Higher Poynton to Church Minshull. The mission?  To discuss Project Repaint at Aqueduct Marina, near Nantwich… But for the Cleddau crew to reach their cruise...

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Sand, sea, stairs – cake!

Periodically the Captain and Boatwif get Sea Fever * when they “must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky…” For them a trip out west is essential, to gaze again upon the Pembrokeshire coastline,    to see the sea sparkle and surge, to inhale the salt air, to sniff the heather and coastal thrift, to pound along the sands,    to marvel at thousand year old castles,     medieval streets and the very...

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Crew Training

Crew Training is back! (This post was first posted in early July. The Boatwif blog underwent some techno interference in mid-July but normal service has now been resumed). Higher Poynton – Longport Wharf – Higher Poynton, 53½ miles, 26 locks, 1 tunnel twice There’s been a four day crew training sortie on Cleddau. Since finishing his school year Cal Guy Snr had had a busy week: pre-season Marching Band Camp until Wednesday midday, a drive north to Los Angeles late afternoon,...

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Familiar places, familiar faces – and two Cheshire cats

Hardings Wood Junction to Higher Poynton: 23¼ miles, 13 locks Wednesday June 7th: Does the Macclesfield Canal start at Hardings Wood Junction    – or a mile further on at Hall Green Stop Lock?   Strictly speaking the junction leads to the mile long Hall Green branch of the Trent and Mersey Canal, before becoming the Macclesfield Canal at the stop lock which, with a water depth of I foot, was constructed to prevent water being stolen by the Trent and...

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Torrential times on the T and M

Tixall Wide to Hardings Wood Junction: 25½ miles, 18 locks, 1 tunnel Cleddau had been moored at Tixall Wide on Saturday, bow towards Stafford, stern towards Great Haywood – this meant the glorious watery vista would be visible from the side hatch window.    Obviously if moored here you’d want the best possible view! Come Sunday morning bow and stern needed to be in the opposite directions. All was cleared for a lengthy reverse followed by a winding (turning round)....

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Up – along – and down

The Bratch – Laches Bridge – Penkridge – Tixall Wide: 26 miles, 18 locks From The Bratch moorings at Wombourne to the Great Haywood Junction at the northern end of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal is about 27 miles. Back on board on Thursday after a night away the cruise resumed: there was a lock queue at Awbridge Lock,    distinctive for the vertical slots on the bridge brickwork over the lock tail. Then there were five further locks spread...

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Brief shore leave from The Bratch

Moored above Bratch Locks, Womborne On Tuesday Cleddau had climbed the three Bratch Locks and been moored on the delightful visitor moorings above. What does The Bratch mean?  Boatwif had wondered the other day… Wikipedia, the internet user’s useful friend, explains it as a familiar Staffordshire word referring to new clearings near the edges of ancient forests. There are no roads nearby and the towpath, though frequently used by local running groups, does not seem to attract cyclists in the same...

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Shuffling along on the Staffs and Worcs Canal

Stourport, Wolverley, Stewponey, Swindon to Bratch: 13 miles, 18 locks If covering distance fast is a priority then cruising the Staffs and Worcestershire Canal is not for you! It’s a narrow canal extending 46 miles from Stourport-on-Severn (out west in Worcestershire) to Great Haywood, near Stafford. Though Cleddau and crew have travelled this way often – they haven’t! Memories are of only once before (during the marathon first ever trip in 1994) cruising from the Stourport end, yet on various...

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